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Middle East Kingdoms

Ancient Anatolia


MapKhilikku / Hilakku

This region lies to the north-east of Cyprus, on the southern Anatolian coast where it meets Syria, stretching from its eastern plains (Celicia Pedias, or 'flat') to the rugged western section (Celicia Trachea, or 'rugged'), formed by spurs of the Taurus mountains. Although it had been inhabited since the eighth millennium BC, it first emerged into history during the Hittite period where it formed part of Kizzuwatna, and included the ancient city of Adaniya. Its earlier Anatolian name of Khilikku came to be known as Cilicia by later Greeks and Romans. In Greek mythology the land was named after King Cilix.

c.2600 BC


'Brother' of Asterion of Crete in Greek mythology.

Exiled by his brother from Crete, Sarpedon seeks refuge with his Uncle Cilix. From here he conquers Lycia to the west along the Mediterranean coastline.

c.2200 - 1200 BC

The region is settled by Luwians as part of Kizzuwatna and then controlled by the Hittites. In late Hittite times a people called the Denyen or Danuna settle in Adana. They could be connected to the Sea Peoples known as the Danya. Other groups of Denyen are also believed to settle in Cyprus.

Luwian bronze seal
A bronze seal written in the almost universal Anatolian language of Luwian which was discovered at Troy in 1995

Hiyawa (Que / Quwe / Qawe)

This was a Luwian-speaking neo-Hittite state which emerged in former south-western Kizzuwatna. It occupied the area of the far eastern Anatolian section of the Mediterranean coastline, including the city of Adana (or Adaniya or even Adanawa), and followed the two main rivers north to the borders of Tabal. Bordering it to the east were Gurgum, Yadiya and Pattin, while the later region of Khilakku seems to have occupied a pocket of territory to the west, between Que and Tabal.

The name Hiyawa appears to mirror that of the state of Ahhiyawa, which existed until the general collapse into a dark age at the end of the thirteenth century BC. Little is known about that state, even down to its exact location and the origin of its people. Hiyawa was not a continuation of it, however. Despite the uncertainties about Ahhiyawa, it is know to have been situated in western Anatolia, not in Hiyawa's south-eastern location. The similarity in name may be down to language. The Ahhiyawans probably spoke a form of Luwian, the Indo-European language of southern and western Anatolia, as did the Hiyawans, so the meaning of both names is probably similar.

The state possessed a stronghold at the city of Karatepe, while its Luwian name of Hiyawa is usually replaced by the better-known Assyrian form - Que. However, the name Que was not formally applied to the state until its annexation into the Assyrian empire. In late Hittite times a people called the Denyen or Danuna had settled in Adana, with a possible but entirely unconfirmed connection to the Sea Peoples known as the Danya, making the Hiyawans a mixture of Luwians, Hittites and Danya.

(Additional information from External Link: Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA.)

c.9th century BC

The neo-Hittite state of Hiyawa has emerged out of the collapse of its predecessor, the state of Kizzuwatna. Probably from the ninth century onwards, it becomes an Assyrian client state, as this is when Assyria begins to dominate many of the states that border it.

c.730s BC

Midas of Phrygia conquers several fortresses in the west of the state. The act seems to go unpunished by the Assyrians who are the overlords of Hiyawa, possibly because Tiglath-Pileser III is heavily involved in campaigns in Syria. This may be one of the earliest incidents to involve Midas as a significant nuisance factor for Assyria.

River Seihan at Adana
The River Seihan (or Seyhan) runs into the eastern Mediterranean at Adana, providing vital irrigation in a tough, mountainous environment

? - 720s BC

Warikas (Urikki)

Last king of Que.

c.726 - 720 BC

The last king of Hiyawa is Warikas (known in Assyrian as Urikki). Previously a loyal servant of the empire, he throws off the shackles of Assyrian domination. The result is Assyrian invasion, the defeat of Hiyawa and the removal of its king, and its incorporation into the empire as a province named Que. The date of this event is uncertain, and it may be that several years elapse from the rebellion of Warikas to the fateful invasion. The events take place either during the poorly documented reign of Shalmaneser V or at the very start of the reign of Sargon II.

Rarely with such events, the transformation of Warikas from steadfast vassal to self-assured sovereign is documented in his own inscriptions at Çineköy and Karatepe. They are written both in Luwian hieroglyphs and the Phoenician alphabet - a key source in deciphering Luwian. Warikas' change of heart may be connected to the increasing influence of the western Anatolian kingdom of Phrygia, with its capital city of Gordion lying not very far from Hiyawa.

715 BC

Despite sharing culinary and aesthetic tastes, Assyria and Phrygia are on bad terms. Although there are no relevant sources prior to Sargon's reign, his own inscriptions describe Midas of Phrygia as having long been a thorn in the empire's side, having never submitted to Sargon's predecessors and refusing diplomatic contacts.

Now, Sargon's army conquers some fortresses in western Que that Midas of Phrygia had taken 'very long ago', indicating that Midas must have been in power for some time. This campaign results in an Assyrian foray deep into Phrygia but does not stop Midas from his continuing intervention in Que and Tabal. However, Que itself disappears into history, only to re-emerge in the sixth century as Khilakku.

Khilakku (Cilicia)

This was a Luwian-speaking neo-Hittite state which emerged in former south-western Kizzuwatna in the mid-ninth century BC. It occupied a pocket of territory on the fertile coastal plains of Çukurova, ancient Cilicia, which was sandwiched between Tabal to the north and the kingdom of Que to the east, with Pamphylia to the west. How much of Khilakku was independent of or subject to Que, and how much of later Cilicia formed part of Que, is entirely unknown. The territory that formed ancient Cilicia had effectively formed the predecessor state of Que, although borders for either state are highly speculative.

The newly-expanded Lydia of the mid-seventh century BC quickly incorporated territory that saw its borders stretch from the Greek fringe on the western coast as far as the River Halys in the east. It was at this river that the Lydians came to blows with the Medians in 590 BC. To the south of this, the rulers of Khilakku (primarily King Syennesis) appear to have absorbed the remaining principalities of eastern Anatolia. The realm of Syennesis seems to have reached to the Euphrates crossing at Isoli (Tomisa, 'ad Aras') in Melitene (possibly the chief city of Ishuwa, modern Malatya in Turkey), although the kingdom's evolution seems difficult to explain. In Aramaic is was known as H(i)l(i)k, and the Greeks believed that coastal Cilicia was occupied by people called Kilikes who had moved there from the Aegean. The Assyrians and Babylonians still knew the Cilician plain as Que or Huwe, and applied the name Hilakku to the neighbouring hill country.

To the north of Khilakku the broken country between the Halys and the Euphrates was known as Tabal - Katpatuka (to the Persians) or Cappadocia (to the Greeks). It reached as far as the Black Sea but never seems to have had any political coherence until the Greek empire period. Herodotus viewed these people as being Syrians.

(Additional information from Jewish War & Jewish Antiquities, Flavius Josephus, from The Augustan Empire, 43 BC-AD 69, A K Bowman, E Champlin, & A Lintott (1996), from The History of Esarhaddon (Son of Sennacherib) King of Assyria, BC 681-688, Ernest A Budge, from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), and from External Links: Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, USA, and Diodorus of Sicily at the Library of World History (dead link), and Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Encyclopaedia Iranica, and Lives of Eminent Commanders, Cornelius Nepos (1886 Edition).)

679 BC

Esarhaddon of Assyria conducts a campaign against the Cimmerians. He defeats them and their leader, Teuspa, in the region of Hubusna (probably Hupisna-Cybistra), but the area is not pacified. In the same year Esarhaddon's troops also fight a war in Hilakku (Khilakku), and a few years later they punish the Anatolian prince of Kundu (Cyinda) and Sissu (Sisium, modern Sis), who has allied himself with Phoenician rebels against Assyrian rule. The regions to the north of the Cilician plain repeatedly cause trouble for Assyria.

Cimmerian warriors
This image shows Cimmerians battling early Greeks - prior to the advent of accepted 'Classical' Greece - with the mounted Cimmerians warriors apparently being accompanied by their dogs

652 BC

One serious invasion of Anatolia by Cimmerians has already been repulsed, with the states or regions of Hilakku, Lydia, and Tabal requesting help from Assyria. Now the Cimmerians return (leader unknown). King Gyges of Lydia is killed during a second attack. His capital of Sardis is captured, all except the citadel which manages to hold out. The fact that it does suggests either that either the Cimmerians do not hang around for long after their victory or that (as before) they are moved along by an Assyrian force. Excavations at the site of Sardis later discover a destruction layer that appears to be associated with this event.

fl c.610 BC


King during peace discussions between Media & Lydia.

fl 557 - 546 BC

Appuashu / Appuašu / Appuwašu

Son of Syennesis? Vassal from 549 BC under Persian rule.

557 - 556 BC

Cilicia is invaded and annexed by Babylonian king Nergalsharusur, although some sources state that Appuashu resists him. In fact, Cilician resistance to Babylonian occupation forces Nergalsharusur's successor, Nabonidus, to re-invade Cilicia at the start of his reign. Cilicia remains an unwilling partner in the empire.

549 BC

The Persian defeat of the Medes opens the floodgates for Cyrus with a wave of conquests, beginning with Cilicia in 549 BC. Appuashu may even welcome the intervention of the light-handed overlordship of Cyrus the Great over the tighter controls of the Babylonians. He is sometimes described as an ally of the Persians.

Harpagus, a Median of the royal house and the main cause of the defeat of the Medes, commands Cyrus' army in Anatolia, conquering it between 547-546 BC. Taken during this campaign are Caria, Lycia, Lydia, Paphlagonia, Phrygia, and Tabal (Cappadocia), and Harpagus and his descendants reign thereafter in Caria and Lycia as satraps of the empire, normally within the satrapy of Caria. Cilicia would appear also to be under their control, at least initially, although Appuashu continues to administer it at first.

Persian Satraps of Khilakku (Cilicia / Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus)

Small Nav - Persian & Greek Empires

Conquered by Cyrus the Great, the region of Cilicia was added to the Persian empire. Under the Persians, it was formed into an official satrapy or province, and the satraps ruled the region in the name of the Persian king. By the mid-fourth century BC, part of Cilicia (Khilakku) was known officially as the minor satrapy of Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus. Under Satrap Datames in the mid-fourth century it was joined with his original satrapal seat of Cappadocia-beside-the-Pontus (Katpatuka). The River Halys separated these two very minor provinces.

Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus bordered Cappadocia-beside-the-Pontus along its northern border. Its eastern frontier was formed by the Euphrates, as confirmed by Herodotus, with a western border which was shared with Greater Phrygia and a southern border with Syria which is only vaguely definable. Only in the south-west do references to the Taurus Gates, and especially to the Cilician Gates, provide more precise indications about the border with Cilicia 'proper'.

Babylonia was the senior great satrapy in Mesopotamia. The main satrapy of Athura (former Assyria) fell within Babylonia's administrative umbrella and was subservient to it. Thanks to its close association with Babylonia, the name of Athura was used almost synonymously (certainly by Herodotus and Strabo). Babylon's rank during the Achaemenid period (and beyond) and the status of officials who were installed there also suggest that Babylonia was the superior great satrapy. On the occasion of the rebellion of Megabyzus in Syria, the satrap of Babylonia was responsible for its suppression. This alone proves its higher hierarchical rank, as does the fact that Alexander the Great settled matters relating to Assyria in Babylon. It was also Strabo who reported (accurately) that Athura consisted of (old) Assyria along with Khilakku, Syria, and Phoenicia. Therefore Megabyzus and other holders of his office were satraps of all of these - at least at first.

The provincial capital of Cilicia 'beside-the-sea' was at Tarsus. Local dynasts with the title Syennesis held power until the fourth century, but then the royal court began to install officers. To the north and east, mounts Taurus and Amanus separated the province from Greater Phrygia and Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus, as well as from Syria. Several well-known passes may have marked the frontier, including the Cilician Gates, the Amanus Gates, and the Syrian Gates. In the west the province touched Pamphylia, which belonged to Greater Phrygia; the boundary must have been situated somewhere between Coracesium and Celenderis.

(Additional information by Edward Dawson, and from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Histories, Herodotus (Penguin, 1996), from Alexander the Great, Krzysztof Nawotka, and from External Links: Encyclopaedia Iranica, and Lives of Eminent Commanders, Cornelius Nepos (1886 Edition).)

549 - 546 BC


Last king of Cilicia and first Persian satrap.

546 - ? BC


Satrap of Caria, Lycia, & Sparda. Of the royal house of Media.


Client king of Khilakku?

? - 480 BC


Son. Client king of Khilakku. Killed at Salamis.

480 - 479 BC

FeatureInvading Greece in 480 BC, the Persians subdue the Thracian tribes, and they join his forces, all except the Satrai, precursors to the Bessoi, who refuse to succumb. The Macedonians are also subdued but continue to supply aid in the war against the Persians. Then the vast army of the Persian King Xerxes makes its way southwards and is swiftly engaged by Athens and Sparta in the Vale of Tempe. The Persians are subsequently stymied by a mixed force of Greeks led by Sparta at Thermopylae. (These events are depicted somewhat colourfully - but no less impressively for that - in the 2007 film, 300.)

Athens, as the leader of the coalition of city states known as the Delian League, then defeats the Persian navy at Salamis, and after Xerxes returns home, his army is decisively defeated at the Battle of Plataea and kicked out of Greece. (The naval battles of Artemisium and Salamis are shown to superb graphic effect in the 2014 sequel film, 300: Rise of an Empire, although it does contain a great many historical inaccuracies.) Along with many others killed at Salamis on the Persian side is the client king of Khilakku, Syennesis.

480 - ? BC


Of Halicarnassos. Possibly related. Client king of Khilakku?

469 BC

Athenian statesman and general, Kimon (or Cimon) leads an allied Greek fleet to Karkâ. The attack focuses on destroying Persian strongholds as far as Phaselis on the border with Pamphylia. The response from Xerxes is to send an army under Pherendates to Pamphylia and a joint fleet from Khilakku and Phoenicia (rebuilt after the loss of the Persian fleet in 479 BC) under the command of Tithraustes, a bastard son of Xerxes. The new fleet is destroyed and captured, and the Persian army is utterly defeated.

? - 401 BC


Grandson of Syennesis? Client king of Khilakku. Removed?

401 BC

Cyrus, satrap of Asia Minor, attempts to revolt, mobilising an army and ten thousand Greek mercenaries to attack his brother. Defeat leads to his death in October 401 BC at the Battle of Cunaxa. Along with his wife, Epyaxa, the client king of Khilakku, Syennesis, has supported the rebel army of Cyrus, primarily to protect his own lands from looting. Now his position may be untenable. Khilakku is reorganised as a formal satrapy within about a decade and its native kings are either removed or entirely sidelined, not to be mentioned again.

? - 385 BC

Camissares / Kamisares

Persian satrap of Khilakku. Carian by birth. Killed in battle.

385 BC

Camissares is in favour with the Persian court of Artaxerxes II. He is made satrap of Khilakku at an uncertain date but is killed in the war against the Kadousioi to the north-east of Media, in the Iranian mountains on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. His son - by a Paphlagonian or Scythian mother - becomes his successor.

385 - 362 BC


Satrap of Cilicia (including Katpatuka & Paphlagonia). Killed.

367 BC

At this time, Khilakku is known officially as the minor satrapy of Cappadocia-beside-the-Taurus. This is the main seat of Datames, although later in his career he is promoted as satrap of Katpatuka, otherwise known as the minor satrapy of Cappadocia-beside-the-Pontus.

Ariobarzanus, satrap of Phrygia, joins Datames, now satrap of Khilakku and Katpatuka and independent ruler of Paphlagonia, in revolt against Artaxerxes II. Autophradates, satrap of Sparda, is ordered to suppress the rebellion and he manages to expel Ariobarzanes from the greater part of his satrapy. In 365 BC, Athens sends thirty ships and 8,000 mercenaries to aid Ariobarzanus. He rewards Athens with the gift of Sestos and Crithote, cities on the Thracian Chersonesus.

364 - 358 BC

This seems to be the point, in 364 BC, at which the native princes of Paphlagonia are finally removed from holding any kind of office. They are replaced by various individuals from more powerful regions. By now the Greek city of Sinope has also fallen under Persian domination. Datames is the first outsider to take control there. Given the fact that he is in revolt against Persia, it would seem that Paphlagonia has been seized as part of this effort.

Soon all of Asia Minor (Anatolia) revolts against Artaxerxes II and, in 362 BC, even Autophradates is driven to join the rebels. Sparta, and also Takhôs, pharaoh of Egypt, send substantial help to the rebels. Two years later, in 360 BC, Ariobarzanes is betrayed by his son, Mithridates and is executed. In 359-358 BC the satrapal revolt is finally suppressed, by which time Datames has officially been removed as satrap of Cilicia.

362 - 353? BC


Son. Satrap? In Khilakku & Paphlagonia.

fl 351/350 BC

Mazaeus / Mazaios / Mazdai

Satrap. Promoted to Athura with Khilakku after 345 BC.

346 BC

In tandem with Satrap Bēlsunu of Ebir-nāri, Mazaeus leads fresh contingents of Greek mercenaries to put down the revolt in the Levant. Phoenicia is attacked first, but both satraps are repulsed. The Persian king himself is forced to follow up with a more direct intervention.

? - 333 BC


Satrap of Athura, Ebir-nāri, Khilakku & Phoenicia. Killed.

333 BC


Satrap. Killed in battle.

334 - 333 BC

In 334 BC Alexander of Macedon launches his campaign into the Persian empire by crossing the Dardanelles. The first battle is fought on the River Graneikos (Granicus), eighty kilometres (fifty miles) to the east. The Persian defeat forces Satrap Arsites of Daskyleion to commit suicide. Sparda surrenders but Karkâ's satrap holds out in the fortress of Halicarnassus with the Persian General Memnon. The fortress is blockaded and Alexander moves on to fight the Lycian mountain folk during the winter when they cannot take refuge in those mountains.

The campaigning season of 333 BC sees Darius III and Alexander miss each other on the plain of Cilicia and instead fight the Battle of Issos on the coast. Darius flees when the battle's outcome hangs in the balance, gifting the Greeks Khilakku and Cappadocia, although pockets of Persian resistance remain in parts of Anatolia.

323 - 319 BC


Index of Greek SatrapsIndex of Greek SatrapiesGreek satrap of Cilicia.

301 BC

Following the conclusion of the Fourth War of the Diadochi, Cilicia and Lycia both go to the brother of Cassander of Macedonia, Pleistarchus. He apparently loses Lycia very quickly to the Lysimachian empire.

The region around Cilicia eventually forms part of the wide swathe of lands under the control of the Armenians and later the Lesser Armenians.

301 - ? BC


Brother of Cassander of Macedonia. King of Cilicia & Lycia.

190 - 188 BC

Index of Greek SatrapsAntiochus III of the Seleucid empire and Rome fight each other at the Battle of Magnesia ad Sipylum in 190 BC. The Romans win a resounding victory, ending the Seleucid War. Anatolia (Asia Minor) is taken as a Roman province in 188 BC. The Seleucid ally, Cappadocia, negotiates friendly terms with Rome, notably because Stratonice, the king's daughter, is about to marry the king of Pergamum, a Roman ally. Lydia is probably lost to Pergamum at the same time, while Seleucid Lycia is awarded to Rhodes. Rome's enforced Treaty of Apamea in 188 BC has denuded the Seleucid empire of all of its Anatolian holdings bar Cilicia. It is reduced to Syria, Mesopotamia, and western Iran.

134 - 129 BC

Antiochus VII is the last Seleucid emperor of the east. After the death of the Arsacid King Mithradates I in 132 BC, Antiochus launches a campaign to recover lost Seleucid domains there. The campaign is initially successful, recapturing Media and Babylonia in 130 BC. Antiochus demands that the Parthians restore all Seleucid territories in Iran, so they defeat him in battle in 129 BC and he commits suicide later that year. His death ends Seleucid rule in Mesopotamia and Iran and limits them to Syria and Cilicia, plus Babylonia.

115 - 104 BC

Antiochus IX, a son of Cleopatra Thea and her marriage to Antiochus VII, attempts to seize the Seleucid throne. He revolts against his half-brother, occupying southern Syria and then Antioch, while Antiochus VIII retains Cilicia, although he is unable to prevent Cilician pirates from becoming increasingly powerful. In 104 BC, a Roman commander, Marcus Antonius, attacks the Cilician pirates while the Seleucid civil war peters out.

96 BC

In 96 BC (and not 92 BC as has previously been stated), Rome and Parthia meet on the Euphrates. The Parthian ambassador, Orobazos, offers Sulla, the propraetor of the province of Cilicia, the 'friendship' and 'alliance' of his master. Though the exact outcome of this meeting is unclear, the agreements with China and Rome prove Parthia's rise as a world power.

95 - 94 BC

Seleucus VI meets his uncle, Antiochus IX, in battle and defeats him, but the Seleucid empire remains divided with neither side able to deliver a knock-out blow. With Antiochus IX dead, his son, Antiochus X, continues to hold the southern part of the empire. At last, this time the civil war is ended when Seleucus VI is defeated (in 94/93 BC depending on precise dating), being burned to death in the gymnasium of the city of Mopsus in Cilicia.

66 - 65 BC

Even at this stage of their decline, the Seleucids cannot stop fighting one another. In 67/66 BC, supported by the population of Antioch and a local ruler from Cilicia, Philip II Philoromaeus expels his relative, Antiochus XIII, from Antioch, but Antiochus is restored in 66/65 BC.

39 BC


Son. Vassal king of Cilicia & Pontus to Mark Antony. Died 37 BC.

39 BC

Having made Darius a vassal king of Cilicia, Mark Antony moves him to Pontus in 39 BC and hands Cilicia to one Polemon I Pythodoros in thanks for services rendered to Rome by his father, Zenon. When Arsaces of Pontus dies in 37 BC, Pontus is added to Polemon's domains.

39 - 8 BC

Polemon I Pythodoros

Roman vassal king of Cilicia, Kolkis, & Pontus.

31 - 30 BC

With Octavian's defeat of Mark Antony at Actium and no other opponents to his hold on power, Egypt and Libya become provinces of Rome upon the death of Cleopatra in the following year. Octavian also recognises the authority of the turncoat Polemon I, confirming his governance of Cilicia, Kolkis, and Pontus.

13 or 12 BC

Polemon's marriage to Dynamis of the Bosporan kingdom is relatively brief. In either 13 or 12 BC he replaces her with Pythodoria of Pontus by whom he has two sons and a daughter. During this period he is also able to expand the borders of the Bosporan kingdom to the River Tanais (otherwise known as the Jaxartes/Iaxartes or Syr Darya, which traditionally forms the boundary between Sogdiana and Scythia). Upon the death of Polemon in 8 BC, Dynamis resumes command of her kingdom while his second wife retains Pontus and its holdings.

8 BC - AD 17

Pythodoria of Pontus

Wife. Queen of Cilicia, Kolkis, & Pontus.

AD 17

Archelaus of Cappadocia proves relatively popular with Rome but is less liked by the Cappadocians. For angering the Emperor Tiberius after favouring one of his rivals for the imperial diadem, Archelaus is summoned to Rome where he dies, possibly of natural causes (or suicide). Tributary Cappadocia now becomes a Roman province with Pythodoria of Pontus having to return to her own lands, while Armenia and Lesser Armenia are recombined and handed to the elder son of Polemon I, Artaxias III, who rules there as a client king. Cilicia is handed to Archelaus' own son to rule as another client king.

AD 17 - 38

Archelaus II / Archelaus Minor

Son of Archelaus of Cappadocia.


The junior Archelaus dies childless after a largely unremarked and unrecorded reign. Antiochus IV of Commagene is restored to his ancestral dominion as a Roman client king and is given Cilicia Trachaea and other Cilician territories.