Ancient aqueducts in Turkey
Elaiussa Sebaste





Other names: ./.  
Roman province: Cilicia  
Location: Ayaş, Erdemli county, Province Mersin  

Elaiussa Sebaste was supplied with water from the Lamo Valley via a 25 km long water pipe over a total of 8 aqueducts. Partly as a pressure water pipeline, partly through channels driven by massive rocks, the water was channelled into neighbouring Korykos.
The position of the aqueducts located west of the town shows that in the Roman Empire and in the early Byzantine period Elaiussa-Sebaste and Korykos received their water from the Lamo Valley together. Towards the end of the 5th century, at the beginning of the 6th century, a fundamental renewal of this water pipeline took place.
In the Middle Roman Empire, a string was led from the inner city around the theatre to the palace on the island. Below the theatre, a remnant of a narrow aqueduct was preserved at the Agora.

The aqueducts had to be repaired again and again and partly renewed. Partly the water pipe was reinstalled. To the west of Elaiussa, for example, an aqueduct had to be completely rebuilt after undermining.

The history of Elaiussa Sebaste:  

Little is known about the pre-Roman history of the town of Elaiussa Sebaste, which was first mentioned in the early 1st century BC. The original centre of the town was located on an island directly on the coast, which, however, was soon silted up. The development of Elaiussa Sebaste was encouraged by its favourable location on the coastal road that in ancient times connected Asia Minor with Syria and the city's involvement in intensive trade in the region. Economically important for this were the extensive forests in the hinterland as wood suppliers and the cultivation of wine and olives (Greek elaion), on which the name of the place probably alludes.

In 20 BC, the Roman emperor Augustus extended the empire of the Cappadocian clientele king Archelaos I by a part of the so-called "rough Cilicia" and by areas of small menias. The acquisition of the Cilician coastal strip was an occasion for Archelaos to move his residence from the Cappadocian Mazaka to the Cilician island of Elaiussa, where he had a palace built (a much more pleasant and more accessible island for travellers). Archelaos renamed the place "Sebaste" in honour of Emperor Augustus (after Sebastos, the Greek form of Augustus). In his palace in Elaiussa-Sebaste, Archelaos also received guests of the state, including his brother-in-law King Herod the Great of Judea.

In 38 A.D. the city fell to Antiochus IV of Kommagene. Since 72 A.D. Elaiussa belonged to the Roman province of Cilicia. The decline of the city began in the 3rd century, especially with the conquest by the Sassanids in 260. In late antiquity it is documented as a diocese and probably continued until the invasion of the Arabs.




Water pipe above the theatre


The Agora with the rest of the aqueduct to the palace on the island

Photos: @chim    
Translation aid:    
Source: Wikipedia and others