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Mastaura in Asia

Mastaura in Asia, or simply Mastaura (Ancient Greek: Μάσταυρα), was a small town that under the Roman Empire was incorporated into the province of Asia I.

It is to be distinguished from the town of Mastaura in Lycia.


Mastaura was situated in the north of ancient Caria, at the foot of Mount Messogis, on the small river Chrysaoras, between Tralles and Tripolis.[1][2] Some sources speak of the town as originally belonging to Lydia, a kingdom into which Croesus (560-546 BC) briefly incorporated Caria.[3][4]

Pliny the Elder mentions the town as dependent on Ephesus as its provincial capital and thus as belonging in his time (1st century AD) to the Roman province of Asia.[5] The geographer Strabo mentions the town as being in the valley of the Maeander River.[6]

Its site is located near Mastavra in Asian Turkey.[7][8] On 16 October 1836, William Hamilton visited the ruins, then overgrown with ilex trees, brush and brambles.[9]

The partially preserved theatre of Mastaura, whose cavea is now occupied by an olive grove, awaits excavation.[10][11]


Mastaura had the privilege of having a mint and some of its coins are extant.[1][4]


To Mastaura in Asia Lequien assigns four named bishops. Theodosius attended both the Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Robber Council of Ephesus in 449. His replacement Sabatius asked Bishop Hesperius of Pitanae to represent him at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Theodorus took part in the Third Council of Constantinople in 680. Constantinus was one of the fathers of the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.[12] To these four adds a Baanes who was at the Photian Council of Constantinople (879), but it is unclear whether he was bishop of Mastaura in Asia or of Mastaura in Lycia.[13]

No longer a residential bishopric, Mastaura in Asia is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[14]


  1. ^ a b William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), entry: "Mastaura"
  2. ^ Istanbul Guide, "Carie ... Mastaura & Harpasa"
  3. ^ Gideon Nisbet, Greek Epigram in the Roman Empire: Martial's Forgotten Rivals (Oxford University Press 2003), pp. 135-136 ISBN 978-0-19926337-0
  4. ^ a b The Fitzwilliam Museum, Coins of Mastaura
  5. ^ Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book V, chapter 31
  6. ^ Strabo, The Geography, Book XIV, chapter 1
  7. ^ Lund University. Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire.
  8. ^ Richard Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. p. 61, and directory notes accompanying.
  9. ^ William Hamilton, Researches in Asia Minor, Pontus and Armenia (Murray 1842), pp. 531–
  10. ^ Museum of Architecture, "Mastaura Theatre" Archived 2014-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, "Mastaura"
  12. ^ [Michel Lequien, Oriens christianus in quatuor Patriarchatus digestus, Paris 1740, Vol. I, coll. 703-704
  13. ^ Pascal Culerrier, Les évêchés suffragants d'Éphèse aux 5e-13e siècles, in Revue des études byzantines, vol. 45, 1987, p. 157
  14. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 925

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "Mastaura". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.