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The Apsilae were an ancient tribe inhabiting the territory of Apsilia, in modern Abkhazia.[1][2]


The tribal territory was located on the Black Sea coast of the northwest Caucasus, between present day town of New Athos and the village of Tsebelda slightly east of modern day Sukhumi.[citation needed] It consisted of two historical regions - Gumae and Abzhywa. The most important cities were: Tusuml, Tzibile, Pustae, Zkibin, Skotar, Mokva.[citation needed] The capital was Sebastopolis.[3]


The Apsilae descended from the coastal part of the ancient Zygii tribes,[4] most notably the Trakhea, Tsibil and Tsakhar.[5] The name Apsilae suggests that they may have been the ancestors of the Abkhaz people (in Abkhaz Аҧсуаа Apswa) ref. Armenian language "Psinoun".

Their culture is known as the Tsebelda culture, marked by well-developed local manufacturing of metal products and tools.


The first known record of the Apsilae occurs in the writings of Pliny of the 1st century AD,[1] as well as of Flavius Arrianus in the 2nd century (Greek: Αψιλαι).[6] Under King Julian (Julianus) of Apsilia[7] rules and customs were first codified. The territory became an official division of the Roman Empire under Trajan (98-117).[8] It was absorbed by the surrounding, more powerful principality of the Abasgoi, in approximately 730 AD, and the Apsilae are no longer recorded after the second half of the 8th century.[2] Later, and after the inclusion of other territories and people including Misiminia, it became the Kingdom of Abkhazia.


  1. ^ a b "Апсилы". Bse.sci-lib.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  2. ^ a b Alexander Mikaberidze (6 February 2015). Historical Dictionary of Georgia. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 130–1. ISBN 978-1-4422-4146-6.
  3. ^ Greek geography (1854). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography: Abacaenum-Hytanis. Walton & Maberly. p. 163.
  4. ^ "Зихи". Bse.sci-lib.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  5. ^ George Hewitt, "The Abkhazians: Handbook", p. 1
  6. ^ Arrian; Thomas Falconer (1805). Arrian's Voyage Round the Euxine Sea: Translated and Accompanied with a Geographical Dissertation and Maps : to which are Added Three Discourses, I. On the Trade to the East Indies by Means of the Euxine Sea, II. On the Distance which the Ships of Antiquity Usually Sailed in Twenty-four Hours, III. On the Measure of the Olympic Stadium. J. Cooke. p. 9.
  7. ^ Bernard William Henderson (1927). Five Roman Emperors: Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, A.D. 69-117. CUP Archive. p. 318. GGKEY:W8KJWW8LD4P.
  8. ^ Julian Bennett (2 September 2003). Trajan: Optimus Princeps. Routledge. p. 345. ISBN 1-134-70913-7.