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Heraclea Pontica (modern day Karadeniz Ereğli, in the Zonguldak Province of Turkey, on the Black Sea), an ancient city on the coast of Bithynia in Asia Minor, in the country of the Mariandyni, was a colony of Megara, in conjunction with Tanagraeans from Boeotia. (Pausanias, 5.26.7; Justin, 16.3) Strabo (Strabo, 12.3.4) erroneously calls the town a colony of Miletus.

Heraclea was situated a few miles to the north of the river Lycus, and had two excellent harbours, the smaller of which was made artificially. (Xenophon, Anabasis 6.2.1; Diododorus, 14.31.3; Arrian, Periplus, p. 15; Memnon, 34.7, 39.3, p. 52.) Owing to its excellent situation, the town soon rose to a high degree of prosperity, and not only reduced the Mariandyni to subjection, but acquired the supremacy of several other Greek towns in its neighbourhood; so that, at the time of its highest prosperity, it ruled over the whole territory extending from the Sangarius in the west to the Parthenius in the east.

Tyrants[edit]

A protracted struggle between the aristocracy and the demos (Aristotle, Politcs 5.5) at last obliged the inhabitants to submit to a tyrannis. In the reign of Dionysius (c. 338–c.305 BC), one of these tyrants, who was married to a relation of Darius Codomannus, Heracleia reached the zenith of its prosperity. But this state of things did not last long; for the rising power of the Bithynian princes, who tried to reduce that prosperous maritime city, and the arrival of the Galatians in Asia, who were instigated by the kings of Bithynia against Heraclea, deprived the town gradually of a considerable part of its territory. Still, however, it continued to maintain a very prominent place among the Greek colonies in those parts, until, in the war of the Romans against Mithridates, it received its death blow; for Marcus Aurelius Cotta plundered and partly destroyed the town (Memnon, c. 54). It was afterwards indeed restored, but remained a town of no importance ("oppidum", Plin. vi. 1; comp. Strab. xii. p. 543; Scylax, p. 34; Ptol. v. 1. § 7; Marcian. pp. 70, 73; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. ii. 748, ad Nicand. Alex. 13; Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 791).


  • Amastris ruled: c. 306–c. 2
  • Clearchus and Oxathres (sons of Dionysus and Amastris) ruled

Under Lysimachus[edit]

Modern times[edit]

The prosperity of the city, rudely shaken by the Galatians and the Bithynians, was utterly destroyed in the Mithridatic Wars. It was the birthplace of Heraclides Ponticus and his disciple Dionysius Metathemenus.

For the history of this important colony see Justin, xvi. 3--5; Polsberw, de Rebus Heracleae, Brandenburg, 1833, 8vo. (Niebuhr, Lect. on Anc. Hist. iii. pp. 113, fol.)

In the early twentieth century the town was best known for its lignite coal-mines, from which Istanbul received a good part of its supply.


Notes[edit]

References[edit]

From Smith[edit]

"Surnamed Pontica on the coast of Phrygia, in the country of the Mariandyni, was a colony of the Megarians, in conjunction with Tanagraeans from Boeotia. (Pausanias, 5.26.7; Justin, 16.3) Strabo (Strabo, 12.3.4) erroneously calls the town a colony of Miletus.

"It was situated a few miles to the north of the river Lycus, and had two excellent harbours, the smaller of which was made artificially. (Xen. Anab. vi. 2. 1; Diod. xiv. 31; Arrian, Peripl. p. 15; Memnon, p. 52.) Owing to its excellent situation, the town soon rose to a high degree of prosperity, and not only reduced the Mariandyni to subjection, but acquired the supremacy of several other Greek towns in its neighbourhood; so that, at the time of its highest prosperity, it ruled over the whole territory extending from the Sangarius in the west to the Parthenius in the east.

"A protracted struggle between the aristocracy and the demos (Aristot. Polit. v. 5) at last obliged the inhabitants to submit to a tyrannis. In the reign of Dionysius, one of these tyrants, who was married to a relation of Darius Codomannus, Heracleia reached the zenith of its prosperity. But this state of things did not last long; for the rising power of the Bithynian princes, who tried to reduce that prosperous maritime city, and the arrival of the Galatians in Asia, who were instigated by the kings of Bithynia against Heracleia, deprived the town gradually of a considerable part of its territory. Still, however, it continued to maintain a very prominent place among the Greek colonies in those parts, until, in the war of the Romans against Mithridates, it received its death blow; for Aurelius Cotta plundered and partly destroyed the town (Memnon, c. 54). It was afterwards indeed restored, but remained a town of no importance ("oppidum", Plin. vi. 1; comp. Strab. xii. p. 543; Scylax, p. 34; Ptol. v. 1. § 7; Marcian. pp. 70, 73; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. ii. 748, ad Nicand. Alex. 13; Eustath. ad Dionys. Per. 791). [p. 1050] Heracleia, which was the birthplace of Heraclides Ponticus and his disciple Dionysius Metathemenus, still exists under the name of Herakie or Erekli. For the history of this important colony see Justin, xvi. 3--5; Polsberw, de Rebus Heracleae, Brandenburg, 1833, 8vo. (Niebuhr, Lect. on Anc. Hist. iii. pp. 113, fol.)