Side on the Stage of History | Side Turkey
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Side on the Stage of History

22 Kasım 2014
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  • Side on the Stage of History

    The generally accepted narrative, supported by Strabo, is that Side appeared on the stage of history when the city was established by Cymeans emigrating south from İzmir on the Aegean coast in the 7th century BC. However the studies regarding the origins of the word “Side” concluded that human settlement in Side began centuries before this event. The word “Side” means pomegranate, and etymological studies indicated that the word neither belongs to Cymean language nor the generally used dialects of the Pamphylia region. The word is believed to belong to an ancient Anatolian language used by the local people who lived there before the arrival of Cymeans. According to Eusebuis, a historian from the 3rd century BC, Side was a city ancient even at that date, founded in 1405 BC. The Side of today was formed by the great upheaval created by the campaigns of Alexander the Great, and then the hegemony of Rome. The Macedonian hegemony began in 334 BC and continued until 301 BC. This short period created a great change in Side, as in ali lands that Alexander brought under his control. The local language of Side used until the arrival of Alexander was replaced by ancient Greek, the new language being taught by the teachers appointed by Alexander. Side, which used to be one of the ancient Anatolian cities, changed not only its religion, but also its form of state and regime. Before the domination of Macedonia, the city was ruled by Persians for nearly two centuries. After the death of Alexander it was ruled by the Ptolemies (301- 218 BC) and later by the Seleucids (218-189 BC), who arrived from Syria. During these periods Side was entitled to mint its own coinage, so it benefited from a kind of autonomy. Side, in the İst and 2nd centuries BC, was the largest port of Pamphylia, and was home to the largest commercial fleet sailing in the Mediterranean. The city, enriched by trade and highly developed intellectually, became a cultural and educational centre. Side’s fame was such that the future King of Seleucids, Antiochus III was sent to Side for education in 138 BC. In the İst century BC, Rome intervened to protect Side from piratical attacks, and the city came under Roman dominion, beginning the most glorious period of its history. During the Roman Period, especially in the 2nd century AD, the city was adorned with magnificent structures, beautified and vastly enriched. Unfortunately, as Roman authority weakened in the 3rd century AD, tribes descending from the north began raiding Side. As raids continued in the 4th century the city walls were repaired, and later the inner city walls were built, cutting the city in two to protect the peninsula. Despite ali those measures the city began to loose its importance and wealth. Despite gaining importance as the seat of a bishop, the city was abandoned in the 7th century following severe raids by pirates, Arab attacks and earthquakes. The present day settlement of Side started with formation of Selimiye Village at the beginning of the 1900s, just next to the ancient Side. Excavations have unearthed much of ancient Side, but substantial parts of the ancient city remain under the earth. Most of the ruins visible today-the theatre, city walls, agorae, temples and other ruins that so surprise and delight those with an interest in ancient civilizations – date from the Roman Period. With an eye on its discovered and stili unknown treasures, the whole peninsula was declared a protected site. Many mysteries await exploration.

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