Cappadocia History and Civilizations

The Kingdom of Tabal (BC 900-680)

One of the Neo Hittite City States, the Kingdom of Tabal was established in Cappadocia region. The center of the kingdom was Tuvvana, close to Nigde Kemerhisar and its territories were covering today’s Kayseri, Nigde and Nevsehir. During Roman period, this region was named as Tyana. Among the Neo Hittite City States, the Kingdom of Tabal was the one which was situated in the very west.

Phrygians (750-676 BC)

While talking about the old nations of Cappadocia, it is important to mention the names of Mushkis and Phrygians. It is obvious that the dark period of Iron Era was ended by the Phrygians who were leading the first political recovery in Central Anatolia. The societies which formed the Phrygians were the hordes coming through Thrace to Anatolia in the years of 1200 BC. At the begining, these hordes settled down in Marmara Region and then, they started to move into Anatolia. Among these, there were Mushkis who were accepted as the ancestors or pioneers of Phrygians. The Mushkis, who were also mentioned in Assyrian texts, were living in migrotory way until they managed a political unification. The land of Mushkis within the territory of Cappadocia later on has been become the Kingdom of Tabal and it consisted of the region in north west and north east.

In the region, the Phrygians at first encountered with the locals and gained the identity of a nation and then with the period of King of Midas, they managed to create a political unity. Although they had the roots of Indo-European society, they effected a lot by the Neo Hittite culture. Of course the interaction was mutual. For example, the safety pin of Varpalavas, the King of Tabal, was a typical Phrygian fibula. The Phrygians, whose center was Gordion close to Polatli Ankara, were neighbour and coeval of Kingdom of Tabal, Neo Hittite City State and dominated Cappadocia. Today during the excavation in Cappadocia and mounds surrending, the foundlings belongs to Phrygians after the Hittite period shows us that they were able to span to Cappadocia. During the Phrygian period, Anatolia has been witnessing the emigration of Cimmerian and later on Iskit hordes, which was accepted one of the biggest invasion after the Aegean one. Starting from 700 BC, the Cimmerian were moving from Caucasians towards Anatolia and after overwearing Urartians, they gravitated to Central Anatolia. Therefore, the battle between Cimmerian and Phrygian were inevitable. After this war, the land of Phrygia was overwhelmed. Cimmerian pressure and attacks culminated in the suicide of its last king, Midas, (676 BC).

The domination of Medes and Persians in Anatolia

As the Phrygians fell down, Cimmerians immediately became neighbours of Lydia State (680-545 BC), who has chosen Sardes near Manisa as a capital city. The attacks and pressure of Cimmerian also caused the defections in Lydia State. But at that moment Cimmerians suddenly left Anatolia because of an unknown reason. After Cimmerians, the Medes and Persian periods started in Anatolia. Medes and Persians formed of hordes, emigrating to Iran through Caucasians at 1300 BC. At the beginning they had nomadic life but during the time, they managed a political unification and they created a great civilization where they were settled down.

Medes State, appeared on the scene of history around 700 BC. On 612 BC, Medes joined with Iskits and destroyed the most powerful political union of Asia Minor, the Assyrian Empire. On 585 BC, Medes went ahead Anatolia and finalized the hegemony gf Urartian State. After this success, Medes continued to span in Anatolia and settled down also in Cappadocia region. The Medes domination continued in Anatolia until 550 BC when, the Persians destroyed Medes and caused Medes’ worn off the history. Starting from this year, the Persians started to span in Anatolia and took the control of the region from east until the Kizilirmak and became the neighbour of Lydia. Under this circumstance, the battle of Lydia and Persian seemed very close. The Persian State won this battle and after 547 BC, they took the control of whole Anatolia. The domination of the Persians in Anatolia ended on 331 BC by the King of Macedonia, Alexander the Great, who won many battles against the Persians and caused the collapsed of Persian Empire.

During the Persian period in Anatolia (547-331 BC), Cappadocia, naturally was under control of the Persians. The Persians administrated Anatolia by ‘satrap’ which was kind of military governor. The center of Cappadocia Satrap was in Kayseri. The Persians build the famous ‘King Road’ which started from Ephesus, passed through Cappadocia and reached to Mesopotamia, at this period. The name of Cappadocia for the first time was mentioned in the Persian scripts of this period. In one of the scripts on a column built in the period of the Persian King Dareios I, who was in the government between 522 and 486 BC, mentioned the word Katpatuka’. This word means Cappadocia in Persian language. One may say that the word Katpatuka in Persian language means ‘beautiful horse land’ but of course there are many different approaches on the roots and the meaning of the word.

The Kingdom of Cappadocia (332BC-17AC)

The King of Macedonia, Alexander the Great, did not come across strong resistance in Anatolia during his famous Asia expedition on 331 BC, which conduced the end of Persian domination. Only the Persian Satrap of Cappadocia resisted to Alexander. The King took the possession of South west part of Cappadocia and continued his expedition. After Alexander’s departure, on 332 BC Ariarates, one of the supporters of Persians, took the control as a semi independent king of Cappadocia. Ariarates continued his kingship of Cappadocia until 333 BC, when Alexander the Great suddenly died because of tropical malaria. After the death of Alexander, Perdiccas took the control and in order to add Cappadocia to the Empire, he killed Ariarates by a glory. However, the conflict between the two sides never ended. At the end of the conflicts, the supporter of the Persians became strong and starting from 280 BC the Kingdom of Cappadocia became a settled down power in the region. Later on, fora long time the Kingdom of Cappadocia had to fight against the ones who wanted to take the control of the region. After the battles against Galats (Celts), Macedonians, Pontus and Romans, the Kingdom lost power and at first had to recognize the domination of Pontus and then the domination of Romans. On 17 AC, the Kingdom of Cappadocia became one of the provinces of Romans in Anatolia.

The Roman Period in Cappadocia (17-395 AC)

The Cappadocia, which became one of the provinces of Roman Empire on 17, during Tiberius period, layed over a wide region, surrounded by Samsun on North, Adana on South, Salt Lake on west, Firat River on East. The region reduced the circumstances because of the long war period. The region was tried to be arouse by reducing the taxes as well as building roads and utilities such as roads between Galatian and Cappadocia and the connections of Nevsehir to West.

During the Roman period, there are three main centers in Cappadocia. These are Kayseri (Casearea), Kemerhisar (Tyana) and Avanos (Venessa). We know that during the Roman period, the Sassanids of Iran (226-651) attacked the Cappadocia region. Moreover, Kayseri was under control of Sassanids for a short period. The Roman Emperor Gordianus III, built up city wall around Kayseri in order to prevent the Sassanid invasions. This city wall was strengthened in later centuries on Byzantian and Islamic period. The other threat for the region at the same period was the Goths who entered Anatolia through Thrace. The Romans became very weak because of the internal and external conflicts and on 395 the Empire divided into two, East and West.

Pervasion of Christianity in Anatolia

During the Roman Empire period, the Christianity, spreading among the Jewish society in Palestine, confronted with the authoritarian attitude of Roman governorship which apotheosized the institutions of empire. In this period, Christianity was sprawling fast and diversified because of the different interpretations. The ones who were against of this diversification prepared the bases of Orthodox thought. During these years, while the first Chritians were suffering, alio loco Basileos (Basileos, Basil, Basileios) the Archbishop of Kayseri (329-379), was laying down the foundation of Orthodoxism in Cappadocia. In the history of Christianity, monastery life style has started in Egypt at the end of 3rd century and the beginning of 4th century, and then generalized in Palestine and Syria immediately. Basileos during his stay

in Egypt and Syria, followed this development closely. Therefore, the similiar style’s starting in Cappadocia during Basileos period cannot be a coincidence. These years were the ones, which the Christians who wanted to continue their prays in a peaceful atmosphere drawed away in the rocky areas of Cappadocia and built up monastries and churches into the rocks. Goreme area is one of the first settlement areas. In one of the text which read the life of Basileos, Goreme is mentioned for the first time as ‘Korama’.

The three important Saint of Cappadocia are Basileos ofKayseri, his brother Gregorios of Nevsehir (bishop of Nyssa) and Gregorios of Nazianzos. They were the founders of monastery life style in Cappadocia. The Bekarlar Village ofAksaray today is thought to be Nazianzos. The Mosque-Church in Guzelyurt, was built in the name of this Saint. The majority of the Cappadocia region accepted Christianity before the Roman Empire because of these three Saints and their studies in the region. The first Christians established a life style which based on the cooperation. In this period, Christianity seemed as a religion for the poors. Later on the philosophy of cooperation started to fall off. During the period of Roman Emperor Julianus Apostata (361-363), there were many oppressions on the people in order to bend the effectiveness of Basileos. The Emperor Diokletianus divided the province into two; North and South (372) in order to narrow the effect of him as well. But within the Romans Christianity was embraced quickly.

During the Theodosius period (379-395) the Christianity became the official religion of the state and polythesim was forbidden.

The Byzantine Empire Period (395-1453)

After the division of Roman Empire into two on 395, Cappadocia region stayed within the territory of East Roman Empire whose capital was Istanbul (Constantinopolis). The first years of Byzantines passed full of with conflicts occured because of religion and religious sects. During that period Sassanids were situated at the east border of Byzantines. The Sassanids who was ruling regions including Iran and Irak between 226 and 651, had conflicts first with Romans and then the Byzantines. On 608, the Crown of Sassanids Husrev II, attacked Byzantines and captured Kayseri.. Kayseri stayed under control of Sassanids until 611. The Sassanids lost Kayseri and expiled on 611 but on 626 they re¬captured Kayseri and continued their moving along.

‘Four Caliphs Period’ of Islamic history was the end of the Sassanids. It was collapsed on 651 during the period of Osman. Sassanids’ falling down, meant Byzantines that one of the important enemies disappeared. But Arabic originated Umayyads, centralized in Sam (661-750) and then Abbasids (750-1258) immediately became the important enemies of Byzantines. The Umayyads attacked Cappadocia region on 709 and captured the city of Tyana. The attacks continued until 713 and almost the whole Cappadocia was under the control of Arabs. On 726 Kayseri was under attacked of Arabs once more. The Christians of the region started to draw back to the underground cities

and caves in order to protect themselves from Arab invasions as well as to be able to pray freely. After this period the number of Cave Churches increased quite a lot. On 726, the Byzantine Emperor Leon III, somehow managed to expile Arabs from Kayseri and add the region till Malatya back to Byzantine territories. The same Emperor forbit the icons and paintings of the churches. This period was between the years of 726 and 843 and lasted for 117 years and it is called as ‘Iconoclasm‘, which is the deliberate destruction. On 843, the Empress Theodore liberated the icons again. The reasons behind this prohibitations were to reduce the impact of priests on the government and to get rid of the dedication for the icons like worshiping. Islam can be accepted as an other reason for this prohibition. During this Iconoclasm period there happened many conflicts. As the supporters of Iconoclasm got stronger in Byzantine, the supporter of the cross current hided themselves in the rocky area of Cappadocia region and built up churches with icons freely. That helped the acceleration of the cave churches in Cappadocia. In this period only around Goreme, there built up 400 churches. Byzantine was under attack of Arabs during the Abbasi period as well. Even, at that period, Byzantine tried to protect its territories from invasion by paying taxes to Abbasi State. But since Byzantine did not pay the tax, the Abbasian Caliph Harun Resid (786-809), occupied Tyana. During the time, Arab oppression in the region got looser and looser.

The Seljuks (1040-1318) The Great Seljuk Empire (1040-1157), established by Turks, domiciled around Iran and was the Eastern neighbour of Byzantine. Later one, Seljuk Empire accepted Islam. After that date, the spreading of Turks in Anatolia can be seen. Because of that the states who accepted each other as a barrier, encountered. After the victory of Alparslan the Sultan of Seljuk Empire against Romanos Diogenes, the Emperor of Byzantine, in Battle of Malazgirt; Byzantine lost power in the region and therefore the doors of Anatolia were open to the other Turk societies. The Sultan Alpaslan authorized his Turcoman generals to carve their own principalities out of formerly Byzantine Anatolia, as atabegs loyal to him. One of them was Danishmendis in central and North Anatolia (1086-1178). The Danishmendis together with Anatolian Seljuks fight against Crusaders. But as a contradiction, the atabeg was ruined by Anatolian Seljuks. The work of art Danishmendis are exhibited in Cappadocia, especially in Kayseri. During the period of Great Seljuk Empire, Suleyman Shah was nominated to conquer Anatolia; he got many successes and conquered the great portion of Anatolia in a short time. He declared that Anatolian Seljuk State (1078-1318) was established, centralized Iznik. On 1157, Sultan Sencer was died and the empire was almost collapsed; this moment Seljuks were gathered under Anatolian Seljuk State. During that period, the Mongoloids, dominating the Iran region, was drawing attention as an invader power in Anatolia. The defeat of Kosedag Battle against Mongoloids on 1243 and especially after 1277 the Mongoloids domination was seen in Anatolia. Because of all these, on 1318, Anatolian Seljuk State completely destroyed. During Anatolian Seljuk period, many important buildings such as mosques, madrasahs, cupolas, inns and caravansaries were built up.

The Mongoloids are in Cappadocia (1318-1398)

After the falling down of Anatolian Seljuk State, the Turkcoman beyliks countiuned their existance in Anatolia. Among them there was Kayi Beylik which would be the founder of Ottoman Empire in the future. During this period, the Mongoloids influence was continuing in Anatolia. On 1318, the Mongoloids assigned Timurtas as a governor to Anatolia. During his period, the capital city moved to Kayseri from Sivas. Timurtas, who gained power in the region, afterwards declared his independence. On 1327, after Timurtas’ death, there occured an authority gap and one of his follower Eretna Bey filled this gap and on 1343 he declared his independence and dominate the region. Eretna Bey, who is originated from Uyghur Turks, by dominating the whole Central Anatolia, defined first Sivas and then Kayseri as a center. The Beylik of Eretna on 1381, after the first interial conflicts, demolished by Kadi Burhanettin who was promoted to vizierate from Kadi of Kayseri. The period of 1381-1398 was known as Kadi Burhanettin period in the region. Kadi Burhanettin was killed on 1398 by Akkoyunlus.

The Karamanogullan who managed to get the control of Nevsehir on 1365 during the internal conflict of Eretna Beylik, conquered the whole region by taking the advantage of Kadi Burhanettin’s murder.

The Karamanogullan (1256-1483)

The Karamanogullan, dominating the South of Central Anatolia was Turkcomans. They were originated from Oghuz Clan’s Avsar Tribe and they accepted Turkish as an official language and forbit the usage of Persian in scriptures. One of the most important competitors of Karamanogullan in Anatolia was Ottoman Beylik who had a new identity after 1299. The Karamanogullan who were mostly dominating Konya region, tried to reach to Cappadocia during the time.

The Ottomans’ Sultan Yildinm Beyazit organized an expedition against Karamanogullan who got the region after the death of Kadi Burhanettin and on the same year the Ottomans seized the region and dominated it between 1398 and 1402. At the same time, the Mongol Empire, established a great civilization around Central Asia, Iran and Mesopotamia, entered to Anatolia with the troops of Timur. They managed to got Sivas and began to move towards West through Kayseri. On 1402, the troops of Timur won the Battle of Ankara against the Ottomans and there occured again Mongoloid domination in the region. But they left the administration of the lands to Turk Beyliks who have been settled down in the region before. Thereby, the region became under control of Karamanodullan once again (1402-1436). The Karamanogullan has been erased from the scene of the history by Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet II, the Conqurer, on 1483. The work$. of art in the region, remained from the Karamanogullan are interesting in the sense of usage of plaster and ceramic tile.

The other Turcoman Beylik was Dulkadirogullan who was effective in the area of Maras and Malatya (1337-1522). During the hegemony wars between the Ottomans and Memluks and Karamanogullan on the east, DulkadiroQullan was kind of buffer zone. The Ottoman Sultan, Murad II, the Conquerer, on 1463 had a cooperation with Dulkadirogullan in order to end the domination of Karamanogullan in the region. After this cooperation, Kayseri and its surroundings were left to the control of Dulka’diro^ullari. The efficiency of Dulkadirogullan in the region continued between 1436 and 1515. On 1522, the Dulkadirogullan Beylik was demolished by the Ottomans.

The Ottoman Empire (1299-1923)

On 1453, the Ottomans terminated the Byzantines by conquering Istanbul and because of the conquer movement in a short period, the Ottomans showed a great develop and owned a larger geography. Since the Cappadocia region is situated in the mid lands of the Ottoman Empire, it has not witnessed any battles. Addition to that, during the years, one of the grandviziers, from Nevsehir Damat Ibrahim Pasha has tried to enable the developments in Nevsehir; Karavezir Mehmet Seyyid Pasha has shown efforts to develop Gulsehir and Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha endeavoured a lot for the development of Incesu. After the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was defeated and lost most of its lands. During that era, many regions of Anatolia was occupied by prevailing countries. The Sultan and his followers were thinking about leaving the country under the hegomonia of prevailing countries but on the contrary to this thought, Anatolian community gathered under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and started Independence War against occupying countries. The Independence War was ended on 1923 with the victory of Anatolia. Today, Turkish Republic whose territories was created on 1923 by Lozan Treaty tries to protect and keep the peace in land. , The ancient name of Nevsehir is mentioned as ‘Nyssa’ (Nysa) in various centers however the territory of the ancient city Nyssa has not been defined clearly yet. Some of the researchers believe in that Nyssa was situated in Nar borough which is nearby Nevsehir. On the other hand, some researches say that as it was mentioned in Ramsay, Nevsehir was established on to ancient city ‘Soandos’ or very close to Soandos. We leave these arguments dispense with time and let’s have look to Muskara.

Muskara was the name of today’s Nevsehir in Ottoman times. Muskara, which was the birthplace of Damat Ibrahim Pasha, a symbol oftheLale Era, first started as a village of Urgup (which was a borough of Niijde) then became a district of Nigde and finally in 1954 became a province. In 1725 under his order, the name of Muskara, which was a village of Urgup, was changed to Nevsehir meaning new city. This was followed by some administrative changes resulting in the chairman of Urgup being assigned to Nevsehir and the appointment of Nevsehir as centre of a borough. At the same time Urgup’s bazaar was moved to Nevsehir and taxation was lifted which made life in Nevsehir more attractive. By taking many precautions against migration to Istanbul, Damat Ibrahim Pasha helped the local population grow. A busy construction of bridges, inns, Turkish baths, madrasahs (schools for general and theological education) and mosques followed. Amongst these structures, Damat Ibrahim Pasha Mosque Complex is surely the best known.

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