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Map of Lycia showing significant ancient cities and some major mountains and rivers. Red dots are mountain peaks, white dots are ancient cities.
Map of Anatolia ancient regions

Milyas was the mountainous country in the north of ancient Lycia, the south of Pisidia, and a portion of eastern Phrygia.[1]

Variants of name

Jat Gotras Namesake


The boundaries of this country, however, were never properly fixed, and the whole of it is sometimes described as a part of Lycia.[2] After the accession of the dynasty of the Seleucidae in Syria, the name Milyas was limited to the south-western part of Pisidia, bordering upon Lycia, that is, the territory extending from Termessus northward to the foot of Mount Cadmus.[3]

This district, the western part of which bore the name of Cabalia, is afterwards described, sometimes as a part of Lycia (as by Ptolemy)[4] and sometimes as part of Pamphylia or Pisidia (as by Pliny the Elder).[5] After the conquest of Antiochus the Great, the Romans gave the country to Eumenes,[6] though Pisidian princes still continue to be mentioned as its rulers.

The greater part of Milyas was rugged and mountainous, but it also contained a few fertile plains.[7] The inhabitants were called Milyae (Μιλύαι).[8] This name, which does not occur in the Homeric poems, probably belonged to the remnants of the ancient Solymi, the original inhabitants of Lycia, who had been driven into the mountains by the immigrating Cretans. The host important towns in Milyas were Cibyra, Oenoanda, Balbura, and Bubon, which formed the Cibyratian tetrapolis. Some authors also mention a town of Milyas, which must have been situated north of Termessus in Pisidia.[9]


Arrian[10] tells us that Lycia was originally called Milyas; but the name was afterwards applied to the high table in the north of Lycia, extending into Pisidia. [11]

Ch 1.24 Alexander in Lycia and Pamphylia

Arrian[12] writes....Some of the Macedonians who served in Alexander's army had married just before he undertook the expedition. He thought that he ought not to treat these men with neglect, and therefore sent them back from Caria to spend the winter in Macedonia with their wives. He placed them under the command of Ptolemy, son of Seleucus, one of the royal body-guards, and of the two generals Coenus, son of Polemocrates, and Meleager, son of Neoptolemus, because they were also newly married. He gave these officers instructions to levy as many horse and foot soldiers as they could from the country, when they returned to him and brought back the men who had been sent away with them. By this act more than by any other Alexander acquired popularity among the Macedonians. He also sent Cleander, son of Polemocrates, to levy soldiers in Peloponnesus,[1] and Parmenio to Sardis, giving him the command of a regiment of the Cavalry Companions, the Thessalian cavalry, and the rest of the Grecian allies. He ordered him to take the wagons to Sardis and to advance from that place into Phrygia.

He himself marched towards Lycia and Pamphylia, in order to gain command of the coast-land, and by that means render the enemy's fleet useless. The first place on his route was Hyparna, a strong position, having a garrison of Grecian mercenaries; but he took it at the first assault, and allowed the Greeks to depart from the citadel under a truce. Then he invaded Lycia and brought over the Telmissians by capitulation; and crossing the river Xanthus, the cities of Pinara, Xanthus, Patara, and about thirty other smaller towns were surrendered to him.[2] Having accomplished this, though it was now the very depth of winter, he invaded the land called Milyas,[3] which is a part of Great Phrygia, but at that time paid tribute to Lycia, according to an arrangement made by the Great King. Hither came envoys from the Phaselites,[4] to treat for his friendship, and to crown him with a golden crown; and the majority of the maritime Lycians also sent heralds to him as ambassadors to treat for the same object. He ordered the Phaselites and Lycians to surrender their cities to those who were despatched by him to receive them; and they were all surrendered. He soon afterwards arrived himself at Phaselis, and helped the men of that city to capture a strong fort which had been constructed by the Pisidians to overawe the country; and sallying forth from which those barbarians used to inflict much damage upon the Phaselites who tilled the land.[5]

1. See Arrian, ii. 20 infra.

2. The Marmarians alone defended their city with desperate valour. They finally set fire to it, and escaped through the Macedonian camp to the mountains. See Diodorus (xvii. 28). As to Xanthus the river, see Homer (Iliad, ii. 877; vi. 172); Horace (Carm., iv. 6, 26).

3. Lycia was originally called Milyas; but the name was afterwards applied to the high table in the north of Lycia, extending into Pisidia. See Herodotus, i. 173.

4. Phaselis was a seaport of Lycia on the Gulf of Pamphylia. It is now called Tekrova.

5. He also crowned with garlands the statue of Theodectes the rhetorician, which the people of Phaselis, his native city, had erected to his memory. This man was a friend and pupil of Aristotle, the tutor of Alexander. See Plutarch (Life of Alex., 17); Aristotle (Nicom. Ethics, vii. 7).



  1. Strabo. xii. p. 573.
  2. Herodotus. i. 173; Arrian, Anab. i. 25.
  3. Polyb. v. 72; Strab. xii. p. 570, xiii. p. 631, xiv. p. 666.
  4. Ptol. v. 3. § 7, 5. § 6.
  5. Plin. v. 42; see also Ptol. v. 2. § 12.
  6. Polyb. Exc. de Leg. 36
  7. Strab. xii. p. 570.
  8. Herod. vii. 77 ; Strab. xiv. p. 667; Plin. v. 25, 42.
  9. Polyb. v. 72; Ptol. v. 2. § 12; Steph. B. s. v. Μιλύαι
  10. Anabasis of Alexander/1b,Ch.24
  11. See Herodotus, i. 173.
  12. Arrian:The Anabasis of Alexander/1b, Ch.24

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