Ἀμόριον (Greek)
Amorium is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
Alternate name Amorion, Ammuriye, Hergen Kale
Location Hisarköy, Afyonkarahisar Province, Turkey
Region Phrygia
Periods Hellenistic to High Middle Ages
Associated with Aesop, Michael II
Events Sack of Amorium

Amorium was a city in Phrygia, Asia Minor which was founded in the Hellenistic period, flourished under the Byzantine Empire, and declined after the Arab sack of 838. Its ruins and höyük (mound, tumulus) are located near the modern village of Hisarköy in the Emirdağ district of Afyonkarahisar Province, Turkey.

Amorium is the Latinized pronunciation of its original Greek name Amorion (Greek: Ἀμόριον). Arab/Islamic sources refer to the city as Ammuriye. Under Ottoman rule the site, which never regained importance, was called Hergen Kale.


Its site lies at a distance of 13 kilometers from the district center of Emirdağ, in Afyonkarahisar Province. Excavations on the site are currently being pursued in a five-year plan beginning in 2012 by an international team led by Dr. Chris Lightfoot, a curator from the Metropolitan Museum.[1]


The city minted its own coins beginning between 133 BC to 27 BC until the 3rd century AD, indicating its maturity as a settlement and military importance during the pre-Byzantine period. Amorium then must have been prestigious and prosperous. But early historical records that mention the city are strictly limited to a reference by Strabo, although it is expected that new discoveries will shed light on the city's Roman period and before.

Byzantine period

Gold solidus of Emperor Michael II the Amorian and his son Theophilos.

The city was fortified by the emperor Zeno in the 5th century, but did not rise to prominence until the 7th century. Its strategic location in central Asia Minor made the city a vital stronghold against the armies of the Arab Caliphate following the Muslim conquest of the Levant. The city was first attacked by the Arabs in 644, and taken in 646. Over the next two centuries, it remained a frequent target of Muslim raids (razzias) into Asia Minor, especially during the great sieges of 716 and 796. It became capital of the thema of Anatolikon soon after. In 742-743, it was the main base of Emperor Constantine V against the usurper Artabasdos, and in 820, an Amorian, Michael II, ascended the Byzantine throne, establishing the Amorian dynasty. This began the period of the city's greatest prosperity, when it became the largest city in Asia Minor. Its status however as the native city of the reigning dynasty also spelled its doom: in 838, the Caliph Al-Mu'tasim launched a campaign specifically against the city, which was captured and razed.

The city never recovered. Following the Battle of Manzikert it was devastated by the Seljuks and a large proportion of its inhabitants were killed.[2] Emperor Alexios I Komnenos defeated the Seljuks at Amorium in 1116, but the area was never recovered.


Amorium was a bishopric at latest by 431, when its bishop, Abraham or Ablabius, was at the Council of Ephesus. The acts of the earlier First Council of Constantinople (381) were signed by a priest, Tyrannus, of Amorium. Other bishops were Mysterius, who took part in the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Theodorus, in the Trullan Council of 692, Theodosius, in the Second Council of Nicaea in 787, and Bessarion in the Council of Constantinople (879). Theophilus was part of the mission that Photius sent to Rome about 20 years earlier.

The Notitiae Episcopatuum of Pseudo-Epiphanius (c. 640), Amorium appears as a suffragan Pessinus, capital of Galatia Salutaris. It appears with the same rank in another of the end of the 8th century. Soon afterwards, presumably as a result of citizens of Amorium taking the imperial throne, it became a metropolitan see with, as shown by the early 10th-century Notitiae Episcopatuum of Leo VI the Wise, five suffragan sees: Philomelium, Claneua, Docimium, Polybotus. and Pissia.[3] There is no longer any mention of the see in the 14th-century Notitiae Episcopatuum.[4][5][6]

No longer a residential bishopric, Amorium is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[7]

42 Martyrs of Amorium

Following the 838 sack, 42 officers and notables of Amorium were taken as hostages to Samarra (today in Iraq). Refusing to convert to Islam, they were executed there in 845, and became canonized as the "42 Martyrs of Amorium".[8]


In 1987 Professor R.M. Harrison of Oxford University conducted a preliminary survey of the site with excavations being started in 1988. From its inception the Amorium Excavations Project has been principally concerned with investigating post-classical, Byzantine Amorium. During 1989 and 1990 an intensive surface survey was conducted of the man-made mound in the upper city. In 2001 Dr. Ali Kaya made a geophysical survey of the church found in the upper city, although a full excavation has yet to be undertaken. The Project is sponsored by the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara and funded by grants from various institutions in the United States including the Adelaide and Milton De Groot Fund at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Friends of Amorium.[9]

Notable people


  1. ^ "Chris Lightfoot announces decision to restart fieldwork at Amorium in 2012 with a new 5-year plan.". July 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  2. ^ Speros Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh through the Fifteenth Century (University of California Press, 1971), pp. 21
  3. ^ Heinrich Gelzer, Ungedruckte und ungenügend veröffentlichte Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum, in: Abhandlungen der philosophisch-historische classe der Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1901, p. 539, nº 246.
  4. ^ Siméon Vailhé, v. Amorium, in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie ecclésiastiques, vol. II, Paris 1914, coll. 1329-1331
  5. ^ Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica, Vol. 2, p. 23
  6. ^ Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. I, coll. 853-856
  7. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 831
  8. ^ (French) René Grousset, Les Croisades, Que sais-je ?, 1947
  9. ^ accessed 02/08/08.


External links