IEU Features Ancient States on the Black Sea Coast (January 2011 newsletter) INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF UKRAINE FEATURES: ANCIENT CITY-STATES ON THE NORTHERN BLACK SEA COAST (January 2011) From the middle of the 1st millennium BC to the 3rd-4th century AD ancient city-states existed on the northern coast of the Black Sea in today's southern Ukraine. They were founded as colonies of Greek city-states, mainly Miletus and other Ionian states (in today's western Turkey), on sites that had fertile land, were close to good fishing grounds, and facilitated trade with such tribes as the Scythians, Sindians, Sarmatians, and Maeotians. The oldest Greek colony in Ukraine was founded on Berezan Island in the second half of the 7th century BC. The other colonies were founded mostly in the 6th century BC: Tyras (now Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi), Olbia (on the Dnieper-Boh Estuary), and, in the Crimea, Panticapaeum (now Kerch), Theodosia (now Teodosiia), Tiritaka, Nymphaeum, and Kerkinitis (now Yevpatoriia). Chersonese Taurica, the only Dorian colony, was built at the end of the 5th century BC in southwestern Crimea. In a short time these colonies all became independent, slave-owning poleis. By the late 2nd century BC the states on the northern pontic littoral went into decline, mostly because of expansion by the Scythians and Taurians. In the 330s AD most of these states were economically ruined by the invasions of the Ostrogoths; they were finally destroyed by the Huns in the fourth century... Learn more about the ancient states on the northern Pontic littoral by visiting: http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/featuredentry.asp or by visiting: http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com and searching for such entries as: ANCIENT STATES ON THE NORTHERN BLACK SEA COAST. The economy of the ancient city-states in the northern Black Sea coast was based on agriculture (particularly viticulture), manufacturing (stonecutting, construction, metal-working, pottery-making, and jewelry-making), and trade with the neighboring tribes and the cities of Greece and Asia Minor. The colonies sold their own products and acted as intermediaries between Greece and the Black Sea tribes. Most of the states produced their own coins. They sold the local tribes wine, weapons, and such luxury items as sculptures, vases, and precious textiles, and exported grain, dried fish, other agricultural products, and slaves. In political structure most of these states were, like their mother states, slave-owning republics. The Bosporan Kingdom, established ca 480 BC, had a monarchical structure. In the middle of the 1st century BC they came under the protection of King Mithradates VI Eupator of Pontus and joined him in his wars with Rome. After Mithradates' defeat Roman garrisons were stationed in many of the states and remained there until the 3rd?4th century AD... TYRAS. An ancient Greek city-state on the right bank of the Dniester Estuary at the site of present-day Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi. It was established in the 6th century BC by colonists from Miletus. By the 4th century BC it was a prosperous trading center, which even minted its own coinage. Its government was in the hands of five archons, a senate, a popular assembly and a registrar. The types of its coins suggest a trade in wheat, wine and fish. Tyras was sacked in the mid-1st century BC by the Getae, but it revived. It was rebuilt by the Romans and by the early 2nd century AD and it was an important outpost on the frontier of the Roman Empire. In the late 3rd century it was destroyed by the Goths. The site was repopulated much later by the Tivertsians and Ulychians and named Bilhorod. Some preliminary archeological work was done at the site in 1927?32. Systematic excavations under the Institute of Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR commenced in 1945... OLBIA. A major ancient Greek settlement located on the Boh River Estuary in Mykolaiv oblast. Founded in the early 6th century BC by Greek settlers from Miletus and other Ionian cities, Olbia soon became a prominent trading center on the northern Black Sea coast. Its inhabitants engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, viticulture, various trades, and trade with the Greek metropolis. Olbia imported wine, olive oil, fine dishes, cloth, art objects, and glassware both for itself and for trade with Scythians, Sarmatians, and other tribes on the Pontic steppe in exchange for grain, cattle, wool, fish, and slaves. Olbia reached the height of its prosperity and importance in the 5th-3rd centuries BC as a city-state covering an area of approximately 50 ha. It was strong enough to withstand a major siege by one of Alexander the Great's armies in 331 BC. Subsequent attacks in the 2nd?1st centuries BC by hostile tribesmen weakened the city, and it was forced to accept the suzerainty of Scythian chieftains and then of Mithridates VI Eupator, ruler of the Pontic Kingdom... PANTICAPAEUM. An ancient Greek colony founded in the early 6th century BC at the site of present-day Kerch, in the Crimea. Strategically located on the western shore of Kerch Strait, the city grew quickly and before the end of the century it was minting its own coins. As the leading trade, manufacturing, and cultural center on the northern coast of the Black Sea it became the capital of the Bosporan Kingdom, which arose in the 5th century. It was heavily damaged in Saumacus' revolt and Diophantus' capture of the city at the end of the 2nd century BC and by an earthquake ca 70 BC. Panticapaeum was rebuilt under Roman rule, and by the 1st century AD had regained its commercial importance. It began to decline in the 3rd century as tribal raids disrupted the trade in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Basin. Panticapaeum was destroyed by the Huns ca 370. Later a small town arose at the site, which in the Middle Ages became known as Bosphorus. The city was dominated by Mount Mithridates, on which the temples and civic buildings were placed... BOSPORAN KINGDOM. An ancient state on the northern coast of the Black Sea, founded ca 480 BC through an alliance of existing Greek city-states. The kingdom's capital was Panticapaeum. It was ruled by the Archaeanactid and then by the Spartocid dynasty, which endured for over 300 years. In the 4th-3rd century BC the Bosporan Kingdom was at the height of its economic and cultural development. It controlled the Taurian Peninsula, the lower Kuban region, and the eastern Azov steppes, which were settled by Maeotian tribes. Apart from the capital of Panticapaeum, other major cities belonging to the kingdom included Tiritaka, Nymphaeum, and Theodosia on the Taurian Peninsula, Phanagoria and Hermonassa in the lower reaches of the Kuban River, and Tanais at the Tanais River estuary (near today's Oziv). The king's power was almost unlimited. Grain growing, orcharding, viticulture, fishing, the skilled trades (particularly artistic metalworking), and trade were highly developed. Its manufactured goods were sold to the neighboring Scythians and Sarmatians... CHERSONESE TAURICA or Chersonesus. Ancient Greek city-state in the southwestern part of the Crimea, near present-day Sevastopol. The city was established in 422-21 BC by Megarian Greek colonists. In ancient times Chersonese was an important manufacturing and trade center as well as the political center of a city-state that encompassed the southwestern coast of the Crimea. The city flourished in the 4th-2nd century BC. It had a democratic system of government and coined its own money. Its economy was based on viticulture, fishing, manufacturing, and trade (grain, cattle, fish) with other Greek cities, the Scythians, and the Taurians. In the 1st century BC Chersonese recognized the sovereignty of Prince Mithradates VI of the Bosporan Kingdom and, later, of Rome. At the end of the 4th century AD the city became part of the Byzantine Empire. In the 5th-11th century it was the largest city on the northern coast of the Black Sea and an important center of Byzantine culture. At the end of the 10th century Chersonese was captured and held briefly by Prince Volodymyr the Great. From that point on Byzantine cultural influences often entered Kyivan Rus? through Chersonese... ******* The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries featuring the ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast were made possible by the financial support of the CANADIAN FOUNDATION FOR UKRAINIAN STUDIES. ******* ABOUT IEU: Once completed, the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine will be the most comprehensive source of information in English on Ukraine, its history, people, geography, society, economy, and cultural heritage. With over 20,000 detailed encyclopedic entries supplemented with thousands of maps, photographs, illustrations, tables, and other graphic and/or audio materials, this immense repository of knowledge is designed to present Ukraine and Ukrainians to the world. At present, only 21% of the entire planned IEU database is available on the IEU site. New entries are being edited, updated, and added daily. 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