Milyas (Μιλυάς) is an Anatolian region that apparently defied the attempt to provide a precise location, but most of the attestations point to the Elmalı basin in northern Lycia (Hall 1986 [1]; Kearsley 1994 [2]; Syme 1995 [3]; Adak & Şahin 2004 [4]; Lockwood 2011 [5]: 3-18; Işik 2015 [6]; Schürr 2016 [7]; Dökü & Baytak 2017 [8]). Within that area Ptolemy places Kandyba (Lycian Xãkbi, DLL 81 / Milyan Xãzbi, DLL 135). It is interesting to notice that a Lycaonian toponym, Chasbia, whose location is still undefined, but most likely on the road between ancient Iconium and Lystra, reminds the Milyan name of Kandyba. Another noteworthy detail comes from an Isaurian place name, Meloē or Miloē (KON 378, § 798-1; TIB5 346), I have already tried to interpret as *Maiel + uwa, which can be compared to the name of the ancient name of Lycia according to Herodotus (1, 173, 4), namely Milyas, that is *Mil-uwa < *Maiel-uwa. What kind of provisional conclusion might be drawn from this analysis? If we suppose that *Maiel is equivalent to *Maion because what changes is simply the suffix, Hattian in the first case and Milyan (Lycian B) in the second one, we should deduce that *Maiel was the older denomination of Maeonia and an indirect confirmation of this hypothesis would come from the equivalent denomination of Milyans, namely Cabalians (who are) Maeonians according to Herodotus (7, 77). This cultural unit between Milyans and Cabalians has been clearly described in the introduction to LGPN V.B: "Thus the inland regions of the Kabalis and Milyas have, rather misleadingly, been labelled in modern scholarship as northern Lycia. But, as has been emphasized in the recent publication of the Balboura survey, it is better to maintain the distinction between these regions and Lycia, on geographical and climatic grounds as well as cultural criteria. The Lycians occupied the river valleys, the lowlands of the coast, and their rugged hinterlands, while the Kabalians and Milyans held the upland plains of Seki (around Oinoanda) and Elmalı (the heartland of the Milyas, both 1300–1500 m. asl), effectively isolated from the coast by the high mountain chain of the modern Bey Dağları, Ak Dağları, and Boncuk Dağları, reaching 3,070 m, 3,015 m, and 2,418 m respectively. In addition to the fundamental differences between the coast and highlands as far as the basis of the rural economy is concerned, the cultural ties of the Kabalis and Milyas continued to be closely aligned with inland Anatolia well into the Hellenistic period and were cemented with the Pisidian westward expansion that led to the refoundation of Kibyra and the new foundations of Balboura and Termessos (ἡ πρὸς τοῖς Οἰνοάνδοις) in the Kabalis c.200 BC." (LGPN5B xii-xiii). Another aspect of this historical and documented solidarity between Kabalis and Milyas is their relationship with the Solymians, a people that Robert calls "voisins orientaux des Lyciens" (Robert 1978 [9]: 44), and which – he warns - should not hastily identified with Cabalians: "Le rapprochement entre Solymes et Kabaliens ne repose que sur une phrase de Strabon, XIII 630" (Robert 1969 [10]: 1331; Macrì 1976 [11]: 494-495; Masson 1984 [12]). To resume the thread of my initial consideration about the Isaurian village of Meloē or Miloē (maybe Alahan, Elton 2011 [13]; Baysal & Elton 2014 [14]), which may be interpreted as equivalent to Milyas, the ancestor of a row of toponyms is likely to be the Hattian *Maiel, as both its virtual components Mai(u)- and -el are properly Hattian and may refer to a textile feature, because mai(u)- should be "linen". I tend to think that *Maiel, Maiandros (*mai-ant-(al)la-), Maionia (*Mai-wann(i)-iya-), Milyas (*Mil-uwa < *Maiel-uwa) and finally Meloē or Miloē are morphologically comparable and might derive their basic meaning from the meandering river par excellence, the Maeander which "separated the Sardian and Cibyratic conventus" (Ramsay 1975: 173).

Originally Published: May 25, 2021

Last Updated: May 25, 2021

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