Adada (Antiquity)

1. Geographical location-identification

Adada was a city of Pisidia, north of Selge and east of the river Kestros. It has been identified with the city of Karabavullu or Karabavli1, near Sutuculer, south of the lake Engridir. During the 19th century this site was wrongly identified with another neighbouring city of Pisidia, Pednelissos. The earliest reference of the ancient sources concerning the city belongs to the geographer Artemidorus of Ephesus, quoted by Strabo, according to which Adada belonged to the cities of Pisidia.2 The geographer Ptolemy confirms this information,3 whereas the city is mentioned by later sources also.4 The name “Adada” is most probably of Pisidian origin. In ancient sources it is also mentioned as “Adadate” 5 and “Odada”, types that are probably alterations of the original name.

2. History

The exact dating of the city’s foundation remains unknown. However, the epigraphical and numismatic information available, combined with the surviving archaeological finds, verify that already by the 2nd century BC Adada was an organized settlement with a proper urban organization.

As early as Hellenistic times, Adada was a densely populated city. Many people would leave the city, along with other inhabitants of Pisidia, to become mercenaries, serving the Hellenistic kingdoms. Grave steles found in Amathounda in Cyprus and Sidon in Phoenicia belong to some of them. Also during the 2nd century BC Adada formed an alliance with Termessos, possibly aiming in stopping the expansive policy of Selge in this region.

During Roman times, Adada was a prosperous and strong city with an important economic development. It is noteworthy that many of its inhabitants are honoured in inscriptions with the title of ktistes (builder). In the same period the celebration of various festivities is also attested. Amongst them were the Baccheia, a survival from the Hellenistic period, and Tycheia, to which the denomination “Epinikeia” was added, to commemorate an important for the Adadaeans victory of a Roman emperor during the 2nd or 3rd century AD. During the Byzantine period the city formed a bishopric6 attached to Antioch.

3. Coin minting and worship

Adada first minted its own coins during the Late Hellenistic period. These first autonomous mints are dated to the 1st century BC. Imperial mints started during the reign of Trajan (98-117) and stopped during the reigns of Valerian and Gallienus (253-268). Based on the iconographical types on the coins the worship of Zeus, Dionysus, Hercules, the Dioscuri, Artemis Pergaia, Athena, Asclepios and Hygeia is attested. Furthermore, two temples dedicated to emperors, with Aphrodite being adored in one and Zeus Sarapis in the other, as well as a temple dedicated to Trajan, testify the worship of emperors too.

4. Urban organization of the ancient settlement

Adada was situated in the wider region of the Kestros River. No systematic archaeological survey has been conducted in this area yet. Archaeological remains are much extended and almost equal in size to those of nearby Kremna. The river formed the natural limit between the domains of these two cities.

The Hellenistic city was built on a hill and was protected by a wall built with a very strong masonry. Parts of this fortification enclosure are still preserved in a good condition. Around the citadel the wall was interrupted by defensive towers. This fortification system was also used to other cities of Pisidia and Pamphylia, like Perge, Side, Sia and Pednelissos. Adada’s wall is dated between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.

During Imperial times, large public buildings were erected in the city. Amongst them were a temple dedicated to Aphrodite and the emperors, another to Zeus Sarapis and the emperors, a temple honouring Trajan and a gymnasium. Also interesting is the agora, which had a double function: it was the place of political meetings and it connected the lower city with the acropolis. This connection was made via a great staircase carved on the rock on the east side of this open space. The stairs were also used as seats for the meetings of the civilians. Analogous examples of this space organization can be found at Sia of Pisidia during the same period, but also in Greece much earlier.7

A Hellenistic three-storey building, connected to the agora, whose function, however, remains unknown, is also interesting. It resembles another three-storey edifice of commercial use at Pednelissos, which survives in a very good condition. During Roman times, extended repairs of the existing road network took place, whereas new roads were also constructed. The remains of the road connecting the city with Kremna have also been located.

1. This site is also mentioned as “Karabaulo” by the earlier travellers.

2. Strabo 12.570.

3. Ptolemy, Geogr. 5.5.8.

4. Hierokl., Synekd. 674.4.

5. Strabo 12.570.

6. The city is mentioned as a bishopric in the diocese catalogues. See Darrouzes, J., Notitiae episcopaatum Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae (Paris 1981), I 424, III 377, VII 203, VIII 479, IX 387, X 491, XIII 341.

7. Dreros and Lato in Crete, as well as Argos in Peloponnesus.