Settlements > Seleucia on the Calycadnus

Seleucia on the Calycadnus


Silifke was formerly called Seleucia on the Calycadnus — variously cited over the centuries as Seleucia [in] Cilicia, Seleucia [in,of] Isauria, Seleucia Trachea, and Seleucia Tracheotis —. The city took its name from its founder, King Seleucus I Nicator. The ancient Greek city of Olba (Turkish: Oura) was also within the boundaries of modern-day Silifke.

Seleucia on the Calycadnus, also known as Seleucia ad Calycadnum, was an ancient city located near the Calycadnus River (modern Göksu River) in what is now southern Turkey. Here’s a detailed description of Seleucia on the Calycadnus:

Historical Background

Foundation: Seleucia on the Calycadnus was founded in the Hellenistic period, likely in the 3rd century BCE, by one of the successors of Alexander the Great, possibly Seleucus I Nicator.

Strategic Location: The city was strategically situated near the Calycadnus River, which was an important waterway for trade and transportation.


Trade and Commerce: Due to its proximity to the river and the Mediterranean Sea, Seleucia was an important commercial hub. It facilitated trade between the interior regions of Anatolia and the coastal areas.

Cultural Center: As a Hellenistic city, Seleucia on the Calycadnus featured Greek architecture, culture, and urban planning, making it a center of Hellenistic culture in the region.

Roman and Byzantine Periods

Roman Era: Under Roman rule, Seleucia continued to prosper. It was integrated into the Roman provincial system and benefitted from Roman infrastructure and economic policies.

Byzantine Period: The city remained significant during the Byzantine era, serving as a religious and administrative center. Its strategic location made it a key site in the defense of the empire’s eastern provinces.

Archaeological Significance

Ruins and Remains: The site of Seleucia on the Calycadnus has yielded various archaeological remains, including city walls, public buildings, and other structures that reflect its historical importance.

Artifacts: Excavations have uncovered artifacts that provide insights into the daily life, commerce, and culture of its inhabitants throughout different historical periods.

Modern Context

Location: The ancient site is near the modern town of Silifke in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Tourism and Education: Today, the ruins of Seleucia attract tourists and scholars interested in ancient history and archaeology. Efforts to preserve and study the site contribute to our understanding of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

Key Points

Founding: Established in the Hellenistic period by Seleucus I Nicator or his successors.

Strategic Importance: Located near the Calycadnus River, facilitating trade and transportation.

Cultural Hub: A center of Hellenistic culture with significant Greek architectural influence.

Continued Prosperity: Maintained importance through Roman and Byzantine eras.

Archaeological Site: Contains ruins and artifacts valuable for historical and archaeological research.

In summary, Seleucia on the Calycadnus was a significant ancient city with a rich history spanning the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Its strategic location and cultural influence made it an important center of trade, culture, and administration in the region. Today, its ruins offer valuable insights into the ancient world.


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