Map of the Roman Empire - Pessinus

Pessinus
P-6 on the Map

Ancient Pessinus. A city of Anatolia (Southwestern Galatia) situated on the southern slope of Mount Dindymus on the Sakarya River. According to mythology Pessinus was the capital city of King Midas who turned into gold everything he touched.

Pessinus (Πεσσινούς) or Pesinus (Πισσινούς). A city in the southwest corner of Galatia, on the southern slope of Mount Dindymus or Agdistis, was celebrated as a chief seat of the worship of Cybelé, under the surname of Agdistis, whose temple, crowded with riches, stood on a hill outside the city. In this temple was an image of the goddess, which was removed to Rome to satisfy an oracle in the Sibylline Books. See Rhea. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.

Pessinus (Greek: Πεσσινούς or Πισσινούς) was a city in Anatolia, the Asian part of Turkey on the upper course of the river Sakarya River (Sangarios), from which the mythological King Midas is said to have ruled a greater Phrygian realm. The city has been proven to have been in existence as far back as 700 BC. Pessinus, the present village Ballıhisar is situated at 13 km from Sivrihisar a small town on the road Ankara- Eskişehir at the junction with the road to Afyon-İzmir, at 120 km SW of Ankara.

History of Pessinus. Pessinus was the mythological capital of King Midas, the ruler who wished for everything that he touched be turned into gold, and who was, in the myth, the founder of the temple of Cybele, Midas’s mother. Cybele is the mother of the Gods in the Phrygian tradition and her importance is the reason for the existence of Pessinus. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great and the settlement of the Tolistobogii, a Celtic tribe, around Pessinus and Gordium in the 270s BC, the city became a major Hellenistic center in the region of Galatia. The Seleucids defeated the Celts, but the region was eventually lost by Antiochus Hierax to the Attalid Kingdom of Pergamon. In 133 BC, Attalus III bequeathed his kingdom, and Pessinus with it, to Rome. Roman involvement in Pessinus however had earlier roots. In 205 BC, alarmed by a number of meteor showers during the ongoing Second Punic War, the Romans, after consulting the Sibylline Books, decided to introduce the cult of the Great Mother of Ida (Magna Mater Idaea, also known as Cybele) to the city. They sought the aid of their ally Attalus I, and following his instructions, they went to Pessinus and removed the goddess' most important image, a large black stone that was said to have fallen from the sky, to Rome. The stone was first placed in the Temple of Victory on the Palatine Hill, but in 191 BC a new sanctuary was built for the goddess on the summit of the Palatine Hill, one of the most sacred places in Rome. Along with the black stone, a throne was brought to Rome. The throne was destroyed twice by fire in 111 BC and 3 AD, both times being restored, in the latter case by the emperor Augustus. Roman culture emerged in Pessinus again around 45 AD, when the Emperor Claudius sold the temple-state to the Galatian tetrarch Brogitarus. This was a fundraising tactic used by the Roman emperors, starting with Julius Caesar around 45 BC. Christianity reached the area in the 3rd century. - Wikipedia

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Pessinus
PESSINUS, PESINUS (Πεσσινούς , Πισσινούς: Eth. ?ess?????t???), the principal town of the Tolistoboii, in the west of Galatia, situated on the southern slope of Mount Dindymus or Agdistis, near the left bank of the river Sangarius, from. whose sources it was about 15 miles distant. (Paus. 1.4.5; Strab. xii. p.567.) It was 16 miles south of Germa, on the road from Ancyra to Amorium. (It. Ant. pp. 201, 202.) It was the greatest commercial town in those parts, and was believed to have derived its name from the image of its great patron divinity, which was said to have fallen (pese??) from heaven. (Herodian, 1.11; Ammian. 22.9.) Pessinus owes its greatest celebrity to the goddess Rhea or Cybele, whom the natives called Agdistis, and to whom an immensely rich temple was dedicated. Her priests were anciently the rulers of the place ; but in later times their honours and powers were greatly reduced. (Strab. l.c., x. p. 469; Diod. 3.58, &c.) Her temple contained her image, which, according to some, was of stone (Liv. 29.10, 11), or, according to others, of wood, and was believed to have fallen from heaven. (Apollod. 3.11; Amm. Marc. l.c.) The fame of the goddess appears to have extended all over the ancient world; and in B.C. 204, in accordance with a command of the Sibylline books, the Romans sent a special embassy to Pessinus to fetch her statue, it being believed that the safety of Rome depended on its removal to Italy. (Liv. l.c.; Strab. xii. p.567.) The statue was set up in the temple of Victory, on the Palatine. The goddess, however, continued nevertheless to be worshipped at Pessinus; and the Galli, her priests, sent a deputation to Manlius when he was encamped on the banks of the Sangarius. (Liv. 38.18; Plb. 20.4.) At a still later period, the emperor Julian worshipped the goddess in her ancient temple. (Amm. Marc. l.c.) The kings of Pergamum adorned the sanctuary with a magnificent temple, and porticoes of white marble, and surrounded it with a beautiful grove. Under the Roman dominion the town of Pessinus began to decay, although in the new division of the empire under Constantine it was made the capital of the province Galatia Salutaris. (Hierocl. p. 697.) After the sixth century the town is no longer mentioned in history. Considerable ruins of Pessinus, especially a well-preserved theatre, exist at a distance of 9 or 10 miles to the south-east of Sevri Hissar, where they were first discovered by Texier. (Descript. de l'Asie Mineure). They extend over three hills, separated by valleys or ravines. The marble seats of the theatre are nearly entire, but the scena is entirely destroyed; the whole district is covered with blocks of marble, shafts of columns, and other fragments, showing that the place must have been one of unusual magnificence. (Hamilton, Researches, i. p. 438, foll.; Leake, Asia Minor, p. 82, foll., who seems to be mistaken in looking for Pessinus on the right bank of the Sangarius.

 

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