1. Location – Name

Etanna was an ancient city between the Pamphylian plain and the mountainous hinterland, on the border of Pisidia-Cilicia-Isauria. Polybius reports that it was located in the mountainous region above Side.1 In addition, Strabo mentions the Katenneis, a tribe living in the hilly land above Side and Aspendus at Pamphylia.2 The origin of the place-name Etenna remains unknown. The related name "Prostaenna" has been preserved in inscriptions,3 while the place-name "Kotenna" has been identified in the same area.4 Stephanus of Byzantium reports Hytenna as a city of Lycia, while Herodotus talks about the Hytenneis or Aute[n]neis,5 a tribe of the Pisidian hinterland. The relation among the above linguistically related names with the city is unclear. Perhaps some of them are corrupted forms of the ancient name Etenna.

2. Identification – Territory – Inhabitants

Towards the late 19th century Etenna was identified with an ancient settlement near the village of Sirtköy, 31 km to the north of modern Manavgat and 26 km to the north of Side.6 Inscriptions from the Imperial period were found there reporting the existence of a boule and a demos, though the name of the ancient city has not survived. Other researchers thought they found Etenna at Gölcük, near the modern village of Sarraçlı, to the east of the Melas River (modern Manavgat), for they were based on an inscription found there.7 Research conducted at the aforementioned sites indicated that the first version is more likely, as evidenced by surface finds discovered near Sirtköy.8 Apart from the ancient building remains found in that place, pottery dated from the 4th c. BC until the Late Roman period9 as well as coins carrying the ethnic epithets Etennon and Etenneon 10 were also located.

The Classical pottery retrieved, which is particularly rare in this area, suggests that the place had been inhabited already from the Classical period, which is also confirmed by the early city coinage. In any case, no systematic archaeological research has been carried out in the area so far. An inscription from the Imperial period found recently at the neighbouring Delıklı Ören advocates the identification of Etenna with Sirtköy. It refers to a nobleman of Etenna and preserves the ethnic epithet "a[r]chon Etenneon" referring to its inhabitants.11 The ruins of the ancient city cover an extensive area around the modern village. The natural environment –hills full of olive groves– has probably remained quite unchanged, since Strabo’s description provides an ancient picture similar to that of today.

The territory of the ancient city cannot be positively defined. There are scattered ruins all over the area enclosed by Side to the south, Aspendus to the southwest, Selge to the northwest, Lyrbe to the southeast and Kotenna and Erymna to the northeast. This location gave the city the opportunity to be included in the commercial network of the region and be connected with Aspendus and Side as well as with the mountainous hinterland.12 Moreover, the area was crossed by an important road to the west of the Melas River, which connected Pamphylia with the interior mountains. Another two commercial routes starting from Side and Aspendus met to the north of Etenna. These roads were still in use in the Seljuqid period.

The available sources report that at least during the Hellenistic period the area was inhabited by tribes without any civil organisation.13 Therefore, some researchers concluded that the Katenneis (Etenneis) were initially one of these tribes that lived around a mountainous fortress, which also served as a refuge in case of emergency.14 On the other hand, the archaeological evidence about Etenna provides the picture of an organised and populated city already since the 4th c. BC. The introduction of Classical pottery indicates that during that period Etenna was involved in important commercial activities even outside the mountainous Pisidian hinterland. Furthermore, the extensive ruins prove the existence of an organised settlement and disprove the assumptions about a nomadic way of living. Τhe Hellenistic wall encloses the ancient settlement thus creating a closed, demarcated urban setting. The evidence preserved by Polybius indicates a city with remarkable population at least since the 3rd c. BC. In any case, according to Hellenistic inscriptions, the inhabitants of Etenna considered themselves as citizens of a Greek, if not Hellenised, city.15

3. History

The early history of the city may be reconstructed mainly due to its coinage, since the fact that the name of the city was reported in a Hittite source16 remains an unproved assumption. The early silver coins indicate a close relation with neighbouring Aspendus in that period (late 4th-early 3rd c. BC). This relation is also confirmed by Polybius in his account of the conflict between the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III (242-187 BC) and the usurper Achaeus.

In 218 BC Selge attacked Pednelissos. When the besieged city asked for help from the neighbouring cities of Aspendus and Etenna, the latter sent a force of 8,000 men while the former sent 4,000 men. A city that could recruit so many men17 must have had a considerably large population, perhaps as big as that of Selge, which was inhabited by nearly 20,000 people in that period. Strangely enough, the city is not reported by other ancient sources. It may only be assumed that it was attacked by Antiochus III, who campaigned against the area in 193 BC.18 In the Imperial period, Etenna was still an organised city in political and administrative terms, while in the Flavian period (69-96)19 it came under the province of Lycia-Pamphylia. In the Early Byzantine period, the city was a bishopric under the metropolis of Side.

4. Economy

The assumption that Etenna was a commercial hub due to its proximity to important commercial routes is also supported by the available evidence about its agricultural production. Strabo20 describes the region to the south of the Taurus as particularly fertile and full of olive groves. Archaeological finds and recent botanical studies confirm that the cultivation of olive trees must have been of primary importance for Etenna. Remains of oil presses in the wider area of the city certify the existence of an extensive network in Antiquity.21 The inhabitants of Etenna were probably deeply involved in stock breeding and mainly wool production.22

Etenna minted its own coins early compared to the other cities of the Pisidian hinterland. As it happened in the neighbouring Selge, the first silver coins were issued between the late 4th and the early 3rd c. BC. The city was clearly oriented to Aspendus in the Hellenistic period, but this city was economically weakened in the Imperial period and therefore Etenna turned to the emerging Side.23 The city continued minting coins until the late 3rd c. AD, in the years of Emperor Gallienus (253-268).24

5. Residential Organisation of the Ancient Settlement

The city was built on a mountainous and inaccessible location, approximately 1050 m above sea level and 250 m to the north of Sirtköy. It was a fortified settlement that supervised the entire region, as was the case with Selge. The preserved parts of the walls indicate building activity since the Hellenistic period. As in most Pisidian cities, the buildings surviving today are dated mainly to the Roman period, while there are clear indications for earlier habitation.

The lowest part of the city was built around the spring that supplied the entire settlement with water; a roofed reservoir and Roman baths were found at this place. This area is connected with the agora of the city, which was on a higher level and was accessible through a flight of stairs possibly constructed in the Hellenistic period. The agora occupied a natural flat terrain exactly below the acropolis, where an extensive building complex from the Early Byzantine period including two basilicas has been preserved, with its masonry having at certain points clearly Hellenistic features. There is also a large rectangular building with a porch at the south side. It has been assumed that it was a bouleuterion constructed in the Hellenistic period and modified for a subsequent use. Another neighbouring building has survived up to a considerable height and is believed to have been the agora of the city in the Imperial period. Similar agoras were also found in Sagalassos and Cremna. The cemetery of the city was on the north hillside, including numerous surviving tombs hewn into the rock.

1. Polybius, 5.73.3.

2. Strabo, 12.7.1. They were probably the Ετεννείς, a tribe allegedly without civil organisation, who lived to the south of the Taurus Mountains.

3. Nollé, J., “Zur Geschichte der Stadt Etenna in Pisidien”, in Schwertheim, E. (ed), Forschungen in Pisidien (AΜS 6, Bonn 1992), p. 65, n. 37.

4. Zgusta, L., Kleinasiatische Ortsnamen (Heidelberg 1984), p. 294, no. 594-592.

5. Hdt., 3.90.1.

6. It was initially proposed that the ruins be identified with Pednelissus. According to another view, Etenna was identified with the city of Kotenna. For the propositions expressed about the identification of Etenna, see Nollé, J., “Zur Geschichte der Stadt Etenna in Pisidien”, in Schwertheim, E. (ed), Forschungen in Pisidien (ΑΜS 6, Bonn 1992), pp. 63-65, and Bean, G.E., “The site of Etenna”, Klio 52 (1970), p. 13.

7. Bean, G.E., “The site of Etenna”, Klio 52 (1970), pp. 13-14. Part of the inscription has been represented as [Ἐτεν]νέων, which was considered the ethnic epithet of the citizens.

8. Bean, G.E., “The site of Etenna”, Klio 52 (1970), pp. 14-15. Gölcük was connected with Orokenda.

9. They included a shard of a black figured skyphos from the 4th c. BC, shards of black coloured pottery, a cosmetic’s bottle and a red coloured Hellenistic cup, an amphora and a Late Roman cup.

10. For the coins minted by the city, see Head, B.V., Historia Nummorum. A Manual of Greek Numismatics (Oxford 1911), p. 708; Imhoof‑Blumer, Kleinas. Münzen, pp. 368‑372, no. 1‑11; BMC, Lycia, Pamhylia, Pisidia, p. 220, no. 1‑5; SNG, von Aulock 1956, no. 146‑150; SNG, von Aulock 1964, no. 5.016‑5.028; von Aulock, H., Münzen und Städte Pisidiens ΙΙ (IstMitt Beiheft 22, Tübingen 1979), pp. 75‑95, no. 399‑682.

11. Nollé, J., “Zur Geschichte der Stadt Etenna in Pisidien”, in Schwertheim, E. (ed), Forschungen in Pisidien (AΜS 6, Bonn 1992), pp. 65, 121, no. 3.10.

12. This very important road is also reported by Tabula Peutingeriana; see Weber, E., Tabula Peutingeriana (Graz 1976), pl. ΙΧ.

13. Polybius, 5.73.3; Liv., 15.13.5; Strabo, 12.6.5-7

14. Jones, A.H.M., The Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (Oxford 1971), p. 126.

15. See Nollé, J., “Zur Geschichte der Stadt Etenna in Pisidien”, in Schwertheim, E. (ed), Forschungen in Pisidien (AΜS 6, Bonn 1992), pp. 68, 73‑74.

16. Nollé, J., “Zur Geschichte der Stadt Etenna in Pisidien”, in Schwertheim, E. (ed), Forschungen in Pisidien (AΜS 6, Bonn 1992), p. 74, n. 108.

17. It should be reported that numerous soldiers from Etenna were under Ptolemaic service in that period.

18. According to the same view, this military action aimed to strengthen Side, which was going to gain commercial control over the region to the south of the Taurus Mountains. The inaccessible, mountainous area made the operation particularly difficult. The Seleucid influence in the region before the Peace of Apamea is also obvious thanks to other evidence, such as an inscription of the Late Hellenistic period reporting the cult of Zeus Nicator in Side; see Nollé, J., “Zur Geschichte der Stadt Etenna in Pisidien”, in Schwertheim, E. (ed), Forschungen in Pisidien (AΜS 6, Bonn 1992), p. 76.

19. Roman imperial dynasty. It included Vespasian (69-79), Τitus (79-81) and Domitian (81-96).

20. Strabo, 12.6.5-7.

21. The oil presses were wrongly identified with towers.

22. It has been suggested that the adoption of iconographical types related to stock breeding on the coins of Etenna indicates both the tradition of this agricultural activity and its spread in Antiquity.

23. It is believed that Etenna struck its coins at the mint of Side in the Imperial period.

24. The use of deities as iconographical types also indicates that they were worshipped in Etenna. Apollo, Ares, Asclepius, Athena, Demeter, Helios, Nemesis, Tyche and Zeus were among these gods in the Imperial period. For a more detailed analysis of these types and their connection with the cults of neighbouring cities, see Nollé, J., “Zur Geschichte der Stadt Etenna in Pisidien”, in Schwertheim, E. (ed), Forschungen in Pisidien (AΜS 6, Bonn 1992), pp. 78-97.