Sinop (sēnōp´), anc. Sinope, town (1990 pop. 25,537), capital of Sinop prov., N Turkey, on the Black Sea. A small port, it has an excellent harbor but lacks adequate communications with the interior of Turkey. Ancient Sinop was founded by colonists from Miletus in the 8th cent. BC, was rebuilt after its destruction (7th cent. BC) by the Cimmerians, rose to commercial and political importance. One of its chief exports was cinnabar, which derives its name from Sinop. Sinop was the most important port on the Black Sea. The Romans under Lucullus captured it from Mithradates VI in the Third Mithradatic War (74–63 BC) and made it a free city. Sinop was occupied and devastated by Pharnaces II but was restored by Julius Caesar. Under the Roman Empire the city again reached great prosperity, which continued under the Byzantine Empire. When the Byzantine Empire broke up in 1204, Sinop joined the Greek empire of Trebizond, but within a few years it was occupied by the Seljuk Turks, and its decline began. In 1853 a Russian naval squadron surprised a Turkish flotilla there and completely destroyed it. This event served to hasten the approaching Crimean War. Sinop was the birthplace of Diogenes.
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