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Satala Aphrodite as displayed in the British Museum

Located in Turkey, the city of Satala (Classical Armenian: Սատաղ Satał), according to the ancient geographers, was situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, a little north of the Euphrates, where the road from Trapezus to Samosata crossed the boundary of the Roman Empire. Later it was connected with Nicopolis by two highways.

This site must have been occupied as early as the annexation of Lesser Armenia under Vespasian. Trajan visited it in 115 and received the homage of the princes of the Caucasus and the Euxine. It was he doubtless who established there the Legio XV Apollinaris and began the construction of the great castra stativa (permanent camp) which it was to occupy till the 5th century. The town must have sprung up around this camp; in the time of Ptolemy it was already important. In 530 the Persians were defeated under its walls. Justinian I constructed more powerful fortifications there, but these did not prevent Satala from being captured in 607-8 by the Persians.

Satala is now Sadak, a village of 500 inhabitants, in the vilayet of Gümüşhane (see Gümüşhane Province) as part of Kelkit district. The remains of the camp still exist strewn with fragments of brick bearing the stamp of the legion; there are also the ruins of an aqueduct, of an amphitheatre and of Justinian's citadel; some Latin and Greek inscriptions, the latter Christian, have been discovered.

The Christians were numerous in the time of Diocletian. Le Quien, Oriens Christianus, I, 431, mentions seven of its bishops:

  • Evethius, at Nicaea, 325
  • Elfridius, 360
  • Poemenius, about 378
  • Anatolius, 451
  • Epiphanius, 458
  • Gregory, 692
  • Philip, 879.

The see is mentioned in the Notitiae episcopatuum until the thirteenth century, and we know the name of the bishop, Cosmas, in 1256.

The famous Aphrodite or Anahit of Satala was found in a field outside Sadak in the late nineteenth century. It is now in the British Museum.[1]

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Satala". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

Coordinates: 40°03′00″N 39°36′00″E / 40.050°N 39.600°E / 40.050; 39.600


  1. ^ British Museum Collection[1]