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- 4 Şub 2022
Pamphylia Side - ΣΙΔΗ
Side differed from other Pamphylian cities in that it had its own language, Sidetic, which was written in an indigenous alphabet. This Sidetic script was used on the city's coinage from the late 5th to 3rd century BC and also survived in a few short inscriptions, of which three are Greek-Sidetic bilinguals.
Like other native Anatolian languages, Sidetic was gradually ousted by the Greek language in the late Hellenistic time, but the Roman senator and historian Arrian [† after 145/6 AD] still knew of its existence in his time.
He describes the foundation myth of the Sidetans in his Anabasis of Alexander as follows: Alexander now went towards Side, whose inhabitants are Cymeans from Aeolian Cyme, they give this account of themselves, that as soon as they reached that land, the first to leave Cyme, sailing thither to colonize, they forgot their native tongue and talked a foreign language straight away, and that not the Persian of the natives there, but their own idiom, in fact, a new dialect.
This origin story is obviously a later invention, as we know today that Sidetic was an indigenous Luwian language and related to Carian, Lydian and Pisidian.
The very fact that it was still in use in late classical and early Hellenistic time shows that Side was precisely not a Greek city. However, the foundation myth likely reflects old reminiscences of the overlapping of Greek and indigenous communities in the area, which eventually resulted in the extinction of Sidetic and its replacement with Greek.
Click for more coin images of the ancient city Side.