This site is games | books | films

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Reddit
Tumblr
StumbleUpon

Phrygia

By Caliniuc since Putzger & Westermann atlases (Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, Stier, H.E., dir., 1985) - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58363914, Phrygia
By Caliniuc since Putzger & Westermann atlases (Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, Stier, H.E., dir., 1985) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58363914

 Phrygia is a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia with its capital at Gordium.

The Trojan allies, a land of “many fortresses”, on the banks of the Sangarius, which flows north and west to empty into the Black Sea. Priam once was there on the occasion of the war of the Phrygians against the Amazons and reports seeing many horses and that the leaders of the Phrygians were Otreus and Mygdon. Priam’s wife’s brother, Asios, was the son of Dymas, a Phrygian.

Phrygian Midas, the king of the “golden touch”, was tutored in music by Orpheus himself. Another musical invention that came from Phrygia was the aulos, a reed instrument with two pipes. Marsyas, the satyr who first formed the instrument using the hollowed antler of a stag, was a Phrygian follower of Cybele. He unwisely competed in music with the Olympian Apollo and inevitably lost, whereupon Apollo flayed Marsyas alive and provocatively hung his skin on Cybele’s own sacred tree, a pine.

Mythic past

Gordias, Midas and Tantalus were kings of Phrygia. Gordius, a Phrygian farmer, became king, fulfilling an oracular prophecy. The kingless Phrygians had turned for guidance to the oracle of Zeus at Telmissus, in the part of Phrygia that later became part of Galatia. They had been instructed by the oracle to acclaim as their king the first man who rode up to the god’s temple in a cart. That man was Gordias, a farmer, who dedicated the ox-cart in question, tied to its shaft with the “Gordian Knot”. Gordias refounded a capital at Gordium in west central Anatolia, situated on the old trackway through the heart of Anatolia that became Darius’s Persian “Royal Road” from Pessinus to Ancyra, and not far from the River Sangarius.

Midas connect him with Silenus and other satyrs and with Dionysus, who granted him the famous “golden touch”. In another episode, he judged a musical contest between Apollo, playing the lyre, and Ares, playing the rustic pan pipes. Midas judged in favor of Pan, and Apollo awarded him the ears of an ass.

Midas of Thrace, accompanied by a band of his people, traveled to Asia Minor to wash away the taint of his unwelcome “golden touch” in the river Pactolus. Leaving the gold in the river’s sands, Midas found himself in Phrygia, where he was adopted by the childless king Gordias and taken under the protection of Cybele. Acting as the visible representative of Cybele, and under her authority, it would seem, a Phrygian king could designate his successor.

The Phrygians were Trojan allies during the Trojan War. Trojan king Priam, had in his youth come to aid the Phrygians against the Amazons. During this episode (a generation before the Trojan War), the Phrygians were said to be led by Otreus and Mygdon. Both appear to be little more than eponyms: there was a place named Otrea on the Ascanian Lake, in the vicinity of the later Nicaea; and the Mygdones were a people of Asia Minor, who resided near Lake Dascylitis (there was also a Mygdonia in Macedonia). During the Trojan War, the Phrygians sent forces to aid Troy, led by Ascanius and Phorcys, the sons of Aretaon. Asius, son of Dymas and brother of Hecabe, is another Phrygian noble who fought before Troy. Quintus Smyrnaeus mentions another Phrygian prince, named Coroebus, son of Mygdon, who fought and died at Troy; he had sued for the hand of the Trojan princess Cassandra in marriage. King Priam’s wife Hecabe is usually said to be of Phrygian birth, as a daughter of King Dymas.

The Phrygian Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Phrygia.

Gordian

Gordium is the capital city of Phrygia.

Gordian Knot

This intricate knot joined the yoke to the pole of a Phrygian wagon that stood on the acropolis of the city. A prophecy was decreed that whoever could loose the knot was destined to become the ruler of Asia.

Scroll to Top