Kidyessos (MAMA XI 160-174)

West of Afyon, the upper Akar Çay (Kaystros) valley is today known as the Büyüksincanlı ovası (chief town Sinanpaşa/Sincanlı). This fertile plain has been little explored by modern scholars, and the fifteen monuments recorded by Ballance in 1956 (only one of them previously published) represent a threefold increase in the epigraphical corpus of the region. The sole ancient site in this plain was the polis of Kidyessos, which minted issues of bronze coinage under Domitian, during the Severan period and in the mid-third century.1

The inscriptions recorded by Ballance span a very long period. MAMA XI 162 (Bal Mahmut), the monumental Latin tombstone of an Italian immigrant family, is one of the earliest texts in the entire MAMA XI corpus (late first century BC or early first century AD). several votive texts and building inscriptions attest the prosperity of the region in the fifth and sixth centuries AD (MAMA XI 166-172), and a lavish templon epistyle of the tenth century provides fascinating evidence for a Phrygian regional consciousness in the middle Byzantine period (MAMA XI 173). One of the most important texts is the fragmentary milestone MAMA XI 161 (Bal Mahmut), which declares itself to be situated ‘one mile from Kidyessos’ (ἀπὸ Κιδυήσ̣[σου] μί(λιον) α΄). The location of Kidyessos has long been disputed. In 1887, Ramsay located the ancient site in the central part of the Büyüksincanlı ovası, at Küçükhüyük; more recently, Thomas Drew-Bear has proposed a site in the far south-west of the plain, at Hisar Tepe, near the modern village of Çayhisar.2 The new milestone makes it clear that Kidyessos must have been situated in the north-eastern part of the plain, not far from Bal Mahmut; the modern village of Bulca, 2km south-west of Bal Mahmut, is a plausible candidate.

List of monuments from Kidyessos


1. Ramsay 1887: 467-8; Legrand and Chamonard 1893: 273-4, nos. 67-70; Ramsay, Phrygia II 633-5 (his placement of Aristion in this plain is wholly conjectural), 662, nos. 622-7; Aulock 1980: 70-2, 127-32; TIB Phrygien 301, s.v. Kidyessos.

2. Ramsay 1887: 468; Drew-Bear, in Aulock 1980: 71, n.199a, followed by TIB Phrygien 301; Barrington Atlas Map 62 D4.