1. Name – History

City or cities in the region of Lycaonia-Isauria. It remains unknown whether there were one or more cities under the name Dalisandus. The advocates of the first view believe the city was in Sinapiç or Sinabiç, 7 km north of the city of Mut, or near the settlement of Belören, 18 km southwest of the village of Karasinir and 26 km east of the settlement of Bozkir, although none of the inscriptions found in the above positions report the ethnic epithet. The supporters of the second view believe there was an Isaurian-Cilician city in Sinapiç and a Lycaonian in the village of Güdelisin,1 approximately 7.5 km southeast of Karasinir or in Gökçe Höyük of Pamphylia.

The argument supporting that there were two cities under the same name is the inconsistency between the fact that the city issued coins as a member of the Koinon of Lycaonia and the information provided by Stephanus Byzantius about an Isaurian city with two names,2 while the mention of two cities under this name in the notitiae episcopatuum is also reported. Although the existence of another city under this name may not be excluded, it should be noted that the city was reported as either Isaurian or Lycaonian due to the fact that the ethnic and administrative boundaries between the two districts were frequently confused over the course of time, which also becomes evident in the cases of Derbe and Lystra. The inclusion in the notitiae episcopatuum might as well be misleading, since there is reference to three rather than two bishops of Pamphylian cities under the same name.

According to Ptolemy’s Geography, the Life of St. Thekla and the notitiae episcopatuum, the name of the city was accented either in the last syllable or in the antepenult. Stephanus Byzantius is the only one reporting the name in the plural form of the neutral gender, namely Lalisanda or Dalisanda. The ethnic epithet is found in the genitive form Dalisandeous instead of Dalisandeos because it comes from a sepulchral stele from Corasium, which was not a Lycaonian city. The accusative form Dalisandea is found on an inscription from Iconium, while the plural genitive form Dalisandeon is written on city coins. Τhe second part of the name, -sandus, possibly comes from the Assyrian god of nature, Sandon.3 Τhe only historical evidence from Antiquity concerning the city is its admission to the strategeia of Cataonia in Cappadocia4 and its membership of the Koinon of the Lycaonians in 166 and 244-249. In a forest area full of springs there was a church dedicated to St. Thekla, who according to the Life of St. Thekla repeatedly saved the city from besiegers duringthe Byzantine period.

The city minted coins only as a member of the Koinon of the Lycaonians in 166 (during the reigns of emperors Marcus Aurelius, Faustina II and Lucius Verus) and in 244-249 (in the years of Philip I and Philip II as caesar). The obverse of the coins depicts the portraits of the emperors, while Zeus, Heracles or Athena, possibly worshipped in the city, are depicted on the reverse.5

2. Topography

The acropolis at Sinapiç or Sinabiç, which is identified with the city or with one of the cities under this name, according to the prevalent view, is situated on a hill with steep sides, apart from the eastern one, which sloped smoothly to the city. The cemetery, with Roman tombs hewn into the rock, was located under the acropolis wall. Excavations revealed sarcophagi and 53 funerary stelae of the Middle Imperial period, among which were some stelae including invocations to Selene (the Moon) concerning the sacrosanct of tombs, although a reaping hook, the emblem of god Men, is usually carved due to syncretism.6

The site at Güdelisin is an elevation with traces of habitation from pre-Hellenic times to the Imperial period. The chora included part of the plateau extending to the north, east and west of the city. More specifically, to the west and northwest the land of the city reached as far as the village of Kara Sinir, at the foot of Karaburun Dag. A Late Roman-Byzantine site found in the settlement of Güneybağ (former Elmasun) is also in this area. To the north it reached the hill Üçkese and the village of Kizil Kuyu, while to the east it extended to the lands around the villages of Losta (or Zosta) and Bozala, at the Byzantine site of Posala. An inscription dedicated to Emperors Diocletian and Maximian as well as a funerary inscription dedicated to a martyr named Paul was found in the area.

Finds from the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC were located in an elevation 200 m long and 10 m high, within 1.5 km to the southeast of the village of Belören, while the Hellenistic-Roman city must have occupied the land to the west and southwest. The area revealed foundations of buildings, tiles and sherds. The cemetery was to the west of the city, as indicated by a sarcophagus hewn into the rock 0.5 km from the city. A road heading northwards possibly crossed the area.

1. According to others, this was the site of Kodylessus, Calder, W.M. – Cormack, J.R.M., Monuments from Lycaonia. The PisidPhrygian Borderland. Aphrodisias (ΜΑΜΑ 8, Manchester 1962), p. xiii.

2. Stephanus Byzantius, see entry “Λαλίσανδα”.

3. Zgusta, L., Kleinasiatische Ortsnamen (Heidelberg 1984), pp. 538‑539, no. 1.162; Robert, L., Hellenica 13 (Paris 1965), pp. 150‑151, no. 234.

4. Ptol., Geogr. 5.7.7.

5. Mitford T.B., “The Cults of the Roman Rough Cilicia”, Haase, W. – Temporini, H. (eds) (ANRW ΙΙ.18.3, Berlin 1990), pp. 2.131‑2.160, particul. 150‑151.

6. Mitford T.B., “The Cults of the Roman Rough Cilicia”, Haase, W. – Temporini, H. (eds) (ANRW ΙΙ.18.3, Berlin 1990), pp. 2.131‑2.160, particul. 150.