Alabanda, a capital of Roman Conventus. History and coinage.

January 23, 2019

Doğanyurt (also called Araphisar) is a small village in the interior of Turkey, heir to the once rich and famous city of Alabanda, capital of Roman conventus iuridicus and seat of Episcopal diocese during the Byzantine rule.


The date of foundation of Alabanda is unknown. Probably it must be dated sometime in the first half of the first millennium BC, as it is the case of the surrounding cities.


In the 4th century BC Alabanda is part of the Persian satrapy of Caria. The different Achaemenids monarchs used to hand over the government of that satrapy to local noblemen loyal to their cause, granting them a high degree of independence. Among these stands out the famous king Mausolus, satrap between 377 and 353 BC, who expanded the limits of his province and ordered to erect an imposing tomb called to become one of the seven wonders of antiquity.


Photo 1.- Ruins of the Apollo Isotimos temple. 2nd Century BC.


Conquered the west of Asia Minor by Alexander the Great as a result of his overwhelming victory in the Granicus River (334 a.C.), Alabanda enters in the orbit of the nascent Macedonian empire. Upon the death of that one, it passes to the domain of Antigonos I Monophthalmos, who will be defeated in Ipsus (301 BC), perishing in battle. As a consequence, a large part of Asia Minor and with it Alabanda will arrive to the hands of Seleucus I, founder of the Seleucid dynasty.


At the beginning of the 3rd century BC is constituted the chrysaorian league: a carian cities association oriented to the joint defense and the stimulus of the commercial practice. The name comes from Chrysaorid, city in whose temple of Zeus  the assembly of the league met. Our Alabanda was one of the founding members of this league, remaining in it until its dissolution in 203 BC.


Photo 2.- General view of the Zeus Chrysaoreus temple.