Gordium - Encyclopedia




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GORDIUM, an ancient city of Phrygia situated on the Persian "Royal road" from Pessinus to Ancyra, and not far from the Sangarius. It lies opposite the village Pebi, a little north of the point where the Constantinople-Angora railway crosses the Sangarius. It is not to be confused with Gordiou-kome, refounded as Juliopolis, a Bithynian town on a small tributary of the Sangarius, about 47 m. in an air-line N.W. of Gordium. According to the legend, Gordium was founded by Gordius, a Phrygian peasant who had been called to the throne by his countrymen in obedience to an oracle of Zeus commanding them to select the first person that rode up to the temple of the god in a wagon. The king afterwards dedicated his car to the god, and another I For this name see footnote to Shapur.

oracle declared that whoever succeeded in untying the strangely entwined knot of cornel bark which bound the yoke to the pole should reign over all Asia. Alexander the Great, according to the story, cut the knot by a stroke of his sword. Gordium was captured and destroyed by the Gauls soon after 189 B.C. and disappeared from history. In imperial times only a small village existed on the site. Excavations made in 1900 by two German scholars, G. and A. Koerte, revealed practically no remains later than the middle of the 6th century B.C. (when Phrygia fell under Persian power) .

See Jahrbuch des Instituts, Erganzungsheft v. (1904). (J. G. C. A.)

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