(Φασηλίς), a town on the coast of Asia Minor, on the confines of Lycia and Pamphylia, and consequently ascribed by the ancient writers sometimes to one and sometimes to the other. It was one of the towns to which the Romans wrote commanding all Jewish exiles who had taken refuge there to be given up to Simon the high-priest (1 Macc. 15:23). Its commerce was considerable in the 6th century B.C., for in the reign of Amasis it was one of a number of Greek towns which carried on trade somewhat in the mranuer of the Hanseatic confederacy in the Middle Ages. They had a common temple, the Hellenium, at Naucratis, in Egypt, and nominated προστάται for the regulation of commercial questions and the decision of disputes arising out of contracts, like the preudhommes of the Middle Ages, who presided over the courts of piepoudre (pieds poudres, peddlers) at the different staples. In later times Phaselis was distinguished as a resort of the Pamphylian and Cilician pirates. Its port was a convenient one to make, for the lofty mountain of Solyma (now Takhtalu), which backed it at a distance of only five miles, is nearly eight thousand feet in height, and constitutes an admirable landmark for a great distance. Phaselis itself stood on a rock of fifty or one hundred feet elevation above the sea, and was joined to the mainland by a low isthmus, in the middle of which was a lake, now a pestiferous marsh. On the eastern side of this were a closed port and a roadstead, and on the western a larger artificial harbor, formed by a mole run out into the sea. The remains of this may still be traced to a considerable extent below the surface of the water. The masonry of the pier which protected the small eastern port is nearly perfect. In this sheltered position the pirates could lie safely while they sold their booty, and also refit, the whole region having been anciently so thickly covered with wood as to give the name of Pityusa to the town. For a time the Phaselites confined their relations with the Pamphylians to the purposes just mentioned; but they subsequently joined the piratical league, and suffered in consequence the loss of their independence and their town lands in the war which was waged by the Roman consul Publius Servilius Isauricus in the years B.C. 77-75. But at the outset the Romans had to a great extent fostered the pirates, by the demand which sprang up for domestic slaves upon the change of manners brought about by the spoliation of Carthage and Corinth. It is said that at this time many thousand slaves were passed through Delos — which was the mart between Asia and Europe — in a single day; and the proverb grew up there, ῎Εμπορε, κατάπλευσον· ἐξελοῦ πάντα πέπραται. But when the Cilicians had acquired such power and audacity as to sweep the seas as far as the Italian coast, and interrupt the supplies of corn, it became time to interfere, and the expedition of Servilius commenced the work which was afterwards completed by Pompey the Great (see Smith, Dict. of Class. Geog. s.v.).
It is in the interval between the growth of the Cilician piracy and the Servilian expedition that the incidents related in the First Book of Maccabees occurred. After naming Ptolemy, Demetrius (king of Syria), Attalus (king of Pergamus), Ariarathes (of Pontus), and Arsaces (of Parthia) as recipients of these missives, the author adds that the consul also wrote: εἰς πάσας τὰς χώρας καὶ Σαμψάμῃ (Grotius conjectures Λαμψάκῳ, and one MS. has Μεσανίσση) καὶ Σπαρτιάταις καὶ εἰς Δῆλον καὶ εἰς Μύνδον καὶ εἰς Σικυῶνα καὶ εἰς τὴν Καρίαν καὶ εἰς Σάμον καὶ εἰς τὴν Παμφυλίαν καὶ εἰς τὴν Λυκίαν καὶ εἰς Α῾λικαρνασσόν, καὶ εἰς ῾Ρόδον καὶ εἰς Φασηλίδα καὶ εἰς Κῶ καὶ εἰς Σίδην καὶ εἰς ῎Αραδον καὶ εἰς Γόρτυναν καὶ Κνίδον, καὶ Κω῏/προν καὶ Κυρήνην (1 Macc. 15:23). It will be observed that all the places named, with the exception of Cyprus and Cyrene, lie on the highway of marine traffic between Syria and Italy. The Jewish slaves, whether kidnapped by their own countrymen (Ex 21:16), or obtained by raids (2Ki 5:2), appear in early times to have been transmitted to the west coast of Asia Minor by this route (see Eze 27:13; Joe 3:6).
The existence of the mountain Solyma, and a town of the same name, in the immediate neighborhood of Phaselis, renders it probable that the descendants of some of these Israelites formed a population of some importance in the time of Strabo (Herod. 2:178; Strab. 14, c. 3; Livy, 37:23; Mela, 1:14; see Beaufort,. Karamania, pages 53-56).