1. Location – Name

The ancient city of Pednelissos was on the border between Pisidia and Pamphylia, near the river Eurymedon, at the southern foot of Mount Taurus. It is possibly identified with the ruins of a Hellenistic settlement in the mountainous region near the modern Turkish village of Kozan or Chozan, within approximately 40 km from Attaleia, between Selge and Cremna, to the east of the river Kestros. According to Strabo, Pednelissos was situated to the north of Aspendus, while Polybius reports that it was to the west of Selge.1 The city is also handed down as “Petnelissos”, while the ethnic names “Petnelisseon” and “Pednelisseon” also appear on the city’s coins.2

2. History

Our sources usually report only the name of Pednelissos, with the exception of Polybius, who provides a detailed account of its involvement in the events that took place in the nearby area in the early 3rd c. BC.3 More specifically, Selge –having already displayed expansionary tendencies against neighbouring cities– attacked Pednelissos in 218 BC. The besieged asked for help from the usurper of the Seleucid throne, Achaeus, who was stationed in the area at that time. Achaeus sent a military force of 6,000 soldiers and 500 pezous under the orders of the military commander Garsyeres. Pednelissos was finally saved with the help of the nearby cities of Aspendus and Etenna. The inhabitants of Selge suffered extensive damage and had to accept a peace treaty, pay the amount of 700 talents and free all the captive citizens of Pednelissos.

The city was a powerful, politically self-governed community, which has been described as a city-state.4 According to inscriptions of the Imperial period, the city had a boule and demos.5 Besides, in 381 the bishop of the city participated in the Council of Constantinople.

Pednelissos first minted bronze coins in Trajan’s years (98-117 AD) and continued minting its own coins until the late 3rd century.6 However, in comparison with the issues of other Pisidian cities, the coins of Pednelissos were rather less widely spread. There was a tendency towards representing specific deities on the reverse, possibly indicating the cults of the city.

3. Urban Organization of the Ancient Settlement

Τhe ruins of ancient Pednelissos cover a natural elevation and are dated mainly to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The external perimeter of the settlement is estimated at 1,500 metres. The wall has survived at the acropolis, the main city and the eastern slopes. Τhe wall remains suggest that the city was fortified in different periods, without a complete defensive plan.

The part of the city situated on the southern corner of the elevation, in a naturally fortified position, was considered the acropolis, although it is at the same level as the rest of the settlement. To the east it abuts on the side of the mountain and is protected by a double defensive wall constructed according to the isodomic system of masonry. Τhe wall provided supervision over the lowland road connecting Pednelissos with Attaleia and Perge, while at some points the wall has survived up to a height of 6 metres. Access to the city was through two gates, in the external and the internal parts of the wall, respectively. In the interior the ascent was made through a staircase carved on the rock, a feature common in all fortified settlements of Pisidia.

Τhe wall of the main city has survived in poor condition, but its course is safely estimated by the inclination of the ground. Three defensive towers and two gates have survived, while the pseudo-isodomic masonry reminds similar constructions in nearby Side, Perge and Oenoanda.

A minor defensive wall connected the two sides to the east of the city, thus strengthening the natural fortification at that point. Moreover, a watch post on top of the northern side supervised the wider area.

Τhe wall was possibly constructed in the Roman period, when there was peace in the area. Therefore, it was not particularly powerful.7 However, some of its parts indicate that it had been built since the Hellenistic period, between the 2nd and the 1st c. BC, as it happened in neighbouring Syllion.8

The agora was at a prominent point of the main city, next to a three-storey public building for commercial use with shops and storerooms. Τhe complex is dated to the Hellenistic period, while a similar building was found in Selge. A ruined basilica has survived beside, while an unidentified temple was to the west. The cemeteries of the city, including two Hellenistic heroa and Roman sarcophagi, and an unidentified temenos were outside the walls. A Byzantine church stood near the south gate, while the ruins of a second church have been preserved on the side of the road ascending from the plain.

1. Strabo 14. 667; Polybius 5.72‑77. Strabo includes Artemidorus’ list with the cities of Pisidia.

2. Strabo 12. 570. Bronze coins minted by the city in the Imperial period; see SNG Von Aulock 1964, no. 5139- 5141. In Commodus’ years (180-192 AD) and between Decius (249-251) and Gallienus (253-268) only the ethnic name ΠΕΤΝΗΛΙCCΕΩΝ is found.

3. Polybius 5. 72-77.

4. Mitchell, S., “The Hellenization of Pisidia”, MeditΑrch 4 (1991), p. 135.

5. SEG II, 711-734.

6. SNG Von Aulock 1956, no. 178-179; SNG Von Aulock 1964, no. 5138-5141; Von Aulock, H., “Münzen und Städte Pisidiens”, IstMitt 19 (Tübingen 1977), pp. 118-124, no. 1176-1250; BMC Lycia, Pamphylia and Pisidia, pp. 234-235, no. 1-6. Iconographic types include mainly deities such as Zeus, Tyche, the Dioscuri, Apollo, Asclepius and Nemesis as well as the cult statue of Artemis Pergaia. It is questionable whether a 1st c. BC coin, which depicts Apollo’s head from the “Treasure of Ariassos” and the inscription ΠΕ, was issued by the city; see Von Aulock, H., “Münzen und Städte Pisidiens”, IstMitt 19 (Tübingen 1977), p. 47.

7. McNickoll, A., Hellenistic Fortificatiοns. From the Aegean to the Euphrates (Oxford Monographs on Classical Archaeology, Oxford 1997), p. 149.

8. McNickoll, A., Hellenistic Fortificatiοns. From the Aegean to the Euphrates (Oxford Monographs on Classical Archaeology, Oxford 1997), p. 217. An earlier phase, towards the late 3rd c. BC, is discerned at some points.