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In ancient geography, Cappadocia (or Capadocia) (from Persian: Katpatuka meaning "the land of beautiful horses", Greek: Καππαδοκία; see also List of traditional Greek place names; Turkish Kapadokya) was an extensive inland district of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). In the time of Herodotus the Cappadocians occupied the whole region from Mount Taurus to the Euxine (Black Sea).

Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of Mount Taurus, to the east by the Euphrates, north by Pontus, and west vaguely by the great central salt lake. But it is impossible to define its limits with accuracy. Strabo, the only ancient author who gives any circumstantial account of the country, greatly exaggerated its dimensions; it is now believed to have been about 250 miles in length by less than 150 in breadth.
The earliest record of the name of Cappadocia dates from the late 6th century BC it where appears in the trilingual inscriptions of two early Achaemenid Kings, Darius I and Xerxes, as one of the countries (Old Persian dahyu-) which are part of the Persian Empire. In these lists of countries the Old Persian name is Katpatuka but it is clearly not a native Persian word. The Elamite and Akkadian language versions of the inscriptions contain a similar name.

Herodotus tells us that the name of the Cappadocians (Katpatouka) was applied to them by the Persians, while they were termed by the Greeks "Syrians" or "White Syrians" (Leucosyri). One of the Cappadocian tribes he mentions are the Moschoi, associated by Flavius Josephus with the biblical figure Meshech, son of Japheth, "and the Mosocheni were founded by Mosoch; now they are Cappadocians." AotJ I:6. Also see Ketubot 13:11 in the Mishna.

Under the later kings of the Persian empire they were divided into two satrapies, or governments, the one comprising the central and inland portion, to which the name of Cappadocia continued to be applied by Greek geographers, while the other was called Pontus. This division had already come about before the time of Xenophon. As after the fall of the Persian government the two provinces continued to be separate, the distinction was perpetuated, and the name Cappadocia came to be restricted to the inland province (sometimes called Great Cappadocia), which alone will be the focus of this article.

The kingdom of Cappadocia was still in existence in the time of Strabo as a nominally independent state. Cilicia was the name given to the district in which Caesarea, the capital of the whole country, was situated. The only two cities of Cappadocia considered by Strabo to deserve that appellation were Caesarea (originally known as Mazaca) and Tyana, not far from the foot of the Taurus.

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