THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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ASIA MINOR, the general geographical name for the peninsula, forming part of the empire of Turkey, on the extreme west of the continent of Asia, bounded on the N. by the Black Sea, on the W. by the Aegean, and on the S. by the Mediterranean, and at its N.W. extremity only parted from Europe by the narrow straits of the Bosporus and Dardanelles. On the east, no natural boundary separates it from the armenian plateau; but, for descriptive purposes, it will suffice to take a line drawn from the southern extremity of the Giaour Dagh, east of the Gulf of Alexandretta along the crest of that chain, then along that of the eastern Taurus to the Euphrates near Malatia, then up the river, keeping to the western arm till Erzingan is reached, and finally bending north to the Black Sea along the course of the Churuk Su, which flows out west of Batum. This makes the Euphrates the main eastern limit, with radii to the north-east angle of the Levant and the south-east angle of the Black Sea, and roughly agrees with the popular conception of Asia Minor as a geographical region. But it must be remembered that this term was not used by classical geographers (it is first found in Orosius in the 5th century A.D.), and is not in local or official use now. It probably arose in the first instance from a vague popular distinction between the continent itself and the Roman province of “Asia” (q.v.), which at one time included most of the peninsula west of the central salt desert (Axylon). The name Anatolia, in the form Anadol, is used by natives for the western part of the peninsula (cis Halym) and not as including ancient Cappadocia and Pontus. Before the reconstitution of the provinces as vilayets it was the official title of the principal eyalet of Asia Minor, and was also used more generally to include all the peninsular provinces over which the beylerbey of Anadoli, whose seat was at Kutaiah, had the same paramount military jurisdiction which the beylerbey of “Rumili” enjoyed in the peninsular provinces of Europe. The term “Anatolia” appears first in the work of Constantine Porphyrogenitus (10th century).

The greatest length of Asia Minor, as popularly understood, is along its north edge, 720 m. Along the south it is about 650 m. The greatest breadth is 420 m. from C. Kerembé to C. Anamur; but at the waist of the peninsula, between the head of the Gulf of Alexandretta and the southernmost bight of the Black Sea (at Ordu), it is not quite 300 m. The greater portion of Asia Minor consists of a plateau rising gradually from east to west, 2500 ft. to 4500 ft.; east of the Kizil Irmak (Halys), the ground rises more sharply to the highlands of Armenia (q.v.). On the south the plateau is buttressed by the Taurus range, which stretches in a broken irregular line from the Aegean to the Persian frontier. On the north the plateau is supported by a range of varying altitude, which follows the southern coast of the Black Sea and has no distinctive name. On the west the edge of the plateau is broken by broad valleys, and the deeply indented coast-line throws out long rocky promontories towards Europe. On the north, excepting the deltas formed by the Kizil and Yeshil Irmaks, there are no considerable coast plains, no good harbours except Sinope and Vona, and no islands. On the west there are narrow coast plains of limited extent, deep gulfs, which offer facilities for trade and commerce, and a fringe of protecting islands. On the south are the isolated plains of Pamphylia and Cilicia, the almost land-locked harbours of Marmarice, Makri and Kekova, the broad bay of Adalia, the deep-seated gulf of Alexandretta (Iskanderun), and the islands of Rhodes with dependencies, Castelorizo and Cyprus.

Mountains.—The Taurus range, perhaps the most important feature in Asia Minor, runs the whole length of the peninsula on the south, springing east of Euphrates in the Armeno-Kurdish highlands, and being prolonged into the Aegean Sea by rocky promontories and islands. It attains in Lycia an altitude of 10,500 ft., and in the Bulgar Dagh (Cilicia) of over 10,000 ft. The average elevation is about 7000 ft. East of the Bulgar Dagh the range is pierced by the Sihun and Jihun rivers, and their tributaries, but its continuity is not broken. The principal passes across the range are those over which Roman or Byzantine roads ran:—(1) from Laodicea to Adalia (Attalia), by way of the Khonas pass and the valley of the Istanoz Chai; (2) from Apamea or from Pisidian Antioch to Adalia, by Isbarta and Sagalassus; (3) from Laranda, by Coropissus and the upper valley of the southern Calycadnus, to Germanicopolis and thence to Anemourium or Kelenderis; (4) from Laranda, by the lower Calycadnus, to Claudiopolis and thence to Kelenderis or Seleucia; (5) from Iconium or Caesarea Mazaca, through the Cilician Gates (Gulek Boghaz, 3300 ft.) to Tarsus; (6) from Caesarea to the valley of the Sarus and thence to Flaviopolis on the Cilician Plain; (7) from Caesarea over Anti-Taurus by the Kuru Chai to Cocvsus (Geuksun) and thence to Germanicia (Marash). Large districts on the southern slopes of the Taurus chain are covered with forests of oak and fir, and there are numerous yailas or grassy “alps,” with abundant water, to which villagers and nomads move with their flocks during the summer months.

Anti-Taurus is a term of rather vague and doubtful application, (a) Some have regarded it as meaning the more or less continuous range which buttresses up the central plateau on the north, parallel to the Taurus, (b) Others take it to mean the line of heights and mountain peaks which separates the waters running to the Black Sea and the Anatolian plateau from those falling to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. This has its origin in the high land, near the source of the Kizil Irmak, and thence runs south-west towards the volcanic district of Mt. Argaeus, which, however, can hardly be regarded as orographically one with it. After a low interval it springs up again at its southern extremity in the lofty sharp-peaked ridge of Ala Dagh (11,000 ft.), and finally joins Taurus. (c) South of Sivas a line of bare hills connects this chain with another range of high forest-clad mountains, which loses itself southwards in the main mass of Taurus, and is held to be the true Anti-Taurus by geographers. It throws off, in the latitude of Kaisarieh, a subsidiary range, the Binboa Dagh, which separates the waters of the Sihun from those of the Jihun. The principal passes are those followed by the old roads:—(1) from Sebasteia to Tephrike and the upper valley of the western Euphrates; (2) from Sebasteia to Melitene, by way of the pass of Delikli Tash and the basin of the Tokhma Su; (3) from Caesarea to Arabissus, by the Kuru Chai and the valley of Cocysus (Geuksun). The range of Amanus (Giaour Dagh) is separated from the mass of Taurus by the deep gorge of the Jihun, whence it runs south-south-west to Ras el-Khanzir, forming the limit between Cilicia and Syria, various parts bearing different names, as Elma Dagh above Alexandretta. It attains its greatest altitude in Kaya Duldul (6500 ft.), which rises abruptly from the bed of the Jihun, and it is crossed by two celebrated passes:—(1) the Amanides Pylae (Baghche Pass), through which ran the road from the Cilician Plain to Apamea-Zeugma, on the Euphrates; (2) the Pylae Syriae or “Syrian Gates” (Beilan Pass), through which passed the great Roman highway from Tarsus to Syria. On the western edge of the plateau several short ranges, running approximately east and west, rise above the general level:—Sultan Dagh (6500 ft.); Salbacus-Cadmus (8000 ft.); Messogis (3600 ft.); Latmus (6000 ft.); Tmolus (5000 ft.); Dindymus (8200 ft.); Ida (5800 ft.); and the Mysian Olympus (7600 ft.). The valleys of the Maeander, Hermus and Caicus facilitate communication between the plateau and the Aegean, and the descent to the Sea of Marmora along the valleys of the Tembris and Sangarius presents no difficulties. The northern border range, though not continuous, rises steadily from the west to its culmination in the Galatian Olympus (Ilkaz Dagh), south of Kastamuni. East of the Kizil Irmak there is no single mountain chain, but there are several short ranges with elevations sometimes exceeding 9000 ft. The best routes from the plateau to the Black Sea were followed by the Roman roads from Tavium and Sebasteia to Sinope and Amisus, and those from Sebasteia to Cotyora and Cerasus-Pharnacia, which at first ascend the upper Halys. Several minor ranges rise above the level of the eastern plateau, and in the south groups of volcanic peaks and cones extend for about 150 m. from Kaisarieh (Caesarea) to Karaman. The most important are Mt. Argaeus (Erjish Dagh, 13,100 ft.) above Kaisarieh itself, the highest peak in Asia Minor; Ali Dagh (6200 ft.); Hassan Dagh (8000 ft.); Karaja Dagh; and Kara Dagh (7500 ft.). On the west of the plateau evidences of volcanic activity are to be seen in the district of Kula (Katakekaumene), coated with recent erupted matter, and in the numerous hot springs of the Lycus, Maeander, and other valleys. Earthquakes are frequent all over the peninsula, but especially in the south-east and west, where the Maeander valley and the Gulf of Smyrna are notorious seismic foci. The centre of the plateau is occupied by a vast treeless plain, the Axylon of the Greeks, in which lies a large salt lake, Tuz Geul. The plain is fertile where cultivated, fairly supplied with deep wells, and in many places covered with good pasture. Enclosed between the Taurus and Amanus ranges and the sea are the fertile plains of Cilicia Pedias, consisting in great part of a rich, stoneless loam, out of which rise rocky crags that are crowned with the ruins of Greco-Roman and Armenian strongholds, and of Pamphylia, partly alluvial soil, partly travertine, deposited by the Taurus rivers.

Rivers.—The rivers of Asia Minor are of no great importance. Some do not flow directly to the sea; others find their way to the coast through deep rocky gorges, or are mere torrents; and a few only are navigable for boats for short distances from their mouths. They cut so deep into the limestone formation of the plateau as to over-drain it, and often they disappear into swallow holes (duden) to reappear lower down. The most important rivers which flow to the Black Sea are the following:—the Boas (Churuk Su) which rises near Baiburt, and flows out near Batum; the Iris (Yeshil Irmak), with its tributaries the Lycus (Kelkit Irmak), which rises on the Armenian plateau, the Chekerek Irmak, which has its source near Yuzgat, and the Tersakan Su; the Halys (Kizil Irmak) is the longest river in Asia Minor, with its tributaries the Delije Irmak (Cappadox), which flows through the eastern part of Galatia, and the Geuk Irmak, which has its sources in the mountains above Kastamuni. With 758 the exception of Sivas, no town of importance lies in the valley of the Kizil Irmak throughout its course of over 600 m. The Sangarius (Sakaria) rises in the Phrygian mountains and, after many changes of direction, falls into the Black Sea, about 80 m. east of the Bosporus. Its tributaries are the Pursak Su (Tembris), which has its source in the Murad Dagh (Dindymus), and, after running north to Eski-shehr, flows almost due east to the Sakaria, and the Enguri Su, which joins the Sakaria a little below the junction of the Pursak. To the Black Sea, about 40 m. east of Eregli, also flows the Billaeus (Filiyas Chai). Into the Sea of Marmora run the Rhyndacus (Edrenos Chai) and the Macestus (Susurlu Chai), which unite about 12 m. from the sea. The most celebrated streams of the Troad are the Granicus (Bigha Chai) and the Scamander (Menderes Su), both rising in Mt. Ida (Kaz Dagh). The former flows to the Sea of Marmora; the latter to the Dardanelles. The most northerly of the rivers that flow to the Aegean is the Caicus (Bakir Chai), which runs past Soma, and near Pergamum, to the Gulf of Chanderli. The Hermus (Gediz Chai) has its principal sources in the Murad Dagh, and, receiving several streams on its way, runs through the volcanic district of Katakekaumene to the broad fertile valley through which it flows past Manisa to the sea, near Lefke. So recently as about 1880 it discharged into the Gulf of Smyrna, but the shoals formed by its silt-laden waters were so obstructive to navigation that it was turned back into its old bed. Its principal tributaries are—the Phrygius (Kum Chai), which receives the waters of the Lycus (Gürduk Chai), and the Cogamus (Kuzu Chai), which in its upper course is separated from the valley of the Maeander by hills that were crossed by the Roman road from Pergamum to Laodicea. The Caystrus (Kuchuk Menderes) flows through a fertile valley between Mt. Tmolus and Messogis to the sea near Ephesus, where its silt has filled up the port. The Maeander (Menderes Chai) takes its rise in a celebrated group of springs near Dineir, and after a winding course enters the broad valley, through which it “meanders” to the sea. Its deposits have long since filled up the harbours of Miletus, and converted the islands which protected them into mounds in a swampy plain. Its principal tributaries are the Glaucus, the Senarus (Banaz Chai), and the Hippurius, on the right bank. On the left bank are the Lycus (Churuk Su), which flows westwards by Colossae through a broad open valley that affords the only natural approach to the eleated plateau, the Harpasus (Ak Chai), and the Marsyas (China Chai). The rivers that flow to the Mediterranean, with two exceptions, rise in Mt. Taurus, and have short courses, but in winter and spring they bring down large bodies of water. In Lycia are the Indus (Gereniz Chai), and the Xanthus (Eshen Chai). The Pamphylian plain is traversed by the Cestrus (Ak Su), the Eurymedon (Keupri Su), and the Melas (Menavgat Chai), which, where it enters the sea, is a broad, deep stream, navigable for about 6 m. The Calycadnus (Geuk Su) has two main branches which join near Mut and flow south-east, and enter the sea, a deep rapid river, about 12 m. below Selefke. The Cydnus (Tersous or Tarsus Chai) is formed by the junction of three streams that rise in Mt. Taurus, and one of these flows through the narrow gorge known as the Cilician Gates. After passing Tarsus, the river enters a marsh which occupies the site of the ancient harbour. The Cydnus is liable to floods, and its deposits have covered Roman Tarsus to a depth of 20 ft. The Sarus (Sihun) is formed by the junction of the Karmalas (Zamanti Su), which rises in Uzun Yaila, and the Sarus (Saris), which has its sources in the hills to the south of the same plateau. The first, after entering Mt. Taurus, flows through a deep chasm walled in by lofty precipices, and is joined in the heart of the range by the Saris. Before reaching the Cilician Plain the river receives the waters of the Kerkhun Su, which cuts through the Bulgar Dagh, and opens a way for the roads from the Cilician Gates to Konia and Kaisarieh. After passing Adana, to which point small craft ascend, the Sihun runs south-west to the sea. There are, however, indications that at one period it flowed south-east to join the Pyramus. The Pyramus (Jihun) has its principal source in a group of large springs near Albistan; but before it enters Mt. Taurus it is joined by the Sogutli Irmak, the Khurman Su and the Geuk Su. The river emerges from Taurus, about 7 m. west of Marash, and here it is joined by the Ak Su, which rises in some small lakes south of Taurus. The Jihun now enters a remarkable defile which separates Taurus from the Giaour Dagh, and reaches the Cilician Plain near Budrun. From this point it flows west, and then south-west past Missis, until it makes a bend to discharge its waters south of Ayas Bay. The river is navigable as far as Missis. The only considerable tributary of the Euphrates which comes within our region is the Tokhma Su, which rises in Uzun Yaila and flows south-east to the main river not far from Malatia. In the central and southern portions of the plateau the streams either flow into salt lakes, where their waters pass off by evaporation, or into freshwater lakes, which have no visible outlets. In the latter cases the waters find their way beneath Taurus in subterranean channels, and reappear as the sources of rivers flowing to the coast. Thus the Ak Geul supplies the Cydnus, and the Beishehr, Egirdir and Kestel lakes feed the rivers of the Pamphylian plain.

Lakes.—The salt lakes are Tuz Geul (anc. Tatta), which lies in the great central plain, and is about 60 m. long and 10 to 30 m. broad in winter, but in the dry season it is hardly more than a saline marsh; Buldur Geul, 2900 ft. above sea-level; and Aji-tuz Geul, 2600 ft. The freshwater lakes are Beishehr Geul (anc. Karalis), 3770 ft., a fine sheet of water 30 m. long, which discharges south-east to the Soghla Geul; Egirdir Geul (probably anc. Limnae, a name which included the two bays of Hoiran and Egirdir, forming the lake), 2850 ft., which is 30 m. long, but less broad than Beishehr and noted for the abundance and variety of its fish. In the north-west portion of Asia Minor are Isnik Geul (L. Ascania), Abulliont Geul (L. Apollonia), and Maniyas Geul (L. Miletopolis).

Springs.—Asia Minor is remarkable for the number of its thermal and mineral springs. The most important are:—Yalova, in the Ismid sanjak; Brusa, Chitli, Terje and Eskishehr, in the Brusa vilayet; Tuzla, in the Karasi; Cheshme, Ilija, Hierapolis (with enormous alum deposits), and Alashehr, in the Aidin; Terzili Hammam and Iskelib in the Angora; Boli in the Kastamuni; and Khavsa, in the Sivas. Many of these were famous in antiquity and occur in a list given by Strabo. The Maeander valley is especially noted for its hot springs.

Geology.—The central plateau of Asia Minor consists of nearly horizontal strata, while the surrounding mountain chains form a complex system, in which the beds are intensely folded. Around the coast flat-lying deposits of Tertiary age are found, and these often extend high up into the mountain region. The deposits of the central, or Lycaonian, plateau consist of freshwater marls and limestones of late Tertiary or Neogene age. Along the south-eastern margin, in front of the Taurus, stands a line of great volcanoes, stretching from Kara-Dagh to Argaeus. They are now extinct, but were probably active till the close of the Tertiary period. On its southern side the plateau is bounded by the high chains of the Taurus and the Anti-Taurus, which form a crescent with its convexity facing southwards. Devonian and Carboniferous fossils have been found in several places in the Anti-Taurus. Limestones of Eocene or Cretaceous age form a large part of the Taurus, but the interior zone probably includes rocks of earlier periods. The folding of the Anti-Taurus affects the Eocene but not the Miocene, while in the Taurus the Miocene beds have been elevated, but without much folding, to great heights. North of the Lycaonian plateau lies another zone of folding which may be divided into the East Pontian and West Pontian arcs. In the east a well-defined mountain system runs nearly parallel to the Black Sea coast from Batum to Sinope, forming a gentle curve with its convexity facing southwards. Cretaceous limestones and serpentine take a large part in the formation of these mountains, while even the Oligocene is involved in the folds. West of Sinope Cretaceous beds form a long strip parallel to the shore line. Carboniferous rocks occur at Eregli (Heraclea Pontica), where they have been worked for coal. Devonian fossils have been found near the Bosporus and Carboniferous fossils at Balia Maden in Mysia. Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous beds form a band south of the Sea of Marmora, probably the continuation of the Mesozoic band of the Black Sea coast. Farther south there are zones of serpentine, and of crystalline and schistose rocks, some of which are probably Palaeozoic. The direction of the folds of this region is from west to east, but on the borders of Phrygia and Mysia they meet the north-westerly extension of the Taurus folds and bend around the ancient mass of Lydia. Marine Eocene beds occur near the Dardanelles, but the Tertiary deposits of this part of Asia Minor are mostly freshwater and belong to the upper part of the system. In western Mysia they are much disturbed, but in eastern Mysia they are nearly horizontal. They are often accompanied by volcanic rocks, which are mainly andesitic, and they commonly lie unconformably upon the older beds. In the western part of Asia Minor there are several areas of ancient rocks about which very little is known. The Taurus folds here meet another system which enters the region from the Aegean Sea.

Climate.—The climate is varied, but systematic observations are wanting. On the plateau the winter is long and cold, and in the northern districts there is much snow. The summer is very hot, but the nights are usually cool. On the north coast the winter is cold, and the winds, sweeping across the Black Sea from the steppes of Russia, are accompanied by torrents of rain and heavy falls of snow. East of Samsun, where the coast is partially protected by the Caucasus, the climate is more moderate. In summer the heat is damp and enervating, and, as Trebizond is approached, the vegetation becomes almost subtropical. On the south coast the winter is mild, with occasional frosts and heavy rain; the summer heat is very great. On the west coast the climate is moderate, but the influence of the cold north winds is felt as far south as Smyrna, and the winter at that place is colder than in corresponding latitudes in Europe. A great feature of summer is the inbat or north wind, which blows almost daily, often with the force of a gale, off the sea from noon till near sunset.

Products, &c.—The mineral wealth of Asia Minor is very great, but few mines have yet been opened. The minerals known to exist are—alum, antimony, arsenic, asbestos, boracide, chrome, coal, copper, emery, fuller’s earth, gold, iron, kaolin, lead, lignite, magnetic iron, manganese, meerschaum, mercury, nickel, rock-salt, silver, sulphur and zinc. The vegetation varies with the climate, soil and elevation. The mountains on the north coast are clothed with dense forests of pine, fir, cedar, oak, beech, &c. On the Taurus range the forests are smaller, and there is a larger proportion of pine. On the west coast the ilex, plane, oak, valonia oak, and pine predominate. On the plateau willows, poplars and chestnut trees grow near the 759 streams, but nine-tenths of the country is treeless, except for scrub. On the south and west coasts the fig and olive are largely cultivated. The vine yields rich produce everywhere, except in the higher districts. The apple, pear, cherry and plum thrive well in the north; the orange, lemon, citron and sugar-cane in the south; styrax and mastic in the south-west; and the wheat lands of the Sivas vilayet can hardly be surpassed. The most important vegetable productions are—cereals, cotton, gum tragacanth, liquorice, olive oil, opium, rice, saffron, salep, tobacco and yellow berries. Silk is produced in large quantities in the vicinity of Brusa and Amasia, and mohair from the Angora goat all over the plateau. The wild animals include bear, boar, chamois, fallow red and roe deer, gazelle, hyena, ibex, jackal, leopard, lynx, moufflon, panther, wild sheep and wolf. The native reports of a maneless lion in Lycia (arslan) are probably based on the existence of large panthers. Amongst the domestic animals are the buffalo, the Syrian camel, and a mule camel, bred from a Bactrian sire and Syrian mother. Large numbers of sheep and Angora goats are reared on the plateau, and fair horses are bred on the Uzun Yaila; but no effort is made to improve the quality of the wool and mohair or the breed of horses. Good mules can be obtained in several districts, and small hardy oxen are largely bred for ploughing and transport. The larger birds are the bittern, great and small bustard, eagle, francolin, goose; giant, grey and red-legged partridge, sand grouse, pelican, pheasant, stork and swan. The rivers and lakes are well supplied with fish, and the mountain streams abound with small trout.

The principal manufactures are:—Carpets, rugs, cotton, tobacco, mohair and silk stuffs, soap, wine and leather. The exports are:—Cereal, cotton, cotton seed, dried fruits, drugs, fruit, gall nuts, gum tragacanth, liquorice root, maize, nuts, olive oil, opium, rice, sesame, sponges, storax, timber, tobacco, valonia, walnut wood, wine, yellow berries, carpets, cotton yarn, cocoons, hides, leather, mohair, silk, silk stuffs, rugs, wax, wool, leeches, live stock, minerals, &c. The imports are:—Coffee, cotton cloths, cotton goods, crockery, dry-salteries, fezzes, glass-ware, haberdashery, hardware, henna, ironware, jute, linen goods, manufactured goods, matches, petroleum, salt, sugar, woollen goods, yarns, &c.

Communications.—There are few metalled roads, and those that exist are in bad repair, but on the plateau light carts can pass nearly everywhere. The lines of railway now open are:—(1) From Haidar Pasha to Ismid, Eski-shehr and Angora; (2) from Mudania to Brusa; (3) from Eski-shehr to Afium-Kara-hissar, Konia and Bulgurli, east of Eregli (the first section of the Bagdad railway). These lines are worked by the German Gesellschaft der anatolischen Eisenbahnen. (4) From Smyrna to Manisa, Ala-shehr and Afium-Kara-hissar, with a branch line from Manisa to Soma. This line is worked by a French company. (5) From Smyrna to Aidin and Dineir, with branches to Odemish, Tireh, Sokia, Denizli, Ishekli, Seidi Keui and Bouja, constructed and worked by an English company. (6) From Mersina to Tarsus and Adana, an English line under a control mainly French. There are two competing routes for the eastern trade—one running inland from Constantinople (Haidar Pasha), the other from Smyrna. The first is connected by ferry with the European railway system; the second with the great sea routes from Smyrna to Trieste, Marseilles and Liverpool. The right to construct all railways in Armenia and north-eastern Asia Minor has been conceded to Russia, and the Germans have a virtual monopoly of the central plateau.

Ethnology.—None of the conquering races that invaded Asia Minor, whether from the east or from the west, wholly expelled or exterminated the race in possession. The vanquished retired to the hills or absorbed the victors. In the course of ages race distinction has been almost obliterated by fusion of blood; by the complete Hellenization of the country, which followed the introduction of Christianity; by the later acceptance of Islam; and by migrations due to the occupation of cultivated lands by the nomads. It will be convenient here to adopt the modern division into Moslems, Christians and Jews:—(a) Moslems. The Turks never established themselves in such numbers as to form the predominant element in the population. Where the land was unsuitable for nomad occupation the agricultural population remained, and it still retains some of its original characteristics. Thus in Cappadocia the facial type of the non-Aryan race is common, and in Galatia there are traces of Gallic blood. The Zeibeks of the west and south-west are apparently representatives of the Carians and Lycians; and the peasants of the Black Sea coast range of the people of Bithynia, Paphlagonia and Pontus. Wherever the people accepted Islam they called themselves Turks, and a majority of the so-called “Turks” belong by blood to the races that occupied Asia Minor before the Seljuk invasion. Turkish and Zaza-speaking Kurds (see Kurdistan) are found in the Angora and Sivas vilayets. There are many large colonies of Circassians and smaller ones of Noghai (Nogais), Tatars, Georgians, Lazis, Cossacks, Albanians and Pomaks. East of Boghaz Keui there is a compact population of Kizilbash, who are partly descendants of Shia Turks transplanted from Persia and partly of the indigenous race. In the Cilician plain there are large settlements of Nosairis who have migrated from the Syrian mountains (see Syria). The nomads and semi-nomads are, for the most part, representatives of the Turks, Mongols and Tatars who poured into the country during the 350 years that followed the defeat of Romanus. Turkomans are found in the Angora and Adana vilayets; Avshars, a tribe of Turkish origin, in the valleys of Anti-Taurus; and Tatars in the Angora and Brusa vilayets; Yuruks are most numerous in the Konia vilayet. They speak Turkish and profess to be Moslems, but have no mosques or imams. The Turkomans have villages in which they spend the winter, wandering over the great plains of the interior with their flocks and herds during the summer. The Yuruks on the contrary are a truly nomad race. Their tents are made of black goats’ hair and their principal covering is a cloak of the same material. They are not limited to the milder districts of the interior, but when the harvest is over, descend into the rich plains and valleys near the coast. The Chepmi and Takhtaji, who live chiefly in the Aidin vilayet, appear to be derived from one of the early races. (b) Christians. The Greeks are in places the descendants of colonists from Greece, many of whom, e.g. in Pamphylia and the Smyrna district, are of very recent importation; but most of them belong by blood to the indigenous races. These people became “Greeks” as being subjects of the Byzantine empire and members of the Eastern Church. On the west coast, in Pontus and to some extent of late in Cappadocia, and in the mining villages, peopled from the Trebizond Greeks, the language is Romaic; on the south coast and in many inland villages (e.g. in Cappadocia) it is either Turkish, which is written in Greek characters, or a Greco-Turkish jargon. In and near Smyrna there are large colonies of Hellenes. Armenians are most numerous in the eastern districts, where they have been settled since the great migration that preceded and followed the Seljuk invasion. There are, however, Armenians in every large town. In central and western Asia Minor they are the descendants of colonists from Persia and Armenia (see Armenia), (c) The Jews live chiefly on the Bosporus; and in Smyrna, Rhodes, Brusa and other western towns. Gypsies—some Moslem, some Christian—are also numerous, especially in the south.

History.—Asia Minor owes the peculiar interest of its history to its geographical position. “Planted like a bridge between Asia and Europe,” it has been from the earliest period a battleground between the East and the West. The central plateau (2500 to 4500 ft.), with no navigable river and few natural approaches, with its monotonous scenery and severe climate, is a continuation of central Asia. The west coast, with its alternation of sea and promontory, of rugged mountains and fertile valleys, its bright and varied scenery, and its fine climate, is almost a part of Europe. These conditions are unfavourable to permanence, and the history of Asia Minor is that of the march of hostile armies, and rise and fall of small states, rather than that of a united state under an independent sovereign. At a very early period Asia Minor appears to have been occupied by non-Aryan tribes or races which differed little from each other in religion, language and social system. During the past generation much light has been thrown upon one of these races—the “Hittites” or “Syro-Cappadocians,” who, after their rule had passed away, were known to Herodotus as “White Syrians,” and whose descendants can still be recognised in the villages of Cappadocia.1 The centre of their power is supposed to have been Boghaz Keui (see Pteria), east of the Halys, whence roads radiated to harbours on the Aegean, to Sinope, to northern Syria and to the Cilician plain. Their strange sculptures and inscriptions have been found at Pteria, Euyuk, Fraktin, Kiz Hissar (Tyana), Ivriz, Bulgar, Muden and other places between Smyrna and the 760 Euphrates (see Hittites). When the great Aryan immigration from Europe commenced is unknown, but it was dying out in the 11th and 10th centuries B.C. In Phrygia the Aryans founded a kingdom, of which traces remain in various rock tombs, forts and towns, and in legends preserved by the Greeks. The Phrygian power was broken in the 9th or 8th century B.C. by the Cimmerii, who entered Asia Minor through Armenia; and on its decline rose the kingdom of Lydia, with its centre at Sardis. A second Cimmerian invasion almost destroyed the rising kingdom, but the invaders were expelled at last by Alyattes, 617 B.C. (see Scythia). The last king, Croesus (? 560-546 B.C.) carried the boundaries of Lydia to the Halys, and subdued the Greek colonies on the coast. The date of the foundation of these colonies cannot be fixed; but at an early period they formed a chain of settlements from Trebizond to Rhodes, and by the 8th century B.C. some of them rivalled the splendour of Tyre and Sidon. Too jealous of each other to combine, and too demoralized by luxury to resist, they fell an easy prey to Lydia; and when the Lydian kingdom ended with the capture of Sardis by Cyrus, 546 B.C. they passed, almost without resistance, to Persia. Under Persian rule Asia Minor was divided into four satrapies, but the Greek cities were governed by Greeks, and several of the tribes in the interior retained their native princes and priest-dynasts. An attempt of the Greeks to regain their freedom was crushed, 500-494 B.C., but later the tide turned and the cities were combined with European Greeks into a league for defence against the Persians. The weakness of Persian rule was disclosed by the expedition of Cyrus and the Ten Thousand Greeks, 402 B.C.; and in the following century Asia Minor was invaded by Alexander the Great (q.v.), 334 B.C. (See Greece; Persia; Ionia.)

The wars which followed the death of Alexander eventually gave Asia Minor to Seleucus, but none of the Seleucid kings was able to establish his rule over the whole peninsula. Rhodes became a great maritime republic, and much of the south and west coast belonged at one time or another to the Ptolemies of Egypt. An independent kingdom was founded at Pergamum, 283 B.C., which lasted until Attalus III., 133 B.C., made the Romans his heirs. Bithynia became an independent monarchy, and Cappadocia and Paphlagonia tributary provinces under native princes. In southern Asia Minor the Seleucids founded Antioch, Apamea, Attalia, the Laodiceas and Seleuceias, and other cities as centres of commerce, some of which afterwards played an important part in the Hellenization (see Hellenism) of the country, and in the spread of Christianity. During the 3rd century, 278-277 B.C., certain Gallic tribes crossed the Bosporus and Hellespont, and established a Celtic power in central Asia Minor. They were confined by the victories of Attalus I. of Pergamum, c. 232 B.C., to a district on the Sangarius and Halys to which the name Galatia was applied; and after their defeat by Manlius, 189 B.C., they were subjected to the suzerainty of Pergamum (see Galatia).

The defeat of Antiochus the Great at Magnesia, 190 B.C., placed Asia Minor at the mercy of Rome; but it was not until 133 that the first Roman province, Asia, was formed to include only western Anatolia, without Bithynia. Errors in policy and in government facilitated the rise of Pontus into a formidable power under Mithradates, who was finally driven out of the country by Pompey, and died 63 B.C. Under the settlement of Asia Minor by Pompey, Bithynia-Pontus and Cilicia became provinces, whilst Galatia and Cappadocia were allowed to retain nominal independence for over half a century more under native kings, and Lycia continued an autonomous League. A long period of tranquillity followed, during which the Roman dominion grew, and all Asia Minor was divided into two provinces. The boundaries were often changed; and about A.D. 297, in Diocletian’s reorganization of the empire, the power of the great military commands was broken, and the provinces were made smaller and united in groups called dioceses. A great change followed the introduction of Christianity, which spread first along the main roads that ran north and west from the Cilician Gates, and especially along the great trade route to Ephesus. In some districts it spread rapidly, in others slowly. With its advance the native languages and old religions gradually disappeared, and at last the whole country was thoroughly Hellenized, and the people united by identity of language and religion.

At the close of the 6th century Asia Minor had become wealthy and prosperous; but centuries of peace and over-centralization had affected the moral of the people and weakened the central government. During the 7th century the provincial system broke down, and the country was divided into themes or military districts. From 616 to 626 Persian armies swept unimpeded over the land, and Chosroes (Khosrau) II. pitched his camp on the shore of the Bosporus. The victories of Heraclius forced Chosroes to retire; but the Persians were followed by the Arabs, who, advancing with equal ease, laid siege to Constantinople, A.D. 668. It almost appeared as if Asia Minor would be annexed to the dominion of the Caliph. But the tide of conquest was stemmed by the iconoclast emperors, and the Arab expeditions, excepting those of Harun al-Rashid, 781 and 806, and of el-Motasim, 838, became simply predatory raids. In the 10th century the Arabs were expelled. They never held more than the districts along the main roads, and in the intervals of peace the country rapidly recovered itself. But a more dangerous enemy was soon to appear on the eastern border.

In 1067 the Seljuk Turks ravaged Cappadocia and Cilicia; in 1071 they defeated and captured the emperor Romanus Diogenes, and in 1080 they took Nicaea. One branch of the Seljuks founded the empire of Rum, with its capital first at Nicaea and then at Iconium. The empire, which at one time included nearly the whole of Asia Minor, with portions of Armenia and Syria, passed to the Mongols when they defeated the sultan of Rum in 1243, and the sultans became vassals of the Great Khan. The Seljuk sultans were liberal patrons of art, literature and science, and the remains of their public buildings and tombs are amongst the most beautiful and most interesting in the country. The marches of the Crusaders across Asia Minor left no permanent impression. But the support given by the Latin princes to the Armenians in Cilicia facilitated the growth of the small warlike state of Lesser Armenia, which fell in 1375 with the defeat and capture of Leo VI. by the Mameluke sultan of Egypt. The Mongols were too weak to govern the country they had conquered, and the vassalage of the last sultan of Rum, who died in 1307, was only nominal. On his death the Turkoman governors of his western provinces drove out the Mongols and asserted their independence. A contest for supremacy followed, which eventually ended in favour of the Osmanli Turks of Brusa. In 1400 Sultan Bayezid I. held all Asia Minor west of the Euphrates; but in 1402 he was defeated and made prisoner by Timur, who swept through the country to the shores of the Aegean. On the death of Timur Osmanli supremacy was re-established after a prolonged straggle, which ended with the annexation by Mahommed II. (1451-1481) of Karamania and Trebizond, and the abandonment of the last of the Italian trading settlements which had studded the coast during the 13th and 14th centuries. The later history of Asia Minor is that of the Turkish empire. The most important event was the advance (1832-1833) of an Egyptian army, under Ibrahim Pasha, through the Cilician Gates to Konia and Kutaiah.

The defeat of the emperor Romanus (1071) initiated a change in the condition of Asia Minor which was to be complete and lasting. A long succession of nomad Turkish tribes, pressing forward from central Asia, wandered over the rich country in search of fresh pastures for their flocks and herds. They did not plunder or ill-treat the people, but they cared nothing for town life or for agricultural pursuits, and as they passed onward they left the country bare. Large districts passed out of cultivation and were abandoned to the nomads, who replaced wheeled traffic by the pack horse and the camel. The peasants either became nomads themselves or took refuge in the towns or the mountains. The Mongols, as they advanced, sacked towns and laid waste the agricultural lands. Timur conducted his campaigns with a ruthless disregard of life and property. Entire Christian communities were massacred, flourishing towns were 761 completely destroyed, and all Asia Minor was ravaged. From these disasters the country never recovered, and the last traces of Western civilization disappeared with the enforced use of the Turkish language and the wholesale conversions to Islam under the earliest Osmanli sultans. The recent large increase of the Greek population in the western districts, the construction of railways, and the growing interests of Germany and Russia on the plateau seem, however, to indicate that the tide is again turning in favour of the West.

1 The people, Moslem and Christian, are physically one and appear to be closely related to the modern Armenians. This relationship is noticeable in other districts, and the whole original population of Asia Minor has been characterized as Proto-Armenian or Armenoid.


Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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