Asia Minor, classical

Stephen Mitchell

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics

Published online March 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI:

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The geographical term Asia Minor is used to denote the westernmost part of the Asian continent, equivalent to modern Turkey between the Aegean and the Euphrates. The western and southern coastal fringes were part of the Mediterranean world; the heartland of Asia Minor lay in the interior of Anatolia, comprising the hilly but fertile uplands of *Phrygia, the steppic central plateau, and the rugged and harsh country of *Cappadocia. These areas were framed by the Pontic ranges which rise steeply from the Black Sea in the north, and the long range of the *Taurus which snakes through southern Anatolia from Lycia to the Euphrates and separates Asia Minor from Syria. In the Graeco-Roman period the region's history is illuminated by an almost limitless flood of historical information, which makes it possible to identify the separate languages, cultures, and religious traditions of its various regions—*Bithynia, Mysia, *Lydia, *Caria, *Lycia, *Pisidia, *Cilicia, *Cappadocia, *Galatia, *Paphlagonia, and *Pontus—and also to document the influence of external powers and cultures, above all of Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Article.  580 words. 

Subjects: Historical Geography ; Middle Eastern History

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