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date: 26 November 2022

Gordiumlocked

Gordiumlocked

  • David John Blackman
  •  and Stephen Mitchell

Extract

Gordium (mod. Yassıhüyük), capital of ancient *Phrygia, situated at the point where the river *Sangarius is crossed by the main route westward from the Anatolian plateau to the sea (the Persian ‘Royal Road’). The site was occupied in the early bronze age and the Hittite period, and Phrygian settlement probably began in the 10th cent. bce. Gordium became the main Phrygian centre in the 8th cent., at the end of which it reached its greatest prosperity under King *Midas (2). The site had massive fortifications and impressive palace buildings, and many richly furnished tumuli were built around it in the 8th to 6th cents., including one which has been identified as the tomb of Midas himself. Gordium was destroyed by the invading *Cimmerians in the early 7th cent. but recovered, only to lose importance under Persian domination. It was visited by *Alexander (3) the Great (333), who cut the famous ‘Gordian Knot’.

Subjects

  • Near East

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