The city of Athenai (Ἀθῆναι, modern Pazar, Turkey), in some contexts referred to as Pontic Athens, situated on the Pontic shore about halfway between Trapezus (modern Trabzon, Turkey) and Bathys Limen (modern Batumi, Georgia).

The settlement was testified by classical and medieval authors including Arrian, Procopius, and Stephanos Byzantinos; the origin of its name, however, was less clear. Procopius wrote in Wars (VIII, ii, 10-11) that:

And there is a certain village there named Athenae, not, as some suppose, because colonists from Athens settled there, but because a certain woman named Athenaea in early times ruled over the land, and the tomb of this woman is there even to my day.

The Byzantine Monuments and Topography of the Pontos (Dumbarton Oaks, 1985) mentions another interpretation (p. 335-6):

In fact, as Allen points out, Athenai may well be derived, like so many place names of this area which begin with A-, from a Laz word - in this case a word meaning "the place where there is shade." There is indeed another medieval site called Aténi in Georgia proper. By the same token, Rhizaion may be "the place where people (or soldiers) meet," and Mapavri suggests "leafy."

Some sources, such as an article found on Turkish Wikipedia, also suggest a Milesian foundation, but so far I've found no textual references in support of this theory (although it is worth pointing out that this was historically possible given the strong presence of Milesians in the region). Additionally, settlements along the Pontic coast were frequently relocated during Hellenistic period, and population exchanges were not uncommon. So far, no conclusive evidences for a Milesian origin have been discovered.

I would like to know if any new research has been done on this topic, and what - if any connections the site had with Athens, either directly or indirectly. Much thanks in advance.

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    According to Turkish wiki, it was founded by Greeks from Miletus so there doesn't seem to be a direct connection (at least) to Athens. Do you have any reason for suspecting otherwise, especially given that your research so far indicates quite the contrary? – Lars Bosteen Feb 3 '19 at 1:51
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    @LarsBosteen That Wiki page did not provide references for that claim though. As far as I know, no existing ancient sources point to a Milesian foundation of the site (although it is possible given the strong Milesian presence in the region). Apart from the seemingly obvious connection in name, the case for an Athenian foundation/connection mainly comes from archaeological findings; for instance, temple columns from Athenai have been noted to resemble Athenian counterparts as early as 19th century. – mooncatcher Feb 3 '19 at 2:25
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    As someone has voted to close this question as promoting a specific idea or theory, it would be a good idea to edit some of this into your question. The lack of a source for the Miletus connection is worth pursuing, but the connection in name to Athens may simply be explained by the goddess or else the princess Athenaea (a clue which may also be worth pursuing). Also, I'm not sure about the architecture link - I'm no expert on this area but my guess is you'd find similarities in many locations. To be honest, I doubt if there is much more to be known but I'd be happy to be proved wrong. – Lars Bosteen Feb 3 '19 at 2:58
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    @LarsBosteen Thanks for the advice. I just added a bit more background information concerning a Milesian foundation. I think you are right about architectural similarity, and I will also double-check my sources because I remember that specific reference regarding columns from only one journal article published a long time ago. – mooncatcher Feb 3 '19 at 3:24
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    Please do not respond in comments; comment discussions are a serious disincentive to answering the question. Questions raise issues/questions; OP should edit the question to clarify. – Mark C. Wallace Feb 3 '19 at 11:56

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