Issus (town)

17 January 2009
Photo Marco Prins.

A Medieval comb with a lion.

The port of Issus, or Izziya as the Hittites called it, or Kinet Höyük as it is called today, would have been completely forgotten, if the Macedonian king Alexander the Great had not defeated the Persian king Darius III Codomannus on the plain immediately south of it on 5 or 6 November 333 BCE.

Without that famous battle, the twenty-six meter high mound would have been like any other Bronze and Iron Age settlement in greater Syria: inhabited since the Late Neolithic, several strata, normal houses made of mud brick, countless household items, and statuettes of that ubiquitous naked goddess holding her breasts, which have been found in Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Hellenistic contexts.

To be honest, the site isn’t worth a detour,  but the objects are on display in the Archaeological Museum of Antioch, with some excellent explanatory signs. I hope to put online photos of the battle site soon; for the moment, the old page is here.