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Callipolis of Caria

Author(s) : Dawson Maria-Dimitra (9/7/2001)
Translation : Koutras Nikolaos

For citation: Dawson Maria-Dimitra , "Callipolis of Caria",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Asia Minor
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=12252>

Καλλίπολις Καρίας (12/12/2008 v.1) Callipolis of Caria (12/12/2008 v.1) 

1. Foundation – Historical data

Callipolis was a city in southern Caria. The designation ‘Καλλιπολίται’ is attested in Stephanus Byzantius and on inscriptions dating to the 2nd and 1st cent. BC.1 With respect to the foundation of the city the scholars G. E. Bean and J. M. Cook relied on the fact that Callipolis is not mentioned in the catalogues of the Athenian League although several other settlements of the same region are. They consequently came to the conclusion that it was founded by the Hecatomnid dynasty in the context of its Hellenizing efforts, and supposed that it replaced the Classical era city of Cyllandus, mentioned in the Athenian tax lists, a city which is subsequently almost never mentioned again.2 On the other hand, R. Descat believes that Callipolis did not exist during the period of the 1st Athenian League, agreeing that it resulted following an initiative by the Hecatomnids to unify various small Carian communities under a city bearing a Greek name.

According to Arrian, in 333 BC Callipolis, together with Halicarnassus, Myndus, Caunus and Thera formed the realm of the Persian satrap of Caria Orontobates, successor of the Hecatomnids, who fought against Ptolemy and Asander, generals of Alexander the Great.3 Furthermore it is mentioned among the Carian cities in the Delphic catalogues of the theorodokoi; more specifically it is attested between Calynda and Theangela.4 This appearance on the Delphic catalogues confirms the city’s independent existence during the 2nd century BC.

2. Identification – Archaeological remains

There are various opinions concerning the location of the ancient city. According to L. Robert, Callipolis is to be identified with the modern town and harbour of Gelibolu, located south of the gulf of Ceramicus and preserves the ancient city’s name.5 Ruins of ancient and Byzantine fortifications as well as of pottery workshops have been discovered in Gelibolu.

The scholars G. E. Bean and J. M. Cook,6 have suggested an alternative identification for the site of Callipolis, relying on an inscription discovered in the modern settlement of Duran Çiftlik. This inscription originates from an altar, dedicated by the people of Callipolis to Empress Domitia, spouse of Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD).7The Duran Çiftlik settlement lies at a distance of 16km approximately east of Gelibolu. The ancient ruins found there are attributed to an unidentified shrine, which belonged to the domain of the city of Callipolis. These two scholars locate the site of Callipolis on the hill of Asar, situated close to the Duran Çiftlik settlement and 1.5km east of the modern village of Kızılyaka. The site of Asar is strewn with Roman pottery sherds, while ruins of fortifications, as well as a small number of graves have been discovered there.

As a less likely candidate for the site of Callipolis, G. E. Bean and J. M. Cook have suggested Çetibeli (Çetibeli Asan), situated close to the harbour of Gelibolu. In the more recent study of R. Descat this last suggestion is given an interesting twist.8 A fortified citadel was discovered in the Çetibeli site, with three successive lines of defensive walls dating to different periods, probably to the 5th and 4th cent. BC. The outer wall is constructed using polygonal masonry and its building technique resembles that of the wall of Caunus, dating to the 5th cent. BC. The inner wall of the citadel is constructed using a more a more careful masonry, and can be dated to the 4th cent. BC. The wall of the intermediate line of defence exhibits a technically more advanced masonry, and for this it has been argued that it is of Greek construction, yet it was hastily built as indicated by its irregular stonework. According to R. Descat the fortified citadel at Çetibeli should be identified with the stronghold mentioned by Arrian, and argues that the city’s domain would have extended over an area stretching from the area of Gelibolu to Duran Çiftlik.9

It is uncertain whether bronze coinage of the 2nd cent. BC, of unknown provenance, bearing the ethnic names ‘Καλλιπολιτών’ and ‘Καλλιπολειτών’ should be attributed to the Callipolis of Caria. On the obverse these coins bear the head of Apollo and a quiver inside a concave square or a ram on the reverse.10

1. Steph. Byz., see under entry ‘Καλλίπολις’; Fraser, P.M. - Bean, G.E., The Rhodian Peraea and Islands (Oxford 1954), pp. 71-72; Blümel, W., Die Inschriften der Rhodischen Peraia (ΙΚ 38, Bonn 1991), pp.157-158.

2. Bean, G.E. - Cook, J.M., "The Carian Coast III, BSA 52 (1957), pp. 84-85.

3. Arr., Anab. ΙΙ.5.7.

4. Plassart, Α., "Liste Delphique des Théorodoques", BCH 45 (1921), p. 6.

5. Robert, L., Etudes Anatoliennes (Paris 1937), pp. 491-500.

6. Bean, G. E. - Cook, J.M., "The Carian Coast III", BSA 52 (1957), pp. 81-85; Bean, G.E., Turkey beyond the Maeander (London 1971), pp. 155-156.

7. On the inscription see Hula, Ε. - Szanto, Ε., Reise in Karien (SBWien 132, 1895), p. 34; Blümel, W., Die Inschriften der Rhodischen Peraia (ΙΚ 38, Bonn 1991), pp. 157-158.

8. Descat, R., "Les Forteresses de Théra et de Kallipolis de Carie", REA 96 (1994), pp. 205-209.

9. Descat, R., "Les Forteresses de Théra et de Kallipolis de Carie", REA 96 (1994), pp. 205-209.

10. On these coins see Head, B.V., Historia Numorum (Oxford 1911), p. 612.


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