TIB 14: Western Asia Minor: Lydia and Asia
Western Asia Minor was already an important landscape in ancient times, enriched by numerous settlements with enormous cultural potential and considerable economic power. In this region, the Romans established their first province in Anatolia, in the year 129 BC. Consequently, they called the region Asia. Some centuries later, in the time of Emperor Diocletian (284–305), the huge province with a size of more than 150,000 square kilometers was divided into several smaller units, which continued to exist in the early Byzantine period. One of them was Lydia, about 16,000 square kilometers in size, with its central places in Sardis (Sart), Thyateira (Akhisar) and Philadelphia (Alaşehir). The most important rivers were Hermos (Gediz çay) and Cogamus (Alaşehir çay). The new province of Asia owns only 19,100 square kilometers; it was considerably smaller than the former Roman one. Among its central market places, one has to mention Ephesus (Selçuk), Pergamum (Bergama), Smyrna (İzmir) and Magnesia (Manisa); its main river is the Meander (Büyük Menderes Nehri). The project “Western Asia Minor” is dedicated to this core region of the Byzantine Empire, the mentioned landscapes will be analysed by interpreting written sources, toponyms, archaeological remains, and the physical state of the landscape. The picture will be completed by using the results of settlement theories, digital humanities and similar methods of research.