Caesarea was an important city in Asia Minor
during the Late Classical Period
. The seat of the kings of Cappadocia
, Caesarea was originally called Mazaca
until Cappadocian king Archelaus
changed its name to Caesarea circa 10 BC
to honor the Roman Emperor Augustus
Caesarea remained an important trade center throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period
and remains so even today. Now located in Turkey
, the city's name is spelled Kayseri
in modern Turkish
As Mazaca, the city was the capital of Cappadocia from the 3rd century BC when the region emerged as an independent kingdom from out of the chaotic remains of the old empire of Alexander the Great. In the 1st and 2nd centuries BC, Cappadocia avoided direct Roman conquest by becoming a staunch Roman ally. The city fell under the sway of Pontus when Mithradates VI invaded Cappadocia in 104 BC, but was later "liberated" by the Romans who now held the kingdom in quasi-colonial status. The city was captured again circa 90 BC by Mithradates' son-in-law, Tigranes of Armenia, and was later restored by Pompey. In about 40 BC, Mark Antony finally ended the farce of Cappadocia's independence by replacing the king with a Roman puppet, and in AD 17 Rome officially annexed the region as a province.
With the fall of the West, Casarea became part of of the Byzantine Empire. After falling to the Seljuk Turks in the mid 11th century, it was briefly occupied by the Crusaders in 1097, and was later captured by the Mongols in 1243. With the decay of the Mongol Empire, the city was occupied by the Mamluk Turks of Egypt in 1419 and was finally incorporated as part of the Ottoman Empire in 1515.