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183-66 BCE


Ancient country of northeastern Anatolia (now Turkey) stretching down to the Black Sea, from Paphlagonia in the west to Armenia on the east, and the Anti-Taurus Mountains in the south.
The origin of the name is not clear, although there are traces from Greek. The original name was Pontus Euxinus, Pontus meaning "main [land]" and Euxinus was the name of modern Black Sea. This, as well as another short lived form "Cappadocia towards the Pontus", would be simplified into "Pontus," sometime in the 3rd century BCE. Most probably, Pontus was not originally a proper name, but came to be. During the reign of the last king, Mithradates 6 Eupator (11563 BCE), Pontus included not only large parts of Cappadocia but also much of the Bithynian coast, part of inland Paphlagonia and Lesser Armenia.
During the first period of Pontus as an independent kingdom, Amaseia (now Amasya) was the capital. From 183 Sinop became the capital.
The main influence on the societies of Pontus had come from Persia with its temple priests and Persianized feudal nobles which ruled over villages inhabited by a heterogeneous population. Greek culture would have some influence but mostly superficially.
It appears likely that the state wealth and the living standards of Pontus were only average compared to other contemporary countries.

7th century BCE: The land of Cappadocia is divided into two satrapies under the Persian Empire; Pontus emerges as the northernmost of the two.
Around 330: Following the Anatolian conquests of Alexander the Great, local powers disintegrates, allowing the local ruler Mithridates 1 Ctistes to establish an independent kingdom called Pontus.
Early 3rd century: Mithridates 2 conquers Paphlagonia and northern Cappadocia.
183: King Pharnaces 1 conquers Sinop and it becomes the capital of the Pontus.
1st century: The power of Pontus reaches a level where they are able to contest the advancing Roman forces in Anatolia. Mithradates 6 Eupator sends his troops into the lands close to the Roman controlled areas. The result was a disastrous conflict.
66: A final battle between Rome and Pontus, leads to Pontic defeat. Pontus is incorporated into the Roman Empire.
62: The eastern parts of Pontus is joined to Galatia.
4th century CE: All of Pontus becomes a separate province.

By Tore Kjeilen