Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Asia Minor

Asia Minor, the name given since the tenth century A.D. to the portion of Asia which projects westward into the Mediterranean and AEgean Seas, and is only separated from Europe by the narrow channels of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. The eastern boundary of this peninsula can only be defined by a line drawn from the Gulf of Scanderoon northwards to a point just east of Trebizond on the Black Sea. The area thus cut off is about equal to that of France. It resembles Spain in physical characteristics, consisting of a great inland plateau with an elevation of 2,000 feet or more above the sea, and fringed by a narrow strip of lowlying coast. This table-land is broken up into basins by great mountain ranges, and one of these basins, having no outlet to the sea, drains into an extensive series of shallow lakes stretching from Phrygia through Lycaonia into Cappadocia. The mountain system comprises the Taurus, Anti-Taurus, Erjish-dagh (Argaeus), Sultan-dagh, Emir-dagh, Baba-dagh (Cadmus), Demirji-dagh, Ak-dagh, Kaz-dagh (Gargarus), and Olympus. The rivers are of historical rather than geographical importance. The Euphrates skirts the eastern border, and amongst others the Kizil-Irmak (Halys), the Sakaria (Sangarus), the Khoja-Tchai (Granicus), the Scamander, the Bakyr-Tchai (Caicus), the Pactolus, the Bojuk and Kutchuk Mender (Great and Little Meander), the Xanthus, the Gerenis-Tchai,.the Gok-Su, and the Sihon and Jihon are the most remarkable. The Lakes of Nicaea (Isnic-Gol), Apollonia, and Miletopolis with the Lycaonian salt lagoons above-mentioned, are the most extensive. The climate offers wide variations from the dry, bracing, cold air of the central uplands to the damp, hot, and often malarious atmosphere of the littoral. Almost every vegetable product can be raised except such as the date-palm and other trees and plants needing tropical heat. The cherry and apricot are supposed to have been imported hence into Europe. The lions, tigers, and leopards of ancient times are extinct, but wolves, bears, foxes, and wild boars are plentiful, and many varieties of the deer tribe are to be found. The long-fibred fleeces of the sheep and goats have been valuable from antiquity. Camels and buffaloes, though numerous, are of recent introduction. Old geographers divided the peninsula into - 1. Pontus; 2. Paphlagonia; 3. Bithynia; 4. Mysia; 5. Lydia; 6. Caria; 7. Lycia; 8. Pamphylia; 9. Cilicia; 10. Pisidia; 11. Phrygia; 12. Galatia; 13. Cappadocia; 14. Lycaonia and Isauria. The history, limits, and ethnographical characteristics of each division will be treated under the separate heads. Greeks early established themselves on the coasts. Lydia for a time held a wide supremacy. Persia from 546 to 333 B.C. nominally governed the various subject races. The Seleucid dynasty of Syria held sway for a brief period, and the kings of Pergamus and Pontus erected separate monarchies, but all were virtually merged in the Roman Empire, at the accession of Augustus. A long spell of prosperity then succeeded, which was broken by the incursions of the Seljukian Turks in the eleventh century. The Crusaders broke this power, and the Byzantine Emperors controlled the northern and maritime districts until, in the 15th century, the Ottoman Turks swept away the last vestiges of Greek domination, and still hold what they conquered, though Russia is gradually encroaching on the shores of the Black Sea.