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Aezani

Was the most important city of northern Phrygia in Roman times. The well-preserved ruins of the site are dominated by the peripteral (colonnaded) Ionic temple of Zeus, dedicated under Domitian in ce 92. According to local legend Zeus was born in the Steunos cave which overlooked the river Pencalas near the city (the site has been identified and excavated). There were extensive sacred lands around the city, which were used to settle military colonists from the Attalid and Bithynian kingdoms. A long dispute over the revenues from this land was settled by Roman proconsuls of Asia in the 120s, and this appears to have unleashed a period of great prosperity in the 2nd cent. ce. During this time Aezani was transformed from a modest agricultural town (there are traces of late Hellenistic buildings and it may have been the minting centre for the people of Phrygia Epictetus) into an imperial architectural show-piece, with a theatre, a stadium, a large bath-house, several bridges across the river Pencalas which flowed through the city, and cemeteries full of elaborately decorated tombs. Aezani was an enthusiastic member of the Panhellenion at Athens, where its best-known citizen and civic benefactor, M. Ulpius Appuleius Eurycles, served as Panhellene ( ce 153–7). During this time it was also made one of the assize centres of the Asian province. The monuments and inscriptions suggest that its importance was much reduced in the late empire.

Bibliography

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