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25 May 23:09

Nysa on the Maeander

TR > Aydın Province > Sultanhisar

Nysa on the Maeander  was an ancient city and bishopric of Asia Minor (now Anatolia, Asian Turkey), whose remains are in the Sultanhisar district of Aydın Province of Turkey, 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of the Ionian city of Ephesus, and which remains a Latin Catholic titular see.

At one time it was reckoned as belonging Caria or Lydia, but under the Roman Empire it was within the province of Asia, which had Ephesus for capital, and the bishop of Nysa was thus a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Ephesus.

Nysa was situated on the southern slope of mount Messogis, on the north of the Maeander, and about midway between Tralles and Antioch on the Maeander. The mountain torrent Eudon,

a tributary of the Maeander, flowed through the middle of the town by a

deep ravine spanned by a bridge, connecting the two parts of the town. Tradition assigned the foundation of the place to three brothers, Athymbrus, Athymbradus, and Hydrelus, who emigrated from Sparta,

and founded three towns on the north of the Maeander; but in the course

of time Nysa absorbed them all; the Nysaeans, however, recognise more

especially Athymbrus as their founder.

In Greek mythology, Dionysus,

the god of wine was born or raised in Nysa or Nyssa, a name that was

consequently given to many towns in all parts of the world associated

with cultivation of grapes  The name "Nysa" is mentioned in Homer's Iliad

(Book 6.132-133), which refers to a hero named Lycurgus, "who once

drove the nursing mothers of wine-crazed Dionysus over the sacred

mountains of Nysa".

The town derived its name of Nysa from Nysa, one of the wives of Antiochus I Soter, who reigned from 281 to 261 BC and founded the city on the site of an earlier town called Athymbra,

a name that continued in use until the second half of the 3rd century

BC, but not in the earliest coinage of Nysa, which is of the next

century. According to Stephanus of Byzantium, the town also bore the name Pythopolis.

Nysa appears to have been distinguished for its cultivation of literature, for Strabo mentions several eminent philosophers and rhetoricians; and the geographer himself, when a youth, attended the lectures of Aristodemus, a disciple of Panaetius and grandson of the famous Posidonius, whose influence is manifest in Strabo's Geography]; another Aristodemus of Nysa, a cousin of the former, had been the instructor of Pompey.  Nysa was then a centre of study that specialized in Homeric literature and the interpretation of epics. Nysa was ruled by the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, the Roman Empire and its continuation, the Byzantine Empire and by the Turks, until its final abandonment after being sacked by Tamerlane in 1402.