Side and Pamphylia Region had hard times with formidable King Mitridates VI of Pontus. Roman consul Publius Servilius takes the control of Side. Side comes under the rule of Romans in 78 BC. During the time of Augustus it was connected to Galatia region, later it gained its independence back in 25 BC.
With its external affairs Side was dependent on Roma. There was times when it was connected to Galatia and Lycia while mostly it was independent with its internal affairs. In Roman period, Side as provincial capital had its second golden age. Pax Romano led to a bright period in Side. She became so rich in 2th and 3th century Most of the buildings were built at this time.
External threats continue
Towards the end of third century Side had again pirate attacks from the sea and was under pressure of a tribe coming from Taurus Mountains. Side could not stand these oppressions, sacrifices half of the city and draws back between port and defence walls. At this time defence walls were built in the city and named with its builder’s name as “Philippus Attius defence walls”.
During the time of Emperor Valerianus and Gallienus the decline of Side starts and Side gets into a chaotic period in the middle of 3th century. Persians enter from eastern border of the Romans and they attack the Roman territories and captures Emperor Valerianus. They moved inward Anatolia by plundering Anatolian cities.
Goths occupy Side in 269 AD. Side could manage to get through this occupation and renovated herself in a short time. Goths surround and damage some cities of Anatolia including side. They vandalised many places. Roma could not control Anatolia on the land and sea.
Rising of Side and Pamphylia
The value of money decreases and Roman monetary policy encounters major problems. After 268 AD external threats reduces in Anatolian cities but there was no changes in the economic situations. All cities decline but the cities in Pamphylia region developed in an exceptional way. Perge and Side were leading cities of Pamphylia. They had noticable change during the time of Emperor Valerianus and Gallienus.
This development carried on after 268 AD. In the golden age of Anatolia Perge and Side were in the second place among the popular Anatolian cities while they could not compete before with the cities like Pergamon, Smyrna, Ephesos, Sardes and Tarsus. In the third century Pamphylia cities developed and gained respect as never before. They had titles as neocorate (neokoros), Metrepolis and privileged cities.
Side was titled as neocorate three times during the time of Valerianus and Gallienus. This number reached up to 6 in Tacitus time. Certain cities would get this title. This title is given to the cities which came to a certain level and deserve to construct temples for the Emperors or they would establish cults for the members of imperial Family. Ephesus is the first city of 37 Anatolian cities which deserved the titled of neocorate (neokoros). Tacitus visits Perge in 276 AD gives the title of metropolis while titling Side as neocorate.
Perge had 4 neocorate titles in total and reached the title of Metropolis in Tacitus period. At the time Valerianus and Gallienus Side also titled as “Mystis(mystic) and Nauarchis (fleet base)”. Perge and Side were privileged to hold competitions by Emperors Gordianus,Valerianus, Gallienus and Tacitus.
Sculpturing had never been stopped until the second half of 3th century. There are many statues and inscriptions from this period. For economic change in Pamphylia copper coins of cities were increased. Between 192 and 253 AD Side minted money for important events of the empire like divine feasts festivals and competitions.
This comprehensive minting and demand for money led to the formation of an economic activity in Side. This new economic power is linked to Roman armies involved in the battle with Persians. In Nero’s time M.S. (54-68 ) Paul of Jesus’ apostles, visited Pamphylia many times in his travels to spread the Christianity.
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