Elaiussa Sebaste in Cilicia





The Agora, converted into a basilica in front of the theatre  

Little is known about the pre-Roman history of Elaiussa Sebaste, first mentioned in the early 1st century BC.


Way in front of the theatre's stage house  

The original core of the city was located on an island directly on the coast, which, however, landed early. The development of Elaiussa Sebaste was promoted by its favourable location on the coastal road that in ancient times connected Asia Minor with Syria and the inclusion of the city in the intensive trade in the region. Economically important for this were the extensive forests in the hinterland as wood suppliers and the cultivation of wine and olives (Greek elaion), to which the name of the place probably alludes.


Rest of the aqueduct  

In 20 B.C., the Roman Emperor Augustus extended the empire of the Cappadocian clientele king Archelaos I. by a part of the so-called "rough Cilicia" and by areas of Little Menia. The acquisition of the Cilician coastal strip prompted Archelaus to move his residence from Cappadocian Mazaka to the Cilician island of Elaiussa (much more pleasant and more accessible to travellers), where he had a palace built. Archelaos renamed the place in honour of Emperor Augustus "Sebaste" (after Sebastos, the Greek form of Augustus). In his palace in Elaiussa-Sebaste Archelaus also received guests of state, among them his brother-in-law King Herod the Great of Judea.


The theater  


Water pipe running above the theatre




38 n. Chr. fiel die Stadt an Antiochos IV. von Kommagene. Seit 72 n. Chr. gehörte Elaiussa zur römischen Provinz Cilicia. Der Niedergang der Stadt begann im 3. Jahrhundert, besonders durch die Eroberung durch die Sassaniden im Jahr 260. In der Spätantike ist sie als Bistum belegt und bestand wohl bis zum Einfall der Araber fort.




Large late antique rotunda with portico on the sea side of the D400  



Today, the D400 coastal road crosses the former city area. Well preserved are a theatre, the Agora, on which a church was built in late antiquity, a Roman temple which was converted into a church, a large late antique round building with porticoes at the harbour, remains of aqueducts and baths. There are many well-preserved necropolises on the streets around the town.

One of the aqueducts in the city    
Photos: @chim, Monika P.    
Translation aid: www.DeepL.com/Translator    
Source: Wikipedia and others