Gordion, and the post-Alexandrian collapse of Phrygian society in the Anatolian steppe

Gordion, and the post-Alexandrian collapse of Phrygian society in the Anatolian steppe

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TL/DR: Gordion was just a walled village at game start with a small population, not a city, inhabited by Phrygians not Macedonians.

The site where Alexander supposedly cut the mythical Gordian Knot and heralded the conquest of all of Asia, Gordion, went through a massive decline following the conquest of Alexander. Prior to this, it was the most important city on the Anatolian steppe and a major trade and adminstrative hub. Through Gordion, enormous amounts of sheeps and goats were moved throughout the Achaemenid Empire via the Royal Road, which were tended to by the many pastoralist communities on the steppe. However, the city was likely already in a slow decline before Alexander even arrived, and his conquest just rapidly sped up the process.

The period after Alexander's conquest saw an immediate breakdown of imperial infrastructure and administration, and where other cities were incorporated back into the new administrative system, Gordion collapsed together with its economical and political power. Trade started to flow along the Sangarios river instead of the Royal Road, and it lost its position as the centre for animal husbandry within the empire and access to the massive markets to its east and west.

Early Hellenistic Gordion (Pre-Galatian) shows an entirely different view. Imports from the east of the former Achaemenid empire cease almost immediately, and the city turns to trading along the Sangarios with the Hellenes and Hellenising peoples to its north. The city also started to produce imitations of Attic style pottery in those first few decades, represented in the trade good, of which the import has stopped as well (which would have come in via the Royal Road from the west, in numbers over 10 times larger then at Sardis). However the city shows no evidence of Macedonian settlement, and rapidly declines to become nothing more then a fortified village.

Monumental architecture stops almost overnight, and no changes are seen to the pre-Hellenistic religious behaviour. (The Hellenised depictions of Matar (Kybele) were from the late Achaemenid period. No more do we find the elaborate seals used by Achaemenid officials, instead we find simple ones used to stamp bread or pottery. The population rapidly declined, to the point where we can even see this in the land use in the surrounding area where the amount of sheeps and goats drops to about a third of what it was during the Achaemenid period, and subsistence farming becomes the norm around the former city itself. With minor industrial activity regarding pottery production.

Pre-Hellenistic Gordion consisted of three elements, th Citadel, Lower, and Outer town. During the period before the Galatians arrive, the Outer town is quickly abandoned, as is the Lower town which becomes used as a cemetary early on. On the Citadel, the monumental architecture becomes reaused as cheap construction material, and the site becomes filled with small, unevenly spaced houses. Gordion was reduced to a walled village. While some Hellenisation did occur, the population itself seems to have remained Phrygian, with no visible change in Phrygian culinary traditions.

Thus, the Anatolian steppe became the territory of mostly pastoralists and some subsistence farming, until the arrival of the Galatians.

Thus, I propose the following adjustments:

New cities
: Phrygian towns in the early Hellenistic period generally lay in the west and south of Phrygia.

184 Dokimeion - Greek Macedonian polis, probably can be made a city as well with a small Macedonian population, unlike Gordion there was early Hellenic settlement here.
302 Kadoi - While it being in Phrygia or Mysia was hotly disputed between ancient authors, it was an earlier Phrygian city, probably with some Mysian population in the area too.
309 Akmoneia - And important early Hellenistic Phrygian center
315 Dorylaion- Part of a larger group of Phrygian towns in the region, probably best to make 1 a city.
1936 Kelanai - Fortified regional administrative centre that remained important into the Hellenistic period
1941 Synnada - Very old town and regional centre

Remove: Those could have their populations shifted to some of the more important urban centres above.

179 Philomelion - Attalid foundation at the earliest, became important much later on after the game's timeframe.
185 Ipsos - Not a significant town at all, we would have hardly known about it if not for the famous battle there, and there are about a dozen more important ones in the area before Ipsos should be considered for city status.
188 Pessinous - Cult centre yes, but not a city yet, should have a small population. Its elevation to a proper independent temple-state under the Attalids is what set Pessinous on the path of urbanisation.
189 Gordion - Also remove the Macedonian population, but add a fort, which can represent the walled Citadel which housed the village.

Trade goods: A few small changes to make the area more accurate from what we do know from the sources.

184 Dokimeion to Marble - the famous Synnadic marble came from quarries near here
188 Pessinous to Livestock - most of this province is part of the steppe region, and it was pastoralist
192 Tolastochora to Cloth - The area around Gordion was a major centre for animal husbandry, which included the wool produced by sheep as well.
228 Androna to Cloth - Idem, especially since the area now has no cloth at all, and the production of Vegetables would have been difficult beyond subsistence levels, whereas the steppe was great for animal husbandry.
1941 Synnada to Olives - the plain was covered in Olive plantations

192 Tolastochora to Goeleon, lay in the north part of this area, Tolastochora implies the chora of the Galatian Tolistobogii. Tolasochora could be the Celtic name?
1928 - Men Askaenos to Greek Antiokheia tis Pisidias and Lat. Antochia Caesaraea . Men Askaenos is a deity, not the name of the town.

The border between the Phrygian lands lay further south-west then currently in game, including 1946 Hierapolis, 1948 Laodikeia, 1945 Kolossai, 1943 Anaua and the territories north of them. Currently many of these have a Carian majority, it should have a Phrygian one. (The extent of Carian culture into the Tauros is a different topic altogether, but there were other peoples living here, the Carians were predominantly coastal, like the Lykians.)

Primarily: Dusinbere, E. R. M., 'The collapse of empire at Gordion in the transition from Achaemenid to Hellenistic world' Anatolian Studies (2019) Vol 69, pp. 109-132.

With some cross-referencing with a few other works such as Thonemann's Roman Phrygia and some other works.
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