1. Administration – Political Geography
The lands of the late Roman/early Byzantine province of Phrygia Salutaris in central Asia Minor were part of a unified province, along with those of Phrygia Pacatiana, and it is presumed that for a short period of time (middle of the 3rd century – 297) the whole of Phrygia was a unified province with Caria.1 Phrygia Salutaris was established as an autonomous province by Diocletian in the eastern lands of Phrygia at the beginning of the 4th century (between the years 301 and 305), with Synada as its metropolis.2 Its initial name was Phrygia II. At the same time, the province of Phrygia I, the later province of Pacatiana, was established in the west, with Laodicea as its metropolis. Between the years 308 and 311, lands of Phrygia Salutaris came under the jurisdiction of the newly established province of Pisidia. In the year 314, Phrygia II came under the jurisdiction of the newly established diocese of Asiana. Only one province of Phrygia is mentioned in the records of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325), a province with seven bishoprics. Two provinces of Phrygia are mentioned in of the 1st quarter of the 4th century and in the records of the council of Sardica of the year 343. During the 2nd half of the 4th century, the name of Phrygia Salutaris was finally established. The people of the province obtained the right to petition the in the year 361.
Phrygia Salutaris was a province. Its governor in Synada was replaced by the of Phrygia Salutaris, the military and political authority of the two provinces of Phrygia, according to the administrative reform of Justinian in the year 535. A was responsible for law enforcement in the two provinces until 548 and a for the period 548-552/3. In the 7th century (following 669), the province of Phrygia Salutaris came under the jurisdiction of the of Opsikion and Anatolikon. During the Middle Byzantine period, the fiscal services of the empire occasionally counted Phrygia Salutaris among the provinces of Lydia and/or Bithynia and/or Phrygia Pacatiana.
Phrygia Salutaris bordered with the province of Phrygia Pacatiana in the west, the province of Pisidia in the south and two provinces of the diocese of Pontica, Bithynia in the north and Galatia Salutaris in the east, on the edge of the plateau of central Asia Minor. It was a mountainous region, crossed by the main road arteries of the empire. It was sufficiently supplied with water by the Parthenios river in the north, on the edge of an extended forested region, rich in timber, which was deforested during the Middle Byzantine period. Due to their connection with the main road network, the cities of the province were historically of great strategic importance.
During the early christian times, many christian communities were organized in the region of Phrygia. Some of them were considered heretic, such as the montanists and the , and survived until the 9th century. The activity of the christians is reflected in the great number of churches chiseled out of rock during the whole Byzantine period. Judaized gypsies lived in the region as well, although they were later forced to settle in the european lands of the empire. A great number of Phrygians was christianized during the mission of bishop John of Ephesus in the provinces of the diocese of Asiana, according to the policy of Justinian I (527-565).
The city of Nakoleia of Phrygia Salutaris is associated with the unfortunate rebel Prokopios, who was defeated by the imperial armies in 365-366, and the rebellious Goths, who had settled in the region since 386 as farmers or slaves of gothic origin. In the spring of 399, they declared their independence in Nakoleia and raided Phrygia Salutaris and the neighboring provinces under the leadership of comes rei militari Tribigild. They did not manage, however, to return to their homeland.
In , compiled in the 1st quarter of the 6th century, no less than twenty three cities have been recorded in the province of Phrygia Salutaris, with Eukarpia in the first place and the political metropolis of Synada in the tenth. According to the no. 1 of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the metropolis of Synada was responsible for no less than twenty four bishoprics in Phrygia Salutaris during the early 7th century.
1. The assumption is based on indications. See Roueche, Ch., Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity. The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions Including Texts from the Excavations at Aphrodisias (Journal of Roman Studies Monographs 5, London 1989), xxiv, nr. 2-4. Erim, T. K., Aphrodisias: City of Venus Aphrodite (London 1986), p. 32.
2. The first mention of Synada as a metropolis dates back to the year 305 with accuracy; see Belke, K. – Mersich, N. (eds), TIB 7: Phrygien und Pisidien (Tabula Imperii Byzantini 7, Vienna 1990), s.v. «Synnada».