Hamaxia

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Definition

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published on 09 July 2012

Hamaxia was a settlement located in Western Cilicia in the area of modern Sinekkale in Turkey (Anatolia) about 6km from Coracesium. There is little literature about the site but the archaeology includes well-preserved evidence of a walled-in settlement with an arched gate on its South side and a three-naved church in its West. There is also a necropolis in the North-West.

Hamaxia is mentioned in Stadiasmus 208, and Strabo 14.5.3 describes it with the following words:

After Coracesium, one comes to Arsinoe, a city; then to Hamaxia, a settlement on a hill, with a harbor, where ship-building timber is brought down. Most of this timber is cedar; and it appears that this region beyond others abounds in cedar-wood for ships; and it was on this account that Antony assigned this region to Cleopatra, since it was suited to the building of her fleets.

Inscriptions indicate that Hamaxia only achieved a city status in the early third century BC. Even the few pieces of literature we do have mentioning Hamaxia appear confused. Strabo says that the city lies to the East of Coracesium while Stadiasmus says it lies to the West.

Hamaxia is situated on a high hill which is now heavily overgrown. The archaeology that remains includes ashlar masonry of the walls which is preserved in a large part and some remains of the interior of temples, one of Hermes, the other unknown. Two exedras have been located facing one another and the inscriptions are numerous. The inscriptions detail names mostly of an epichoric nature and a few with Roman personal names. According to Strabo there was also a port on the coast nearby where the timber for shipbuilding was brought, but this port is yet to be found if it exists.

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