Cilicia, an ancient division of Asia Minor, lying between lat. 36° and 38° N., lon. 32° and 37° E., bounded W. by Pamphylia, N. by Ismiria, Lycaonia, and Cappadocia, from which it was divided by the Taurus, E. by Syria, from which it was separated by the Amanus mountains, and S. by the gulf of Issus and the Mediterranean sea. The W. portion, from its mountainous character, was called Tracheia (rough), and the E. portion, composed in great part of plains, Pedias (level). It is a strip of land extending about 300 m. along the shore from \V. to E., with a width from N. to S. rarely exceeding 50 and never 70 m., and sloping from the summit of the Taurus mountains toward the sea. The coast of Cilicia Tracheia is abrupt, and a short distance inland there is a mountain ridge. Between this and the Taurus lies the basin of the Calycadnus river (now the Gok Su), which flows E. S. E. to the sea, and with its branches drains a large district. Cilicia Pedias is a fertile and well watered region, producing trees, vines, and such grains as millet, sesame, wheat, and barley.
It is crossed by three large streams: the Cydnus (now Tersus Tchai) which rises in the Taurus mountains and flows S.; the Sarus (now Sihun), which comes through the gorges of the mountains from Cappadocia; and the Pyramus (now Jihun), which also crosses the northern barrier, and flows S. W. The water of all these streams is very cold, and the current in some parts rapid. The Cydnus was the scene of a cold bath which nearly killed Alexander the Great, and of the first interview between Antony and Cleopatra. - Cilicia is supposed to have been settled by Phoenicians, and the people were distinguished in early times for commercial and maritime enterprise. Though tributary to the Persian empire, the country was in the time of Darius and Xerxes subject to a race of native princes named Syennesis. Cyrus the Younger crossed Cilicia in his expedition against his brother. The Greeks colonized the countrv in the time of Alexander, after whose death it was made a part of the Syrian empire, and Tarsus afterward became one of the great centres of learning in the East. In the 1st century 13. C. pirates swarmed from the coast of Cilicia, and in subduing them through Pompey the Romans acquired the whole country.
When Cicero was proconsul the province included also Pamphylia, Pisidia, Isauria, Lycaonia, and the island of Cyprus. Native princes still held out in the mountains until the time of Vespasian. Under Augustus Cilicia was an imperial province, and contained six free cities, Tarsus, Anazarbus or Cossarea, Corycus, Mop-sus, Seleucia, and AEgae. It now forms the Turkish vilayet of Adana.