The news has been announced about mid-July 2015. For years, all one could see here were two rows of columns running on each side of what seems to be the main street of the Roman city. Tourists had no access to the site and I hope this will change after said excavations have been carried out.
This year’s team will work on the restoration of the columns, most of which still have their Corinthian capitals, and investigate the continuation of the street as well as the Roman shops established alongside. Last year they unearthed a very active harbor, including part of the wall dating from the period between the first century BC and the first century AD.
Soli has my interest because it is one of those Cilician cities where Alexander installed a garrison in 333 BC after having demanded a fine of 200 talents of silver for supporting the Persians against him. This fine is quite a remarkable sum if one considers, for instance, that the yearly income of
in 431 BC was estimated at
1,000 talents. From Soli, Alexander
marched against the Cilicians holding the hills behind the city. Some were
driven off, others surrendered, and within a week he was back in Soli
– a short incursion it seems. Athens
It is here that Alexander received the long-awaited news that Halicarnassus had finally fallen! Ptolemy and Asander had stayed behind in 334 BC to besiege the city and to evict the Persian commander Orontobates. With the fall of Halicarnassus, the towns of Myndos, Caunos, Thera and Callipolis came in Macedonian hands, together with Cos and Triopium (Cape Crio in southwestern Turkey). This victory called for a celebration and Alexander is said to have offered sacrifices to Asclepius – no doubt to thank the god for his recovery from the fever he caught in
also held a ceremonial parade of his troops, followed by a torch race and games
with music and poetic contests as well as athletics. Tarsus
Whatever the situation, Soli was allowed to retain its own popular government. After the Battle of Issus in November 333 BC, Arrian tells us that Alexander cancelled the debt of fifty talents Soli still owed and returned their hostages. This kindness was reciprocated to Alexander when he was laying siege on
a year later and three ships from Soli joined the reinforcement fleet
of eighty Phoenician vessels and several others. Tyre
I doubt there will be much if anything left to testify from Alexander’s day since reference is generally made to the Roman and Byzantine occupation, with a faint hint towards the Seleucids who were Alexander’s successors in
The first to colonize the area were the Greeks from Rhodes in about 700 BC and they named the city Soli which eventually flourished especially when the Persians ruled
After Alexander, Soli gradually lost its
importance with the decline of the Seleucids in the first and second centuries
BC, but gained again in prosperity with the arrival of the Roman general Pompey. He took advantage of Soli’s
naval base while campaigning against the pirates who pillaged the cities of the
eastern Mediterranean. From those days onward,
the city was renamed Pompeiopolis in honor of their
leader and liberator. New defensive walls and several public buildings and
roads were built, and after Hadrian’s
visit and sponsoring in 130 AD the harbor was expanded. Pompeiopolis/Soli
successfully withstood the Persian attack of 260 AD and the city’s importance
kept on growing, even through the Byzantine period when it became a bishopric.
However, the powerful earthquake that hit the region in 525 AD completely
devastated the city that was abandoned.