There can be little doubt that the Pamphylians and Pisidians were the same people, though the former had received colonies from Greece and other lands, and from this cause, combined with the greater fertility of their territory, had become more civilized than their neighbours in the interior. But the distinction between the two seems to have been established at an early period. Herodotus, who does not mention the Pisidians, enumerates the Pamphylians among the nations of Asia Minor, while Ephorus mentions them both, correctly including the one among the nations on the coast, the other among those of the interior. The early Pamphylians, like the Lycians, had an alphabet of their own, partly Greek, partly "Asianic," which a few inscriptions on marble and coins preserve. Under the Roman administration the term Pamphylia was extended so as to include Pisidia and the whole tract up to the frontiers of Phrygia and Lycaonia, and in this wider sense it is employed by Ptolemy.
Pamphylia consists almost entirely of a plain, extending from the slopes of Taurus to the sea, but this plain, though presenting an unbroken level to the eye, does not all consist of alluvial deposits, but is formed in part of travertine. "The rivers pouring out of the caverns at the base of the Lycian and Pisidian ranges of the Taurus come forth from their subterranean courses charged with carbonate of lime, and are continually adding to the Pamphylian plain. They build up natural aqueducts of limestone, and after flowing for a time on these elevated beds burst their walls and take a new course. Consequently it is very difficult to reconcile the accounts of this district, as transmitted by ancient authors, with its present aspect and the distribution of the streams which water it. By the sea-side in the west of the district the travertine forms cliffs from 20 to 80 ft. high" (Forbes's Lycia, ii. 188). Strabo describes a river which he terms Catarractes as a large stream falling with a great noise over a lofty cliff. This is the cataract near Adalia. East of Adalia is the Cestrus, and beyond that again the Eurymedon, both of which were considerable streams, navigable in antiquity for some little distance from the sea. Near the mouth of the latter was a lake called Caprias, mentioned by Strabo; but it is now a mere salt marsh.
The chief towns on the coast are: Olbia, the first town in Pamphylia, near the Lycian frontier; Attalia; and Side. On a hill above the Eurymedon stood Aspendus and above the river Cestrus was Perga. Between the two rivers, but somewhat farther inland, stood Sylleum, a strong fortress, which even ventured to defy the arms of Alexander. These towns are not known to have been Greek colonies; but the foundation of Aspendus was traditionally ascribed to the Argives, and Side was said to be a colony from Cyme in Aeolis. The legend related by Herodotus and Strabo, which ascribed the origin of the Pamphylians to a colony led into their country by Amphilochus and Calchas after the Trojan War, is merely a characteristic myth. The coins of Aspendus, though of Greek character, bear legends in a barbarous dialect; and probably the Pamphylians were of Asiatic origin and mixed race. They became largely hellenized in Roman times, and have left magnificent memorials of their civilization at Perga, Aspendus and Side. The district is now largely peopled with recent settlers from Greece, Crete and the Balkans.
The Pamphylians are first mentioned among the nations subdued by the Mermnad kings of Lydia, and afterwards passed in succession under the dominion of the Persian and Macedonian monarchs. After the defeat of Antiochus III in 190 BC they were included among the provinces annexed by the Romans to the dominions of Eumenes of Pergamum; but somewhat later they joined with the Pisidians and Cilicians in piratical ravages, and Side became the chief centre and slave rnart of these freebooters. Pamphylia was for a short time included in the dominions of Amyntas, king of Galatia, but after his death lapsed into a district of a Roman province, and its name is not again mentioned in history.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.