Map of the Roman Empire - Comana

Comana
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Ancient Comana (Modern Sar) A city in Cappadocia (Eastern Asia Minor) which contained many temples and a powerful temple priesthood (over 6000 servants)who ruled the people all around the area. Many merchants passed through Comana which was situated on the east end of the west side of the Taurus Mountains. Comana eventually received a charter from the Emperor Vespasian to become part of the Roman province.

Comana (Κόμανα). A city of Cappadocia, celebrated for its temple of Artemis Taurica. - Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers.

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Cumana IN CAPPADOCIA (τὰ Κόμανα τῆς Καππαδοκίας), was also called Chryse, or the golden, as appears from one of the Novellae of Justinian (Nov. 31. 100.1), to distinguish it from the other Comana. Justinian calls this Comana “the other, which is also named Chryse.” It was in the division which he named the Third Armenia, and which, he observes, contained Melitene, near the Euphrates. Comana was in Cataonia in the Antitaurus (Strabo, p. 521), in a deep valley; the river Sarus flowed through the city. It is generally supposed that the modern town of Al-Bostan, on the Sihoon or Sarus, is on or near the site of this Comana. Al-Bostan is situated in a fine plain, well watered, and well cultivated; and is a town of 8000 or 9000 inhabitants. Here was the temple of Enyo, as Strabo (p. 535) names the goddess. It contained a great number of persons devoted to the worship of the deity, and a great number of hieroduli. The inhabitants were Cataonians. They acknowledged the supremacy of the king of Cappadocia, but were under the immediate jurisdiction of the priest. This priest was chiefly (τὸ πλέον, whatever that means) master of the temple and of the hieroduli, who, at the time of Strabo's visit, were above 6000, men and women. The temple possessed large estates, the produce of which was enjoyed by the priest, who was next in rank to the king, and the priest was generally a member of the royal family. It was too good a thing to give to any body else. There was a tradition that Orestes, with his sister, brought from Tauric Scythia the sacred rites of this temple, which were those of Tauropolos Artemis. Here Orestes deposited the hair that he cut from his head to commemorate the end of his sufferings (ἡ πένθιμος κόμη), and hence, according to an absurd etymology of the Greeks, came the name of the place, Comana. And in later times, to make the name suit the absurd story better, as it was supposed, it was changed to ἡ Κόμανα. (Eustath. ad Dionys. A. R. 5.694; Procop. Persic. 1.17.)

This deity of Comana is supposed to have been called Ma in the language of the country, and to be the moon-goddess, as in Caria the moon-god was worshipped under the name of Men. The passage in Strabo, . . . τὰ Κόμανα, καὶ τὸ τῆς Ἐνυοῦς ἱερὸν ὃ ἐκεῖνοι Κόμανα ἐνομάζουσι,--so it stands in Casaubon's text,--is certainly corrupt. We cannot suppose that Strabo means to say that they call the temple of Enyo by the name of Comana. Groskurd observes (Transl. Strabo, vol. ii. p. 449), that when Hirtius (De Bell. Alex. 100.66) says: “Venit Comana, sanctissimum in Cappadocia Bellonae templum,” he means the town; and we cannot justify Strabo's text by this passage. It appears that most of the MSS. of Strabo have Μᾶ in place of Κόμανα, and Groskurd proposes to read Μᾶς with Koray. Accordingly the latter part of the passage means, “which they call the temple of Ma.” Groskurd is, however, rather inclined to read ἣν ἐκεῖνοι Μᾶ Μᾶν ὀνομάζουσι.

The place was made a Roman colony after the time of Caracalla. Cramer assumes that it was a colony in the time of Antoninus Pius; but Caracalla was also called Antoninus, and this may be the cause of Cramer's mistake, if it is one. The coins have the epigraphs Col. Aug. Comana; and Col. Iul. Aug. Comanenoru, or Comainoru. - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, William Smith, LLD, Ed.

Comana was a city of Cappadocia (Greek: τὰ Κόμανα τῆς Καππαδοκίας) and later Cataonia (Latin: Comana Cataoniae; frequently called Comana Chryse[1] or Aurea, i.e. "the golden", to distinguish it from Comana in Pontus). The Hittite toponym Kummanni is considered likely to refer to Comana, but the identification is not considered proven.[2] Its ruins are at the modern Turkish village of Şar, Tufanbeyli district, Adana Province.[3]

History. According to ancient geographers, Comana was situated in Cappadocia (and later Cataonia[4]). Another epithet for the city, found in inscriptions, is Hieropolis 'sacred city', owing to a famous temple of the Syrian Moon goddess Enyo or, in the local language: Ma (cf. Men, the moon goddess of Caria). Strabo and Julius Caesar visited it; the former[5] enters into long details about its position in a deep valley on the Sarus (Seihoun) river. The temple and its fame in ancient times as the place where the rites of Ma-Enyo, a variety of the great west Asian nature-goddess, were celebrated with much solemnity. The service was carried on in a sumptuous temple with great magnificence by many thousands of hieroduli (temple slaves). To defray expenses, large estates had been set apart, which yielded a more than royal revenue. The city, a mere apanage of the temple, was governed directly by the chief priest, who was always a member of the reigning Cappadocian family, and took rank next to the king. The number of persons engaged in the service of the temple, even in Strabo's time, was upwards of 6000, and among these, to judge by the names common on local tomb-stones, were many Persians. Under the Romans the temple was reassigned to Bellona and Lycomedes established as high priest. Emperor Caracalla, made Comana a Roman colony, and the temple-city received honors from later emperors down to the official recognition of Christianity. Comana Chryse, or the golden, appears from one of the Novellae of Justinian (Nov. 31. c. 1), to distinguish it from the Comana in Pontus. It was in the division which he named the Third Armenia, and which, he observes, contained Melitene, near the Euphrates.

There was a tradition that Orestes, with his sister, brought from Tauric Scythia the sacred rites of this temple, which were those of Tauropolos Artemis. Here Orestes deposited the hair that he cut from his head to commemorate the end of his sufferings (ἡ πένθιμος κόμη), and hence, according to an folk etymology of the Greeks, came the name of the place, Comana. And in later times, to make the name suit the story better, as it was supposed, it was changed to ἡ Κόμανα. (Eustath. ad Dionys. v. 694; Procop. Persic. i. 17.)

The city minted coins in antiquity that bear the epigraphs Col. Aug. Comana, and Col. Iul. Aug. Comanenoru or Comainoru.

The site lies at Şarköy or Şar (usually transcribed Shahr), a village in the Anti-Taurus on the upper course of the Sarus (Sihun), mainly Armenian, but surrounded by new settlements of Avshar Turkomans and Circassians. The place has derived importance both in antiquity and now from its position at the eastern end of the main pass of the western Anti-Taurus range, the Kuru Chai, through which passed the road from Caesarea-Mazaca (moern. Kayseri) to Melitene (modern Malatya), converted by Septimius Severus into the chief military road to the eastern frontier of the empire. The extant remains at Şar include a theatre on the left bank of the river, a fine Roman doorway and many inscriptions; but the exact site of the great temple has not been satisfactorily identified. There are many traces of Severus's road, including a bridge at Kemer, and an immense number of milestones, some in their original positions, others reused in cemeteries.  - Wikipedia

 

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