Synnada (MAMA XI 178-200)

Synnada (modern Şuhut) was one of the most important cities of Phrygia in antiquity. Throughout the Roman imperial period, it served as conuentus-centre for a large district in central and eastern Phrygia, and seems to have been the centre of the procuratorial prouincia of Phrygia in the second and third centuries AD; from the fourth century, Synnada was the metropolis of the new province of Phrygia Salutaris. Unfortunately, the inscriptions of Synnada remain dispersed across a large number of different publications, nor is there a comprehensive catalogue of the city’s abundant late Hellenistic and imperial bronze coinage.1

In the early summer of 1955, Ballance recorded eleven inscriptions and a similar number of sculptural fragments and decorative architectural elements at Şuhut and neighbouring villages. Several of the monuments published here (MAMA XI 179, 183-187) are building inscriptions and memorial dedications of the fifth or sixth century AD. Inscriptions of this period, many of them memorial dedications, are relatively numerous in the plain of Şuhut, particularly at the villages of Bedeş (now Kayabelen), Anayurt (formerly Alayund), Ağzıkara and Şuhut itself. The most important text of this period is a funerary inscription of AD 571 for the wife of a certain Artemon Botaniates, clearly a distant ancestor of the eleventh-century emperor Nikephoros Botaniates, who was also a native of the Synnada region.2

The architectural elements published here largely derive from ecclesiastical buildings of the tenth or eleventh century (MAMA XI 190-197). Some light is thrown on middle-Byzantine Synnada by the correspondence of Leo, late tenth-century metropolitan of Synnada; an inscription dated to AD 1063/4 appears to record the construction of a building dedicated to a martyr John, and another inscription of the late eleventh century may mention the Synadenoi (one of the leading families of the region in the middle Byzantine period) and the Caesar John Doukas.3

List of monuments from Synnada


1. History: W. Ruge, RE IV (A2) cols. 1410-12; Robert, OMS VII, 41-70, 109-21; TIB Phrygien 393-5, s.v. Synada; Cohen 1995: 322-5. Phrygian prouincia: Thonemann 2011a: 113. Coinage: e.g. BMC Phrygia xcvii-ci, 392-406. Inscriptions: Legrand and Chamonard 1893: 279-89, nos. 78-95; IGR IV 697-711; Wilhelm 1911: 54-61; MAMA IV 49-112; MAMA VI 370-81; Drew-Bear and Sacco 2006/7.

2. Ramsay, Phrygia II 735, no. 665; MAMA IV 97-103, 106-7; MAMA XI 183-187.

3. Buckler 1931; MAMA IV 94; Feissel 1977: 158-9; Cheynet 1990: 217-8, 351-7. The name ‘Botaniates’ is presumably a quasi-ethnic from a toponym *Botane, although cf. Robert 1963: 141-2.

4. Leo: Vinson 1985. Inscriptions: MAMA IV 95-6 (Şuhut, Atlıhisar). Synadenoi: Hannick and Schmalzbauer 1976; Kazhdan 1987: 72-3; Stavrakos 2002.