ANCYRA (mod. Angora, q.v.), an ancient city of Galatia in Asia Minor, situated on a tributary of the Sangarius. Originally a large and prosperous Phrygian city on the Persian Royal Road, Ancyra became the centre of the Tectosages, one of the three Gaulish tribes that settled permanently in Galatia about 232 B.C. The barbarian occupation dislocated civilization, and the town sank to a mere village inhabited chiefly by the old native population who carried on the arts and crafts of peaceful life, while the Gauls devoted themselves to war and pastoral life (see GALATIA.) In 189 B.C. Ancyra was occupied by Cn. Manlius Vulso, who made it his headquarters in his operations against the tribe. In 63 B.C. Pompey placed it (together with the Tectosagan territory) under one chief, and it continued under native rule till it became the capital of the Roman province of Galatia in 25 B.C. By this time the population included Greeks, Jews, Romans and Romanized Gauls, but the town was not yet Hellenized, though Greek was spoken. Strabo (c. A.D. 19) calls it not a city, but a fortress, implying that it had none of the institutions of the Graeco-Roman city. Inscriptions and coins show that its civilization consisted of a layer of Roman ideas and customs superimposed on Celtic tribal characteristics, and that it is not until c. A.D. 150 that the true Hellenic spirit begins to appear. Christianity was introduced (from the N. or N.W.) perhaps as early as the 1st century, but there is no shred of evidence that the Ancyran Church (first mentioned A.D. 192) was founded by St Paul or that he ever visited northern Galatia. The real greatness of the town dates from the time when Constantinople became the metropolis of the Roman world: then its geographical situation raised it to a position of importance which it retained throughout the middle ages. See further ANGORA (1).
The modern town contains many remains of the Roman and Byzantine periods. The most important monument is the Augusteum, a temple of white marble erected to "Rome and Augustus" during the lifetime of that emperor by the common council or diet of the three Galatian tribes. The temple was afterwards converted into a church, and in the 16th century a fine mosque was built against its S. face. On the walls of the temple is engraved the famous Monumentum Ancyranum, a long inscription in Latin and Greek describing the Res gestae divi Augusti; the Latin portion being inscribed on the inner left-hand wall of the pronaos, the Greek on the outside wall of the naos (cella.) The inscription is a grave and majestic narrative of the public life and work of Augustus. The original was written by the emperor in his 76th year (A.D. 13-14) to be engraved on two bronze tablets placed in front of his mausoleum in Rome, and as a mark of respect to his memory a copy was inscribed on the temple walls by the council of the Galatians. Thus has been preserved an absolutely unique historical document of great importance, recounting (1) the numerous public offices and honours conferred on him, (2) his various benefactions to the state, to the plebs and to his soldiers, and (3) his military and administrative services to the empire.
BIBLIOGRAPHY.-C. Ritter, Erdkunde von Asien, vol. xviii. (1837- 1859); Hamilton, Researches in A. M. (1842); Texier, Descrip. de l'Asie Min. (1839-1849); Perrot, Explor. de la Galatie (1862): Humann and Puchstein, Reisen in Kleinasien (1890). For Mon. Ancyr., Mommsen, Res gestae divi Augusti (1883); and Inscr. graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes, iii. (1902). For coins, Brit. Museum Catal., Galatia (1899); Babelon-Reinach, Recueil general d, A. M. See also under GALATIA. (J. G. C. A.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)