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Turkey, Elaioussa Sebaste, Islands off Cilicia, Theater
Elaiussa, meaning olive, was founded in the 2nd century B.C. on a tiny island attached to the the southern coast of Anatolia (in modern-day Turkey) by a narrow isthmus in Mediterranean Sea. During the reign of Augustus, the Cappadocian king Archelaus founded a new city on the isthmus. Archelaus called it Sebaste, which is the Greek equivalent word of the Latin "Augusta." The city entered a golden age when Vespasian purged Cilicia of pirates in 74 A.D. Towards the end of the 3rd century A.D. however its importance began to wane, due in large part to incursions by the Sassanian King Shapur I in 260 and later by the Isaurians. When its neighbor Corycus began to flourish in the 6th century A.D., Elaiussa Sebaste slowly disappeared from history.

The theater, dating to the 2nd century A.D., is small with only 23 rows of seats, whose steps and decorations unfortunately succumbed to centuries of plunder. Next to the theater is the agora, built in all great probability during the imperial period. At the entrance of the agora, which is surrounded by a semi-destroyed defense wall once rose two monumental fountains in the shape of lions. Inside the agora stands a large church, its floor is covered by sand to protect the mosaic pavement. Elaiussa's only temple stands outside the city on a hill overlooking the sea; only two of the Corinthian columns of this temple, which had 12 on the long and 6 on the short side originally, are standing today. A large bath complex among the lemon groves between the temple and the agora was built with a Roman technique little used in Anatolia. The necropolis is the richest and most impressive of cities of ancient Cilicia. The "Avenue of Graves," located on a hill to the north of the city, preserves close to a hundred graves of various shapes and sizes scattered among the lemon trees. The ancient aqueducts that carried water to the ruins from the Lamos ("Lemon") river also adorn the cityís two entrances. The aqueduct to the west of the city in particular is in relatively good condition. Centuries ago the aqueduct actually ran all the way to Corycus.
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Filename:Theater_Elaiussa.jpg
Album name:Joe Sermarini / Ancient Sites Photo Gallery
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Date added:Oct 23, 2015
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