New History of Ancient Galatia
A Short Introduction
Celtic warriors from the Balkans wreaked havoc on Macedon and central Greece in 279 BC, but most of them were defeated at Delphi. Remnants of the invaders began to reach the soil of Asia Minor in 278 BC as allies of Nikomedes I of Bithynia and in 277 BC as the subjects of Mithradates I of Pontos. They gradually took control of the northern centre of Anatolia, whence they continued to influence the political power games of the Hellenistic world. Especially their strongest group, which developed into the Tolistobogian tribe, repeatedly gained a position of pre-eminence throughout much of the Hellenistic period. Despite an allegedly decisive victory that King Antiochos I Soter is said to have won over them (ca. 276/75 BC), the Tolistobogioi managed to control large parts of Phrygia, Bithynia and beyond. They were the fiercest opponents of the Attalids of Pergamon in the 2nd century BC and played a key role in bringing down Mithradates VI Eupator of Pontos in the 1st century BC. Their heyday came under King Deiotaros I Philorhomaios (ca. 120/64–40 BC), the staunchest ally of the Romans in Asia Minor and one of the most famous amici populi Romani.
After the death of King Amyntas (26 BC), Augustus established the province of Galatia, though leaving the old royal and tetrarchic elites in power within their tribes. These were the main sponsors of the splendid cult for Theos Sebastos (the divine living emperor) and Thea Rhome (the Goddess Rome) in Ankyra (modern Ankara), which developed into the metropolis of the province. Urban growth was particularly fostered under the Flavians, who enhanced the highways through Asia Minor and the frontier fortifications in the east. Trajan’s Parthian War brought about further restructuring, before Hadrian gave Galatia its territorial shape for the next generations to come.
My research is rooted in my work as research collaborator of the Trier-based project ‘The Foreign Friends of Rome’ (SFB 600-A 2, 2002–2008, funded by the DFG) and yielded my Habilitationsschrift (i.e. postdoctoral thesis, University of Trier, 2007), which revisited the first half-millennium of Galatian history. I was able to follow up on several further open questions as a visiting fellow at the University of Exeter (funded by the Humboldt Foundation, 2009 and 2011) and further benefitted from a seed grant of the University of Waterloo (2009/10) and SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2010–2014). My long-term goal is to compose an authoritative monograph, a New History of Ancient Galatia.