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Ancient Region of Anatolia
Pamphylia (Παμφυλία)
Location Southern Anatoliamarker
State existed: -
Nation Pamphylians, Pisidians, Greeks
Historical capitals Pergamarker
Roman province Pamphylia

In ancient geography, Pamphylia was the region in the south of Asia Minormarker, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterraneanmarker to Mount Taurusmarker (modern day Antalya provincemarker, Turkeymarker). It was bounded on the north by Pisidia and was therefore a country of small extent, having a coast-line of only about 75 miles with a breadth of about 30 miles. Under the Roman administration the term Pamphylia was extended so as to include Pisidia and the whole tract up to the frontiers of Phrygia and Lycaonia, and in this wider sense it is employed by Ptolemy.


The name /Pamphylia/ means literally 'all tribes' (/pan/ 'all' + /phylē/ 'tribe'), scil. 'of Dorians', who colonized it. There is a legendary character (Pamphylos, son of Aigimios) who personified this.

Origins of the Pamphylians

There can be little doubt that the Pamphylians and Pisidians were the same people, though the former had received colonies from Greecemarker and other lands, and from this cause, combined with the greater fertility of their territory, had become more civilized than their neighbours in the interior. But the distinction between the two seems to have been established at an early period. Herodotus, who does not mention the Pisidians, enumerates the Pamphylians among the nations of Asia Minor, while Ephorus mentions them both, correctly including the one among the nations on the coast, the other among those of the interior. The early Pamphylians, like the Lycians, had an alphabet of their own, partly Greek, partly "Asianic," which a few inscriptions on marble and coins preserve. The legend related by Herodotus and Strabo, which ascribed the origin of the Pamphylians to a colony led into their country by Amphilochus and Calchas after the Trojan War, is merely a characteristic myth. Probably the Pamphylians were of Asiatic origin and mixed ethnicity.


A map showing Pamphylia's location within the Roman Empire
Photo of a 15th Century map showing Pamphylia.
The region of Pamphylia first enters history in Hittite documents. In a treaty between the Hittite Great King Tudhaliya IV and his vassal, the king of Tarhuntassa, we read of the city "Parha" (Pergemarker), and the "Kastaraya River" (Classical Kestros River, Turkish Aksu Çayı).

The first historical mention of "Pamphylians" is among the group of nations subdued by the Mermnad kings of Lydia; they afterwards passed in succession under the dominion of the Persian and Hellenistic monarchs. After the defeat of Antiochus III in 190 BC they were included among the provinces annexed by the Romans to the dominions of Eumenes of Pergamum; but somewhat later they joined with the Pisidians and Cilicians in piratical ravages, and Side became the chief centre and slave mart of these freebooters. Pamphylia was for a short time included in the dominions of Amyntas, king of Galatia, but after his death lapsed into a district of a Roman province. The Pamphilians became largely hellenized in Roman times, and have left magnificent memorials of their civilization at Perga, Aspendos and Side.

As of 1911 the district was largely peopled with recent settlers from Greece, Crete and the Balkans, a situation which changed considerably as a result of the disruptions attendant on the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the war between Greece and Turkeymarker in the 1920s.

List of Pamphylians

  • Diodorus of Aspendos Pythagorean philosopher (4th c.BC)
  • Apollonius of Perga astronomer, mathematician (ca. 262 BC–ca. 190 BC)
  • Artemidorus of Perga proxenos in Oroposmarker (ca. 240-180 BC)
  • Aetos (son of Apollonius) from Aspendos ,Ptolemaic commander,founder of Arsinoe (~238 BC)
  • Mnaseas (son of Artemon) from Sidemarker (sculptor) end 3rd BC
  • Orestas (son of Erymneus) from Aspendos proxenos in Dreros (Crete) (end 3rd-beg. 2nd BC)
  • Thymilus of Aspendosmarker, stadion race Olympics 176 BC
  • Apollonios (son of Koiranos) proxenos in Lappamarker (Crete)(1st half 2nd BC)
  • Asclepiades (son of Myron) from Perga physician honoured by the demos of Seleucia marker
  • Menodora (daughter of Megacles) from Sillyon magistrate and benefactor (ca.2nd c. AD)
  • Apollonius of Aspendos poet (2nd/early 3rd c. AD)
  • Saint Matrona of Perge (late 5th, early 6th c.AD)

Archaeological sites

See also


  1. George Grote : A History of Greece. p. 286; Irad Malkin : Myth and Territory in the Spartan Mediterranean. Cambridge U Pr, 2003. p. 41.
  2. [1][2]
  3. Epigr. tou Oropou 148
  4. SEG 39:1426 - The Hellenistic Monarchies: Selected Papers Page 264 By Christian Habicht ISBN 0472111094
  5. IK Side I 1
  6. BCH 1936:280,1
  7. SEG 23:573
  8. Epigr.Anat. 11:104,5
  9. Images of Women in Antiquity Page 223 By Averil Cameron, Amélie Kuhrt ISBN 0415090954
  10. IG VII 1773 - The Context of Ancient Drama Page 192 By Eric Csapo, William J. Slater ISBN 0472082752

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