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Bithynia (pink) surrounded by Diadochian states around 250 BC. Chr.
Asia Minor in Antiquity
Roman province of Bithynia 90 BC Chr.
Roman province of Bithynia 74 BC Chr.
Bithynia 840 AD

Bithynia ( ancient Greek Βιθυνία Bithynia ) was first an ancient landscape , later a kingdom , then a Roman province in northwestern Asia Minor . The Thracian tribe of the Thynen settled in Bithynia .


Bithynia is bounded to the west and north by the Sea of ​​Marmara and the Pontus Euxinus , to the south by the Olympos at about 40 ° N. Br. To the east, the Parthenius separates it from Paphlagonia ; in the south the adjoining landscapes are Galatia , Phrygia and Mysia .

The country is characterized by wooded mountains in the east and south (except for the Olympos near Bursa , the Orminios , now Işik Dağ , in the east); the lower western half, intersected by fertile valleys, contains some large land lakes, such as the Askanian Sea near Nikea and the Artynian Sea , on which Apollonia lies.

Here in the west two gulfs cut deep into the mainland: that of Astakos (near today's İzmit ) and that of Kios . The largest river is the Sangarios ; also the Billäos (now Filias ) in the eastern half.



The political formation of Bithynia took place around 430 BC. Under Doidalses , who founded a dynasty family. The country was able to maintain its independence against the Persian satraps .

The Bithynian dynast Bas 333/28 BC was able to name the satrap of Alexander the Great , Kalas . Fend off. Antigonos Monophthalmos stopped the expansion efforts of his son and successor Zipoites ' towards the Greek cities of this area. Zipoites held hostages and seems to have been allied with Antigonus, how strong the dependence on him was is disputed in scholarship. In the following years Zipoites was able to assert himself against Lysimachus and two of his generals. He probably took a victory over this in the autumn of 297 BC. As an occasion to accept the title of king. Zipoites died shortly after the Battle of Kurupedion (281 BC). His son and successor Nicomedes I continued his father's policy of adapting to the prevailing political climate and striving for territorial gains. He fought successfully against Antiochus I Soter , allied himself in 277 BC. With the Galatians and expanded his empire by conquering the northeastern part of Phrygia . 264 BC BC he founded the capital Nicomedia .

Under Prusias I , Bithynia reached its greatest extent and took 184 BC. On the fugitive Hannibal , whom it could not protect against the Romans . The last king, Nicomedes IV , was by Mithridates VI. Driven twice by Pontus , but newly used by the Romans. At his death in 74 BC He bequeathed his empire to the Romans, who also claimed it against Mithridates under Lucius Licinius Lucullus .

Roman province

Bithynia becomes a Roman province , the capital remains Nicomedia, and initially forms a customs district with the province of Asia . 64 BC The double province of Bithynia et Pontus is established.

Bithynia is from 27 BC. Until under Marc Aurel it was almost continuously a senatorial province . The province is imperial several times under Claudius and Nero . Even when Pliny the Younger is here 109–111 under Trajan's legate , it is apparently under direct imperial administration. The correspondence between Pliny and his emperor is an important source for the administrative history of Rome in general and for Bithynia in particular. The letter in which Pliny asks how to deal with Christianity, which spreads like a disease in Bithynia, achieved extraordinary fame: “The plague of this evil superstition has spread not only over the cities but also over the villages and the flat countryside. “(Pliny ep. 10,96,9). Already from the cover letter of the 1st Peter letter ("Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, the strangers in the dispersion in Pontus [...] and Bithynia [...]") one can deduce that the apostle was present in the 1940s want, but which cannot be proven historically.

During the provincial reform of Emperor Diocletian in 295, it was divided into the provinces of Bithynia, Paphlagonia and Diospontus .

As a result, Bithynia was no longer an administrative unit in the Byzantine Empire and was assigned to the subject of Opsikion during the provincial reform in the 7th century , later divided again between this and the subject Optimatoi .


From 1074-1097 the land was owned by the Seljuks until the Knights of the First Crusade recaptured the land for the Byzantine Empire . During the period of the Latin Empire in Constantinople (1204–1261), Nicaea in Bithynia was the seat of the Greek emperor. After 1298, the Ottoman Sultan Osman I undertook several raids into Bithynia. His victory over a Byzantine force at the Battle of Bapheus (1302) ushered in the Ottoman conquest of this region. In 1326, the conquered Prusa ( Bursa ) finally became the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

List of rulers of Bithynia



Roman time

Selected Roman proconsuls , procurators and legates (the two-year term of office assumed in this list is only proven in a few individual cases):

year proconsul Procurator Leg. aug.
61-59 BC Chr. C. Papirius Carbo
58-57 BC Chr. NN.
56/55 BC Chr. C. Caecilius Cornutus
49/48 BC Chr. A. Plautius
47 BC Chr. C. Vibius Pansa Caetronianus
46-28 BC Chr. NN.
27 BC Chr. BITHYNIA Senatorial Province
16-13 BC Chr. C. Marcius Censorinus
29/8 BC Or 28/7 BC Chr. Thorius Flaccus (before 15)
? Ap. Claudius Pulcher (before 15)
? L. Licinius (before 15)
14-15 M. Granius Marcellus
15-17? L. Vedius Lepidus
18/19 P. Vitellius
20-41 NN (gap)
41-43 ? L. Min (i) dius Pollio
43-45 ? L. Min (i) dius Balbus (between 42 and 47)
45-47 ? L. Dunius Severus
47-49 C. Cadius Rufus (49 convicted of extortion)
49-51 P. Pasidienus Firmus (after 47/48) Junius C (h) ilo I.
51-53 ? Iunius C (h) ilo II
53-55 ? Junius C (h) ilo III? (condemned for corruption)
55-57? ? Ti.Attius Laco (between 54 and 59)
57-59 T. Petronius  ? (exemplary management) C. Julius Aquila
59-61 M. Tarquitius Priscus (61 convicted of extortion)
61-63 ? L. Montanus (between 54 and 69)
63-65 ?
65-67 ?
67-69 ?
approx. 70-71 M. camelopardalis varus
approx. 71-72 M. Maecius Rufus
approx. 72-75 ?
approx. 75-76 M. Salvidenus Asprenas
approx. 76-77 M. Salvidienus Proculus
approx. 77-79 ? M. Plancius Varus (under Vespasian)
approx. 79-80 Velius Paulus
approx. 80-82 ?
approx. 82-83 ? M. Minicius Rufus (between 81 and 96)
approx. 83-84 A. Bucius Lappius Maximus (between 81 and 96)
approx. 84-85 Ti.Iulius Celsus Polemaeanus (between 81 and 96)
approx. 85-89 ?
approx. 89-90 L. Iulius Marinus (between 81 and 96)
approx. 90-96 ?
96-97 Tullius Iustus
97-100 ?
approx. 100-101 C. Iulius Bassus
101-105 ?
approx. 105-106 Varenus Rufus
106-108 ?
approx. 108-109 P. Servilius Calvus
107-109 ?
approx. 109-111 Maximus C. Pliny Caecilius Secundus
111-114 / 115 C. Iulius Cornutus Tertullus
114 / 115-134 ?
approx. 134-136 C. Julius Severus
142/143? Q. Voconius Saxa Fidus
146/147? L. Coelius Festus
around 160 Q. Cornelius Senecio Annianus
against 160 Q. Roscius Murena
BITHYNIA probably since Marc Aurel kaiserl. Province.
approx. 162-166 L. Hedius Rufus Lollianus Avitus
between 175 u. 182 L. Albinius Saturninus
183 Severus
between 186 u. 189 M. Didius Severus Iulianus (Emperor 193)
193-194 L. Fabius Cilo
198-199 Q. Tineius Sacerdos
? M. Claudius Demetrius
between 202 u. 205 Ti. Claudius Callipianus Italicus
Aelius Antipater (under Septimius Severus)
Pollio (below Elagabal)
218 Caecilius Aristo
C. Claudius Attalus Paterculianus
230/235 L. Egnatius Victor Lollianus
at 220? M. Clodius Pupienus Maximus (Emperor 238)
220-298 NN.
approx. 299 to n. 303 Sossianus Hierocles
305-355 NN
356 Fl. Eusebius
357 NN
380 * Hormisdas



Web links

Wikisource: RE: Bithynia  - Sources and full texts
Wiktionary: Bithynia  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Cos. 43 BC Chr.
  2. a b c Marek (2003) p. 48.
  3. ^ Clemens Bosch, The Asia Minor Coins of the Roman Empire II, 1 (Stuttgart 1935), p. 78
  4. Marek (2003) p. 47.
  5. Tacitus ( Annalen 1, 74, 1) calls M. Granius Marcellus "praetor"
  6. Tacitus Annalen 12, 22. On the prenomen "C.": Marek (2003) p. 48, also on coins Γαίου "= Gaius".
  7. Marek (2003) p. 48; Der Kleine Pauly 3, Sp. 642, here jed. identified with A. Licinius Nerva Silianus Pasidienus Firmus .
  8. Cilo is confirmed as procurator by coins.
  9. ^ Cassius Dio 60, 33, 6.
  10. Dating by coins showing Nero and the 59 murdered Agrippina.
  11. Tacitus Annals 16, 18.
  12. ↑ The only Latin inscription CIL III 346 associated with it.
  13. Tacitus Annals 14, 46.
  14. On coins from the time of Vespasian. M. Plancius Varus was approx. 82/83 cos. suff.
  15. On coins from the time of Vespasian and Titus (79–81).
  16. ^ After Marek (2003) p. 48 under Vespasian / Titus (before 81), but name (also?) On coins from the time of Domitian (81–96).
  17. On coins from the time of Domitian (81–96).
  18. Pliny ep. 10.58.6.
  19. ^ Under Nerva, see Pliny ep . 10.58.10.
  20. ^ C. Iulius Bassus is defended by Pliny in 103.
  21. Pliny ep. 10.27.1 10.85.1.
  22. Under Pliny there was a Gavius ​​Bassus Preafectus orae Ponticae (Pliny ep. 10,21,1 10,86a, 1).
  23. consularis Bithyniae.
  24. Ammian 26.8.