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Cappadocia was an ancient country located in the central Anatolia ( present day Turkey).  Landscape of Cappadocia was formed from the hardened ash of volcanic eruption of Mount Erciyes (Argaeus). Wind and water erosion created a bizarre pyramid shaped rock formations out of this hardened volcanic tuff. Humans dug out  these rock formations into cave-like settlement places for inhabitation. Excavations at Köskhöyük, Asiklihöyük (Aksaray) and Civelek cave near Nevsehir shown some evidence of the human settlements in these areas during the Aceramic Neolithic Period.

Hattians were probably the first large scale settlers in this fertile land. They spoke Hattian which was neither an Indo-European nor a Semitic language. Mesopotamian  documents from the time Akkad dynasty around 2300 BCE mentioned this area as the "Land of Hattai". Indo-European people ( Nesians or Luwians) living near by this region  gradually merged into Hattai. They actually became the ruling class of Hattai population. The combined people are known to us as Hittites.  Hittites ushered iron age and went on to establish a large Kingdom in the central Anatolia around 1800 BCE.  After six hundred years, the Hittite kingdom collapsed around 1220 BCE from the internal revolts and external attacks by Phrygian people from the Balkans. Cimmerians invaded later and ended the Phrygian reign.  Medes occupied the area in 585 BCE. Persians took it  over from Medes and made it as a satrapy in 547 BCE. Cappadocia came from an  ancient Persian word  "Katpatuka"  means "Land of the well bred horses".

Alexander conquered it during his campaign in Asia.  Alexander installed one of his commanders Sabictus as the ruler of Cappadocia but the ruling classes of Cappadocia declared a Persian aristocrat named Ariarthes, as their king. Thus, Ariarthes I became the founder of the Cappadocian Kingdom.  However later Cappadocian Kings reigned as the sub kings under Selucid Dynasty.

 List of Cappadocia Kings

Ariarathes I   330-322 BCE
Ariarathes II   301-280 BCE
Ariaramnes 280-230 BCE
Ariarathes III   255-220 BCE
Ariarathes IV Eusebes  220-162 BCE
Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopater 163-130 BCE
Ariarathes VI  130-116 BCE
Ariarathes VII Philometor  116-100 BCE
Ariarathes VIII  101-100 BCE
Ariarathes  IX  101-87 BCE
Ariobarzanes I Philoromaios 95-62 BCE
Ariobarzanes II Philopator 62-54 BCE
Ariobar zanes III Eusebes Philoromaios 52-42 BCE
Ariarathes X  42-36 BCE
Archelaus 36 -17 BCE

Roman Emperor Tiberius conquered Cappadocia and placed it under Roman rule in 17 CE. During the reign of Emperor Septimus Severus, Cappadocia was attacked by Sassanid armies from Iran. In the division of Empire, Cappadocia came under the rule of eastern  Roman Empire. In the early 7th century Sassanids held the area for few years.  Caliph Ömer ended the domination of the Sassanids and the Arab Ommiades started their rule in 638 CE.  In the later period, it was part of Seljuk Empire (1075 - 1290 CE) and Ottoman Empire (1290 - 1922 CE).


Akurgal,  E. The Hattian and Hittite Civilizations.  Ministry of Culture, Turkey. 2001.


Ancient Country List


RK. April 18, 2002.