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Chersonesus (1), Thracian peninsula

A long, narrow peninsula forming the European side of the Hellespont (Dardanelles). Running generally in an east–west direction, it connects the sea of Marmara with the Aegean. It was noted in antiquity for its fertility and for its strategic location as a crossing between Europe and Asia. Several Greek cities lay along the protected southern (Hellespontine) shore, leaving no doubt about their ability to control sea traffic through the straits. It was settled by Aeolian and Ionian Greeks in the 8th and 7th cents. bce. Private Athenian interest commenced in the late 7th cent., with settlers involved in both local agriculture and trade and in the growing Greek commerce with the Black (Euxine) Sea. By the 5th cent. the Athenian state took an official interest in protecting the grain trade, and a number of Chersonese cities became tributary states in the Athenian empire (see delian league). In the 4th cent. a wall 8 km. (5 mi.) long was built across the narrow neck of the peninsula as a defence against Thracian incursions. Philip (1) II of Macedon ruled the area, and, after passing through the hands of Alexander (3) the Great's successors, the Chersonesus became a part of Pergamum's domain (189). Thence it passed into Roman hands (133) as ager publicus, and was converted into an imperial estate under Augustus. Because of its strategic importance in modern times, travel has been limited and excavation virtually non-existent, thereby forcing us to depend mainly upon ancient written sources for the history of the rich cities of the Chersonesus. See cardia; miltiades.

Bibliography

U. Kahrstedt, Beiträge zur Geschichte der thrakischen Chersones (1954).Find this resource:

    B. Isaac, The Greek Settlements in Thrace until the Macedonian Conquest (1986).Find this resource:

      M. H. Hansen and T. H. Nielsen (eds.), An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis (2004), 900–911.Find this resource:

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