Soli Pompeiopolis Ancient City

Soli Pompeiopolis Ancient City

The ancient city of Soli Pompeiopolis was founded by Greek settlers, originally from Rhodes, making it one of the earliest Greek colonies. The city flourished and became one of the largest in Asia Minor, with its own minted coins even during Persian rule.

Soli was initially under the control of Athens, but later came under the rule of Alexander the Great's troops during the Hellenistic period. The city prospered under the Seleucid dynasty, and notable residents included poet Aratus, who wrote Phaenomena, an introduction to constellation outlines and other important topics in astronomy. The philosopher Chrysippus, known for his 1st-century BC writings on Stoic philosophy, was also likely born in Soli.

Soli Pompeiopolis Ancient City

However, the decline of the Seleucid state led to increasing threats from Parthians and Arabs to the coast of Soli. In 83 BC, Antioch (Antakya) requested assistance from King Tigranes I of Armenia to save Syria and the surrounding coast. After Tigranes succeeded in his operation, Soli was plundered while in ruins, and most of its inhabitants were relocated to Eastern Anatolia.

The ancient city of Soli Pompeiopolis received a boost when a Roman general arrived in 68 BC, helping to revive the city. Pompey, who used Soli as a naval base during his campaign against pirates near Cilicia, pardoned many of them after he emerged victorious and settled them in the town. In recognition of his contributions, the city was renamed "Pompeiopolis."

The seaport was crucial to the growth of Pompeiopolis, providing economic stability to its residents. The city successfully defended itself against Persian invasions and became a bishopric during the Byzantine era. The port remained an important source of income for its citizens, providing governance and licensing for trade ships.

Unfortunately, Pompeiopolis was devastated by a powerful earthquake in 525 AD and never fully recovered. Over time, the area was ruled by various powers, including the Umayyad Caliphate, Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, the Crusaders, Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Ramanids, and ultimately, the Ottoman Empire.

Little remains of the once-important port city, but fortunately, 41 columns along the main road leading to the port still stand. Of these, 33 have their capitals intact, and the columns on the southern side have additional bases for the statues of Roman emperors and local dignitaries that once adorned them.