1. Geography – Road Network
Synada was a Phrygian city. It is identified with the modern city of Şuhut, at the western end of a well-irrigated plain. The city is within 26 km to the south of Akroïnon (modern Afyonkarahisar) along a major route. Roads connected the city to the north with Prymnessos, Akroinon and, at least in the Roman period, Dokimion, while to the south and west roads led to Apamea Kibotus and Attaleia.
2. Foundation – Ancient History
Synada was known already from the late 4th century. According to tradition, the city was founded by Akamas, who wandered in Phrygia on his way back from the Trojan War.1 Possibly in the Hellenistic period Macedonian colonists settled in the area.2 In the Roman years the of the province of Asia was based in the city, which minted its own coins,3 although it is described as a small town.4
3. Byzantine Synada
In the Byzantine period Synada was a key strategic position. Around the mid-4th century the city was ecclesiastically and politically incorporated into the province of Phrygia II or Phrygia Salutaris. Synada is reported by of Hierocles as a city of Phrygia Salutaris.5 In the Middle Byzantine period the city was under the theme of Anatolikon. About 800 Arabs who escaped death and captivity after their heavy defeat by the Byzantines in Akroinon found shelter in Synada in 740.6 The city came permanently under the Seljuks when the Byzantines were shattered in the battle of Mantzikert in 1071.
Synada had a remarkable Jewish community evidenced already from the mid-9th century. The Jews of Synada maintained their own synagogue in the city. The most known member of the Synada Jewish community was Constantine the Jew (9th century).7 Synada was the birthplace of the distinguished Byzantine families of Synadenos8 and Botaneiates.9
Between the 1stand the 3rd c. Synada had workshops extracting and processing marble at the imperial quarries of Dokimion (40 km N-NE of Synada). It seems that in the Early Byzantine period the management of the quarries of Dokimion was no longer based there.10 Marble processing in the wider area of Synada continued throughout the Byzantine years.11 The product was promoted through the road system of the area, which connected Synada to the north with Prymnessos, Akroïnon and, at least in the Roman period, Dokimion, while to the south and west roads led to Apamea Kibotus and Attaleia.
Olive trees were cultivated in Synada already from the Roman years.12 Significant evidence concerning the economy of the city in the Byzantine period, particularly in the 10th century, is provided by the letters of the metropolitan of the city, Leo of Synada describing the infertile land of the area and barley production. According to the same source, because of the lack of basic products –the area did not produce any oil, wine or wheat– the citizens of Synada had to import goods from the theme of Thrakesion and Attaleia.13 But livestock farming thrived in the city.
The hill with the acropolis and the settlement of Synada is situated to the west of the modern city and to the east of Kumalar Suyu. The Roman-Byzantine necropolis of the settlement is within 1.5 km to the south of Şuhut, at the foot of a rocky hill. A possibly medieval castle has also been traced, while in the city of Şuhut and the wider area a large number of Roman and early-middle Byzantine inscriptions as well as architectural remains have been found. Inscriptions and architectural remains have also been found in various positions near the city of Şuhut.The most important find of Synada is a part of a richly decorated and inscribed epistyle of an iconostasis, today exhibited at the museum of Afyon; it was found among the ruins of a Christian church in the area of Şuhut. Moreover, a part of another epistyle dated to 1063/1064 has also survived and bears an inscription with the name of a certain martyr called John.
1. Ramsay, W.M., The Historical Geography of Asia Minor (London 1890; repr. Amsterdam 1962), pp. 14, 36.
2. Jones, A.H.M., The Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (Oxford 1971), p. 45.
3. Pliny, Natural History, Rackham, H. (ed.), vol. 2, (s.l. 1942; repr. Cambridge Mass., London 1969), ch. V, p. 105. For a short period, around the mid-1st c. BC, the conventus of Synada was incorporated into Cilicia; see Jones, A.H.M., The Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (Oxford 1971), pp. 61, 65-67.
4. Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, Jones, H.L. (ed.), vol. 5 (s.l. 1928; repr. London, Cambridge Mass.1969), XII, 8, 14; Ramsay W.M., The Historical Geography of Asia Minor (London 1890; repr. Amsterdam 1962), p. 85.
5. Le Synekdèmos d’Hiéroklès et l’opuscule géographique de Georges de Chypre, Honigmann, E. (ed.), (Bruxelles 1939), p. 28.
6. Theophanis Chronographia, de Boor, C. (ed.), vol. 1 (Lipsiae 1883), p. 411; Lilie, R.J., Die byzantinische Reaktion auf die Ausbreitung der Araber. Studien zur Strukturwandlung des byzantinischen Staates im 7. und 8. Jhd. (München 1976), p. 152; Brandes, W., Die Städte Kleinasiens im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert (Berlin 1989), p. 71.
7. About the Jews of Synada, see Starr, J., The Jews in the Byzantine Empire, 641-1204 (Athens 1939), pp. 30, 45, 50, 119-122 (no. 54).
8. Hannick, Ch. – Schmalzbauer, G., “Die Synadenoi. Prosopographische Untersuchung zu einer byzantinischen Familie”, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 25 (1976), pp. 125-161, esp. 125-126.
9. Buckler, G., “A Sixth Century Botaniates”, Byzantion 6 (1931) pp. 405-410; Άμαντος, K., “Oι Bοτανιάται”, Eλληνικά 8 (1935) p. 48; Bλυσίδου, Β. κ.ά., H Mικρά Aσία των θεμάτων. Έρευνες πάνω στην γεωγραφική φυσιογνωμία και προσωπογραφία των βυζαντινών θεμάτων της Mικράς Aσίας (7ος-11ος αι.), (ΕΙΕ/ΙΒΕE, Eρευνητική Bιβλιοθήκη 1, Athens 1998), p. 108.
10. Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, Jones, H.L. (ed.), vol. 5 (s.l. 1928; repr. London, Cambridge Mass. 1969), XII, 8, 14.
11. Bλυσίδου, Β. κ.ά., H Mικρά Aσία των θεμάτων. Έρευνες πάνω στην γεωγραφική φυσιογνωμία και προσωπογραφία των βυζαντινών θεμάτων της Mικράς Aσίας (7ος-11ος αι.), (ΕΙΕ/ΙΒΕE, Eρευνητική Bιβλιοθήκη 1, Athens 1998), p. 97.
12. Strabo, The Geography of Strabo, ed. Jones, H.L., vol. 5 (s.l. 1928; repr. London, Cambridge Mass. 1969), XII, 8, 14.
13. Épistoliers byzantins du Xe siècle, Darrouzès, J. (ed.) (Paris 1960), pp. 198-199 (no. 43); Bλυσίδου, Β. κ.ά., H Mικρά Aσία των θεμάτων. Έρευνες πάνω στην γεωγραφική φυσιογνωμία και προσωπογραφία των βυζαντινών θεμάτων της Mικράς Aσίας (7ος-11ος αι.), (ΕΙΕ/ΙΒΕE, Eρευνητική Bιβλιοθήκη 1, Athens), pp 97-98.