The oldest commercial brand in the world, in Antioch ad Cragum

The ancient city of Antioch ad Cragum (Antiochetta) is located in the region of Cilicia (Antalya), on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Turkey, at the foot of Mount Cragos.

It was founded by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Hellenistic king of the Seleucid dynasty, around 170 BC. Its ruins include part of the fortifications, baths, temples, a Roman necropolis and even one of the largest Roman mosaics found in Turkey to date.

To this must be added the discovery, by archaeologists investigating the site, of what may be the first known commercial brand in history. And it is that in many ancient mosaics and ceramic pieces found in the place the letters are inscribed PREV.

These objects, dated between the end of the 1st century BC and the beginning of the 1st century AD, bore the mark of the city (its first three letters) as an indication of the quality and origin of the product, according to Professor Birol Can of Uşak University.

The city of Antioquia ad Cragum was a large city, with a long and rich history, and would have been one of the main ceramic producing centers in the area. The inscription would be a guarantee that the product was made there, but it also suggests that buyers were interested in the brand, just as they are today.

Antioquia ad Cragum began to be excavated in 2005, and according to the project’s director, Professor Michael Hoff, at the current rate it will take another 300 years before the city is fully exposed.

The case of Antioquia ad Cragum would therefore be prior to another well-known famous brand, from the middle of the 1st century AD: the manufacturer Ennion, who invented the technique of modeling glass, which allowed it to be decorated as it was being formed and, by using molds, could produce multiple similar copies. Ennion, whose workshop was located in the city of Sidon, in present-day Lebanon, used to decorate his containers with the phrase ennion made me written in Greek.

But if we take into account that large-scale commercial brands, as we know them today, appeared in Europe around the 13th century, the case of Antioch ad Cragum would take the rise of marketing back 13 centuries.


Daily Sabah/Ancient Glass/Wikipedia.