Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Peoples of the empire: The Cappadocians

Cappadocia (O.P. Katpatuka) lay between the Halys and northern Euphrates in central Anatolia.  The region still goes by this name (Kapadokya in Turkish) for tourism purposes.

According to Herodotus, the Cappadocians are the people who were classically known to the Greeks as Syrians.  This would seem to be the result of an excessively wide application of the name Syria, which is probably a Greek garbling of Assyria (which ruled the lands to the south of Cappadocia).

The land where Cappadocia later existed was the center of the great Hittite empire in the Bronze Age, but by the start of the Achaemenid period the Medes had already been ceded the land by the Lydian empire, when the Halys became the border between the Medes and Lydians.  (As usual, it should be noted that we do not know how "imperial" the Medes actually were:  The Cappadocians' subjection may have been only nominal.)

Cyrus the Great conquered Cappadocia in 547 BC, and Darius the Great placed them in the third tax district and imposed a yearly tax of 360 talents.  At the Persepolis Apadana, the Cappadocians bear tribute consisting of a horse, coats and trousers.  Ctesias refers to the first satrap of Cappadocia as Ariaramnes, a name shared by Darius' great-grandfather.

According to Herodotus, the Cappadocians in Xerxes' invasion of Greece served as infantry under Gobryas (Gaubaruva), Xerxes' half-brother by Darius (not to be confused with the Gobryas who helped place Darius on the throne).  He does not mention them among the cavalry despite their historical connections with horse-rearing.

From the Anabasis of Xenophon, it is believed that by the time of Artaxerxes II southwestern Cappadocia was part of a satrapy called Greater Phrygia.  In his reign, Cappadocia was administratively divided into Cappadocia and Paphlagonia.

According to the 1st-century BC Roman historian Cornelius Nepos, a Cappadocian satrap in the early 4th century, Datames, played a major part in imperial politics and war.  Nepos describes Datames as a Carian, son of Camissares, satrap of Cilicia.  Datames took part in the 385 invasion of Cadusia in northern Iran, where Camissares died.  Afterward he put down several revolts, and King Artaxerxes II appointed him to lead the reconquest of Egypt, but court intrigue led to Datames relinquishing this appointment; it was taken up by Pharnabazus of Phrygia and failed in 373.  Datames then joined the Revolt of the Satraps, and repeatedly defeated the royal armies sent against him.  Cappadocia was in revolt from from 372-362, when Mithridates, son of fellow rebellious satrap Ariobarzanes of Phrygia, defected to the king, assassinated Datames and extradited his father to Artaxerxes.

Cappadocia was captured by Alexander the Great early in his invasion of the Persian empire.  The last Achaemenid satrap, Mithrobuzanes, died during the Battle of the Granicus in 334.  (However, Diodorus has an Ariamnes as satrap during this time; possibly they were satraps of different parts of Cappadocia).  Alexander appointed a native Cappadocian, Abistamenes or (according to Arrian) Sabictas.  However, his rule appears to have been tenuous; he ceases to appear in history after the Battle of Issus.  Cappadocians fought as cavalry on the Achaemenid side at the Battle of Gaugamela in 332, under the command of Mazaeus, governor of Babylon.

After Alexander's death in 323, Macedonian general Perdiccas acted as regent for his young sons.  In this role he gave the rule of Cappadocia and Paphlagonia to Eumenes, a high-ranking Greek general.  Eumenes contended with Ariarathes I, a son of the aforementioned Ariamnes, who had seized power in 330.  Perdiccas captured and killed Ariarathes, but was himself to fall in the Wars of the Diadochi, and Ariarathes' nephew Ariarathes II took central and northern Cappadocia to create a new kingdom with its seat at the already ancient city Mazaca (later Caesarea, Kayseri in Turkish).

Cappadocia was initially a tributary of the Seleucids and became independent in the 3rd century.  Hellenistic influence was strong; the kings were of mixed Greek and Persian descent and used Ariarathes as a regnal name.  During Roman expansion in the early 2nd century, Cappadocia first sided with the Seleucids, then with the Romans.  Meddling by Mithridates VI of the nearby kingdom of Pontus led to the collapse of the Cappadocian dynasty in 96 BC.  A new dynasty was founded by native noble Ariobarzanes I, but was highly unstable due to both competition from neighboring countries and its own shifting alliances with the Roman Triumvirates.  In 41 BC, Marc Antony deposed Ariobarzanes' grandson Ariarathes IX and appointed as king Archelaus, the high priest of the Cappadocian city of Comana.

As a client of the Romans, Archelaus was compelled to go to Rome at the behest of Tiberius in AD 17, where he was accused of plotting rebellion.  He died there, ostensibly of illness (Tacitus considers it possible that he committed suicide).  Thereafter, Cappadocia became a Roman province, which it would remain under the Eastern Romans (Byzantines), Seljuks and Ottomans.

Try as I might, I have yet to find anything at all regarding the Cappadocian language(s) during the Achaemenid period.  A reasonable guess, however, might be a development of Hittite or Luwian, Indo-European languages of the Anatolian branch.

The language of Cappadocia in later centuries was a dialect of Greek, which is preserved today by those who were sent to Greece in the 1920s during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

Likewise I can learn little about this.  Archelaus' home city, Comana, was sacred to the moon goddess Ma.

Clothing and arms
In Persian art, the Cappadocians' clothing and hairstyles are much the same as the Medes, Persians and Armenians, including the tunics, footed trousers, shoes strapped around the ankle, and narrow, knotted sashes.  They wear tiaras with the peaks laying to one side (which, as I have previously discussed, probably indicates a fine woven fabric - felt simply doesn't lie down like that) and the earflaps tied up at the back of the head, like a modern ushanka.  Examples may be seen here (second photo up, center) and here.

The most notable difference is that rather than overcoats like the Medes, Cappadocians wear short-ish square cloaks, closed by bow-shaped fibulae at the shoulder.  (In some images these fibulae appear to be ribbed and may resemble examples found at Deve Hüyük.)

Herodotus describes Cappadocian equipment as "like the Paphlagonians," which in turn consisted of "woven helmets...  small shields and short spears, and also javelins and daggers..."  At Naqš-e Rostam the Cappadocian has an akinakes.  On balance - considering, for example, the similar costumes - it seems plausible that Cappadocian arms were also similar to the Iranians'; they may, for example, have used crescent shields and daggers of the akinakes type, if not necessarily the particular Achaemenid style.

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