Sunday, February 11, 2024

Diocaesarea

Diocaesarea

Diocaesarea, among the innumerable places of historical interest, located in the Taurus Mountains in the vicinity of Silifke is in the Mersin. Diocesarea seems to be the most significant, and at the same time – the most beautiful one.

The history of settlement in the area of Diocaesarea dates back at least to the times of the Hittites. Then, it was the capital city of Pirindu, a small Neo-Hittite state. Later, it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire.

In the Hellenistic period, the cult of Zeus, the most important deity of the Greek pantheon, arrived in Cilicia. As often happens in the history of religion, the character of Zeus was there identified with the local deity, and as a result, it developed into the cult of Zeus Olbios. The most famous sanctuary of this god was located in Dioceasarea. The great temple of the Corinthian order, erected there during the reign of the Seleucids, was located in the place that, most probably, had been previously occupied by the sanctuary dedicated to the local deity.

Later, during the Roman period, a settlement developed around the sanctuary. It was known as Diocaesarea from 72 CE. The city minted Roman coins in its name. Many buildings were erected then, and their traces have been preserved to our times. Among them, there is a theatre, a ceremonial gate, and, most importantly, the temple of Zeus Olbios.

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