Cappadocia, at one time designated the whole region between Lake Tatta and the Euphrates, and from the Euxine Sea to Cilicia; but the northern part became ‘Cappadocian Pontus’ or simply ‘Pontus’, and the central and southern part Greater Cappadocia. This last consists of a rolling plateau, almost treeless in its western portion, some broken volcanic areas in the centre and the west (the cone of Mt. Argaeus reaches 3,660 m.: 12,000 ft.), and the ranges, for the most part well watered and well timbered, of the Taurus and Antitaurus. A rigorous winter climate limits production to hardy cereals and fruits. Grazing was always important; the Achaemenid kings levied a tribute of 1,500 horses, 50,000 sheep, and 2,000 mules, and Roman emperors kept studs of race-horses there. Mines are mentioned of quartz, salt, Sinopic earth (cinnabar), and silver. Since the passes were frequently closed in winter the country was isolated.
In the second millennium bce this region of small principalities and temple-states was penetrated by the Assyrians, and became subject to the Hittite rulers of Boǧazköy (see asia minor: 1. pre-classical). After their fall (c.1000 bce) it lay open to invasion and devastation by Phrygians and later Cimmerians. The Achaemenid conquest (585 bce) and subsequent land-grants to Persians prompted some Persian cultural influence (see CAH2 plates to vol. 4, no. 43 for a late 5th-cent. fire-altar from Bünyän). There also existed large territories owned by temples and ruled by priests, such as those of Ma at Comana and Zeus at Venasa (see anatolian deities).
The satrap Ariarathes I refused to submit to Alexander (3) the Great and was killed by Perdiccas (3). His descendants, restored after 301, added Cataonia to their possessions and were recognized as kings from c.255 bce, although Seleucus (1) I claimed to have conquered part of (‘Seleucid’) Cappadocia (App. Syr. 55); Seleucid possessions here were conquered by Ariarathes II (Diod. Sic. 31. 19. 5), perhaps c.260 bce. Ariarathes IV supported Antiochus (3) III against Rome at Magnesia (190 bce), but he and his successors thereafter were pro-Roman. Even though Graeco-Macedonian settlers are hardly attested, a gradual Hellenization (see hellenism) took place under these philhellene rulers, reflected in the adoption of Greek personal names, cultural institutions (e.g. a gymnasium at Tyana: SEG 1. 466), and civic organization (e.g. the 2nd-cent. bce decree from Hanisa republished by Robert). Devastated by Tigranes (1) of Armenia in the Mithradatic Wars, Cappadocia was restored by Pompey. Antony replaced the royal line, which had proved disloyal in the Parthian invasion, with the energetic Archelaus (5), who renamed Mazaca Caesarea (1) and founded Archelais. Annexed in ce 17, Cappadocia was a procuratorial province until Vespasian, when (72) it was joined with Galatia under a consular legate until Trajan, who, between 107 and 113, formed a new province of Cappadocia with Pontus which remained united to the time of Diocletian. With Rome's de facto acceptance of the Euphrates as its eastern frontier, Cappadocia from Vespasian on was integrated into Rome's eastern limes by the construction of roads and forts and the establishment of legionary garrisons at Satala and Melitene; the system survived until beyond the reign of Justinian, who repaired it. Roman Cappadocia remained chiefly a region of large estates (now including imperial properties), cities on the Greek model (in spite of Rome's interest in promoting urbanism) hardly occupying a third of the territory. Political Romanization was slow too: before 200 only one senatorial family (from Tyana) is attested (H. Halfmann, Die Senatoren aus dem östlichen Teil des Imperium Romanum (1979) no. 130). See ariaramnes; ariarathes; ariobazarnes.
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