Lykastia and Chadesia

Other Cities of the Amazons

T hemiskyra was the most famous city of the Amazons but beside it there are two other towns which are supposed to be cities of Amazons: Lykastia and Chadesia.
Apollonius Rhodius gives us following account (Argonautica II, 996 - 1000):
For they dwelt not gathered together in one city, but scattered over the land, parted into three tribes. In one part dwelt the Themiscyreians, over whom at that time Hippolyte reigned, in other the Lycastians, and in another the dart-throwing Chadesians.


>>> On the tracks of these cities <<<

The geographical account of the ancient writers is rather exact: Lykastia was the name of a river and a town east of Amisos (today Samsun) at the south coast of the Black Sea. There is also a statement of the distance. This town was 20 stadia (= 3,6 km) east of Amisos. Because of this description the river must be the Mert Irmak, and Lykastia can be identified with the site Dündartepe and the nearby Tekkeköy.

bone needle from Dündartepe

Some finds from Dündartepe
The archaeological evidence implies an outstanding and unique culture. Some exceptional finds are already presented on our Themiskyra site.

Here on the left you see a beautiful needle made of bone with an intriguing eye motive. On the right there are two daggers which were found at Dündartepe.

weapons from Dündartepe

The site Dündartepe was the city of Lykastia, the nearby Tekkeköy was its fortress, and there was also the cemetery.
=> The cemetery at Tekkeköy
=> The fortress of Tekkeköy

The identification of ancient Chadesia is not as easy. The ancient tradition handed down that Chadesia was the name of a river and a city. This city was at the western boundary of the Themiskyreian land. But actually, there is no clear localization. Chadesia might be identified with the impressive ruins of Akalan. This site is about 18 km southwest of Samsun (Amisos). Then the river with this name must be the Kurtun Irmak.

Gateway in Akalan

It was a strong fortress built of boulders and large stones.

On the left you see the remains of a gateway. On the right you see the huge wall.

wall of Akalan

There are some arguments for the identification of Chadesia with these ruins: Akalan is situated at the western outskirts of the Iris-Thermodon plain which forms a coherent region. Furthermore, there is an ancient account that Chadesia was 150 stadia (about 27 km) away from Lykastia, that would roughly match theses places.

T here are Hittite writings belonging to the second half of the second millennium B.C. which mention a city named Chajasa. This city was the capital of the land Azzi, and this land was localized at the Black Sea coast. In fact, it is very probable that the land of the Amazons at the river Thermodon and the country Azzi are geographically identical.
The name Azzi is similar to the term Amazon. The well-known German researcher of Hittite History, Friedrich Cornelius, has suggested that the term Amazon is formed by the word »Am« - a popular word for mother or woman (also in Hittite language) - in combination with the name of the land »Azzi«, so Amazon means Woman of the land Azzi.
Moreover, the name of the capital of the Azzi land Chajasa is very similar to the name of the Amazon city Chadesia.

T here is another localization of Chadesia which presumes a more spacious Amazons' homeland. West of the Iris-Thermodon plain there is a similar fertile plain, the plain of the river Kizilirmak (in antiquity: Halys). In this region there have been excavated very similar finds to those of Dündartepe. The most important site there is Ikiztepe near Bafra. In prehistoric times these two plains obviously formed a coherent culture, thus it seems possible that Chadesia is identical with Ikiztepe. Actually, this implies that the homeland of the Amazons was much larger!
=> Ikiztepe - Research campaign 1999