1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sinope

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SINOPE, Turk. Sinūb, a town on the N. coast of Asia Minor in the vilayet of Kastamūni, on a low isthmus which joins the promontory of Boz Tepé to the mainland. Though it possesses the only safe roadstead between the Bosporus and Batum, the difficulties of communication with the interior, and the rivalry of Ineboli on the W. and Samsun on the E. have prevented Sinope from becoming a great commercial centre. It is shut off from the plateau by forest-clad mountains, a carriage road over the hills to Boiavad and thence by Vezir-Keupru to Amasia was begun about 20 years ago, but has never been completed even as far as Boiavad. Consequently the trade is small; the annual exports are about £80,000, and the imports £50,000. Population, 5000 Moslems and 4000 Christians, chiefly Greeks and Armenians. On the isthmus, towards the mainland, stands a huge but for the most part ruined castle, originally Byzantine and afterwards strengthened by the Seljuk sultans; and the Mahommedan quarter is surrounded by massive walls. Of early Roman or Greek antiquities there are only the columns, architraves and inscribed stones built into the old walls; but the ancient local coinage furnishes a very beautiful and interesting series of types.

See M. Six’s paper in the Numismatic Chronicle (1885), and MM. Babelon & Reinach, Recueil des monnaies grecques d’Asie Mineure (1904).

Sinope (Σινώπη), whose origin was assigned by its ancient inhabitants to Autolycus, a companion of Hercules, was founded 630 B.C. by the Ionians of Miletus, and ultimately became the most flourishing Greek settlement on the Euxine, as it was the terminus of a great caravan route from the Euphrates, through Pteria, to the Black Sea, over which were brought the products of Central Asia and Cappadocia (whence came the famous “Sinopic” red earth). In the 5th century B.C. it received a colony of Athenians; and by the 4th it had extended its authority over a considerable tract of country. Its fleet was dominant in the Euxine, except towards the W., where it shared the field with Byzantium. When in 220 B.C. Sinope was attacked by the king of Pontus, the Rhodians enabled it to maintain its independence. But where Mithradates IV. failed Pharnaces succeeded; and the city, taken by surprise in 183 B.C., became the capital of the Pontic monarchy. Under Mithradates VI. the Great, who was born in Sinope, it had just been raised to the highest degree of prosperity, with fine buildings, naval arsenals and well-built harbours, when it was captured by Lucullus and nearly destroyed by fire (70 B.C.). In 64 B.C. the body of the murdered Mithradates was brought home to the royal mausoleum. Under Julius Caesar the city received a Roman colony, but was already declining with the diversion of traffic to Ephesus, the port for Rome, and in part to Amisos (Samsun). In the middle ages it became subject to the Greek Empire of Trebizond, and passed into the hands of the Seljuk Turks, and in 1461 was incorporated in the Ottoman Empire. In November 1853 the Russian vice-admiral Nakhimov destroyed here a division of the Turkish fleet and reduced a good part of the town to ashes.  (J. G. C. A.)