Kingdom of Cappadocia

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Kingdom of Cappadocia
320s BC–17 AD
Map of the Near East in 281 BC, with Cappadocia on the far left
Map of the
• 331 – 322 BC (First Ariarathid king)
Ariarathes I
• 96 – c. 63 BC (First Ariobarzanid king)
• 36 BC – 17 AD (last king)
• Founded by
Marc Antony
36 BC
• Annexed by the Roman Empire under Emperor Tiberius
17 AD
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Macedonian Empire
Cappadocia (Roman province)

Cappadocia (

Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). It developed from the former Achaemenid satrapy of Cappadocia, and it was founded by its last satrap, Ariarathes (later Ariarathes I). Throughout its history, it was ruled by three families in succession; the House of Ariarathes (331–96 BC), the House of Ariobarzanes (96–36 BC), and lastly that of Archelaus (36 BC–17 AD). In 17 AD, following the death of Archelaus, during the reign of Roman emperor Tiberius (14–37 AD), the kingdom was incorporated as a Roman province

Origins and history

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Under the

Halys River thus slowly started to fade.[7] However, to east of the Halys River, things went differently. The Cappadocians had shown opposition to the invading Macedonians "from the beginning".[7] After the defense of Halicarnassus, the Cappadocians participated in the Battle of Gaugamela (331 BCE) against Alexander, and even after the battle, they "rose up in his rear".[7]

Unlike the Iranians in Caria and "probably throughout western Asia Minor", the Iranian aristocracy to the east of the Halys River, in Cappadocia and Pontus, declared independence, "in defiance of the Macedonians".

Marcus Antonius appointed Archelaus, a local noble, to the Cappadocian throne.[9] When, at an old age, Tiberius summoned him to Rome, he died there of natural causes; Cappadocia was subsequently incorporated as a fully functioning Roman province.[4] Due to the kingdom's perilous location amongst powerful neighbors, the kings were often involved in beneficial marriage alliances, such as with the Mithridatic dynasty as well as the Seleucid dynasty.[9]

Asia Minor; however, he considered Cappadocia "almost a living part of Persia".[7]


Following the Macedonian conquests, the Persian colonists in Cappadocia as well as elsewhere were cut off from their co-religionists in Iran proper.[10] Strabo, who observed them in the Cappadocian Kingdom in the first century BCE, records (XV.3.15) that these "fire kindlers" possessed many "holy places of the Persian Gods", as well as fire temples.[10] The kingdom's domains possessed numerous sanctuaries and temples of various Iranian gods and deities, as well as Iranized deities.[4] On their significant importance, numerous sanctuaries and deities of this category were noted by Strabo.[4] Some of these are Anahita at Castabala, the magus Sagarios at Ariaramneia, and Ahura Mazda at Arebsum.[4] In enclosures, known as Pyraitheia, there was worship in the name of the Zoroastrian religion.[11] Regarding these Pyraitheia, he furthermore relates that "... in their midst there is an altar, on which there is a large quantity of ashes and where the magi keep the fire ever burning."[10]


Initially, the kingdom was organized in ten

Melitene, Cataonia, Cilicia, Tyanitis, Garsauritis, Laouiansene, Sargarausene, Saraouene, Chamanene, Morimene, and Cilicia Tracheia. Cilicia Tracheia, the eleventh and last satrapy, was added later to the kingdom.[4]

Control over the lands of the kingdom was maintained through royal estates and fortifications protected and maintained by nobility.

Encyclopedia Iranica adds, "was foremost temporal") and the so-called temple estates.[4] Within these so-called temple estates, the priests had both temporal power as well as a religious function. As a result of the double role the clergy played, they were the highest in power after the king himself.[4]


In imitation of their larger, western neighbors, the Seleucids and

poleis.[4] Roughly speaking, Hellenization in the kingdom started slowly from the course of the 3rd century BCE, and quickened in the 2nd.[12] Nevertheless, until the end of the kingdom, all its rulers bore Iranian names.[5]


According to

Mazaca was well-developed and had a large population.[4] It was surrounded by numerous villages and plantations; all of these, in turn, were well protected by fortifications controlled by members of the royal family and the nobility.[4]

Kings of Cappadocia

See also


  1. ^ Weiskopf 1990, pp. 780–786 "(...) Hellenistic-era Iranian kingdom (...) But all in all, Cappadocia remained an Iranian kingdom, one which developed from an Achaemenid satrapy."
  2. . As in Pontus the ruling family was of Iranian descent.
  3. ^ a b c Raditsa 1983, pp. 106–107.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Weiskopf 1990, pp. 780–786.
  5. ^ a b Cooper & Decker 2012, p. 178.
  6. ^ Raditsa 1983, p. 105.
  7. ^ a b c d Raditsa 1983, p. 107.
  8. ^ McGing 1986, p. 72.
  9. ^ a b c d Van Dam 2002, p. 17.
  10. ^ a b c Boyce 2001, p. 85.
  11. ^ Weiskopf 1987, pp. 757–764.
  12. ^ a b Raditsa 1983, p. 111.