|Gorgeous pocket beach accessed by steps from high road|
|This appears new to me|
Getting to Letoon involved narrow roads through tiny villages, most paved but not all. It is out in the country; not situated by the sea. Letoon was a religious center and is on the Unesco World Heritage List. There was never any large group habitation in the area. Letoon was just a site used for religious purposes, not as a city. Letoon takes its name and importance from a large shrine to Leto.
|Letoon--Temple to Leto|
|Letoon--Entrance to the theater from the temple area|
|Floor mosaic in Temple of Apollo|
|The real Letoon mosaic in museum in Fethiye|
|Note depth of silted landfill in center|
|Letoon--Jamie climbing & posing|
|Metal pieces held stones together|
and expand and would create a tight join between the two pieces. I do not understand how this process worked, but that was the explanation from the 'expert' guide. One section of the floor had 7 large pieces of similarly shaped metal that had obviously been used in this manner during the construction of the temple to Leto.
|Would you feel safe walking|
through 2,000 arched entryway
To the north of the temples and nymphaeum is a large Hellenistic theater. Our Lonely Planet guide states that this theater is in excellent condition. Not really. We have seen theaters in much better condition (like the one in Myra). Half of the ground area inside the theater has been excavated to the original ground level. Another example of how much the land has filled in during the past 2,000 years.
|Letoon--Looking from entryway into theater; Bill and Katie|
|Letoon--Hellenistic theater at Letoon; Bill, Chay & Katie|
Letoon is considered a double-site with Xanthos, which is located 4 kilometers northeast. French archaeologists have been excavating Xanthos since 1950. Xanthos also was a religious center; and this was our next destination. (We saw no archaeological activity in either Letoon or Xanthos, although the French are supposedly still excavating at both locations.) Xanthos was not only a religious center; it was also the administrative center.
|Xanthos--Roman theater; pedestal tombs at upper left|
The people of Xanthos put up heroic resistance to the Persian armies in 545 B.C. Finding themselves overwhelmed, the Lycians killed their wives and children, burned their homes and committed suicide. Only 80 families survived the slaughter.
|Xanthos--Katie schooling us|
Excavation have revealed that Xanthos was burned to the ground between 475-450 B.C. A further disaster overtook Xanthos in 42 B.C. when the city was occupied by Brutus. Refusing to surrender, the population fought to the death. Finally Brutus was able to capture only 150 men and a handful of women.
|Xanthos -- pillar tombs near theater;|
on right is Harpy Monument burial chamber
The first thing one sees when arriving at Xanthos is a Roman arch beside today's entry road. A tiny bit farther up that road one finds a large Roman theater. The first row of seats is raise high from the ground area, indicating that gladiator games participated in this theater.
|Xanthos--Reproductions near top of Harpy Monument|
Near the theater are several pillar tombs. One of the pillar tombs is extremely unusual. It is called the Harpy Monument. This sarcophagus consists of one huge piece of hewn rock 8.87 meters high and shaped with 4 sides as a square. Inside is a small burial chamber surrounded on all 4 sides by friezes and closed by a flat lid of stone. The monument's reliefs were taken by Charles Fellows to the British Museum in 1874. The reliefs seen today are clay copies of the original. It is believed that the reliefs were offered as a gift to the sarcophagus owner and his wife by other members of the family. Reliefs on the north and west sides depict creatures, half female and half bird, called sirens. The sirens are carrying the souls of the dead (symbolized as babies) to heaven.
rigged for gladiators
trench in agora floor
|Xanthos--Lycian cuneiform writing?|
Another thing we noted at the agora were many, many excavated stones inscribed with Greek lettering. The writing on one stone was definitely not Greek. Wondered if it was Lycian cuneiform since the Lycian culture was so similar to the Hittite and this writing looked like samples of Hittite cuneiform that I have seen previously.
|Xanthos--basilica mosaic floor (picture on sign)|
|Xanthos--basilica mosaic floor covered in pebbles to protect|
The basilica also must be viewed with an active imagination to envision what it must have looked like. A photograph on a sign showed the mosaic floors of the old basilica, so I took a photograph of that sign. The day we visited the entire floor area was covered in sand and small pebbles. I assume this was laid on in hopes of preserving the mosaic floors.
|Xanthos--Judy checking out|
one of many rock tombs
There are sarcophagi scattered all over the hillside. Even a few rock tombs.
|Xanthos--inside the rock tomb|
|Xanthos--the Lion Sarcaphogus (way out on hillside)|
|Jamie and Chay exploring|
rock tombs at Xanthos
Eventually we found the Lion Sarcophagus. Above it were several rock tombs. All robbed, of course.
|Xanthos--on backside of the mountain; a long walk|
The views of the distant mountains were pretty, but I had just about had all this fun I could stand for one day.
|Xanthos--Jamie and Chay at the necropolis (fortress)|
at top of the mountain
Chay, Katie and Jamie hiked up through the very badly ruined acropolis (fortress) at the top of the mountain. I opted to follow a dirt path that wound around those ruins and up to the top. Bill walked with me because it isn't wise to be out walking alone in the countryside (snakes, falls....things like that). We ended up reaching the very top of the hill at exactly the same time as Chay, Katie and Jamie.
The views up there were great. Provided us with a great view of the Roman theater far below.
|Xanthos--looking down on theater from top of the hill|
Finding our way down was a fool's task. The others went ahead and I trailed slowly behind.....slipping and sliding my way through tromped down weeds and stones. Bill noticed I was having difficulty and returned to help steady me on the slides. Eventually we did reach bottom. This is not something I would want to do again. Next time I will wear sneakers with good gripping soles.
We made one more quick walk around the theater grounds and jumped back in the car to find lunch in the nearby village. After lunch we drove to Patara; but this blog posting is long enough already, so I will save that for another posting.
|Thousands of hot houses here.|
They grow a LOT of tomatoes
in this part of Turkey.
We know from Hittite cuneiforms that the nation of Lukka was like the Lycians. The land of Lukka was conquered by the Hittites during the reign of King Suppililiuma in the mid-14th century B.C. The Lukka fought against Egypt in the ranks of the Hittites during the Battle of Kadesh in 1284 B.C. They possessed powerful sea and land forces by the second millennium B.C. and had already established an independent state.
Lukka’s were mentioned among Egyptian texts as sea raiders. This association with Egypt placed the Lukka also in Lycia. It was recorded by Heredotos that the Lycians originally came from Crete and for a time they called themselves the Termilae. According to legend, when Lycus, son of Pandion the King of Athens, was expelled by his brother Aegus, he joined Sarpedon and they took the name ‘Lycians’ from Lycus. Heredotos noted that the Lycian customs were partly Carian and partly Cretan, but one custom is unique to the Lycians – their lineage is not by the father, but from the mother’s side (matriarchal family).
Homer mentioned the Lycians in ‘The Illiad’ and told that during the Trojan War, under the commanders Sarpedon and Glaukos, the Lycians battled heroically on the side of the Trojans against their enemies the Achaeans.
The Persian King Harpagos conquered Lycia in 545 B.C. In 480 B.C. when the Persian King Xerxes assembled his huge force for the conquest of Greece, the Lycians contributed 50 ships to Xerces fleet. Persian rule ended when the region fell to the Macedonian King Alexander the Great. In 333 B.C. when Alexander crossed the Hellespoint and landed in Anatolia, he defeated the Persian forces in battle in the year 334 B.C. and gained control of Lycia.
In 309 B.C., after Alexander’s death, Lycia came under the power of his General Ptolemy, who had established himself as the King of Egypt. Ptolemaic control continued for about a hundred years. It was during this period that the Lycian language died out and was replaced by Greek.
In 197 B.C. Lycia was taken from Ptolemy by Antiochos III, the King of Syria. He was shortly afterwards defeated by the Romans. Lycia was given to the Rhodians in 189 B.C., who supported the Romans. In 167 B.C. Rhodian rule ended and Lycians became free.
During the Roman civil wars of the first century B.C., the Lycians again had to suffer from the depredations of Brutus and Cassius. (remember, Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C.)
Upon the Lycians defeat at Phillipi in 43 B.C. by Anthony and Octavian, Anthony received the east as his share of the Roman world and confirmed the freedom of Lycia. Even under the Roman Empire, the Lycian League continued to function. During this period the country was prosperous. Money was plentiful and huge fortunes could be obtained by private citizens. Money was minted at Myra in Lycia (where we visited yesterday).
Each city averaged 5,000 people to contribute to Lycia’s total population of estimated 200,000 in the early 4th century A.D. The boundary of Lycia was extended to the northwest to include the Carian city of Kaunos, which was still within Anatolia.
In the Byzantine period, 4th – 7th centuries A.D., Christianity increased in the region and Christian buildings were constructed throughout the land. In efforts to eliminate paganism, the new Christians destroyed many of the old buildings and statues.
There are 3 reasons that the Lycians have disappeared. In the 8th century A.D. Lycia suffered attacks from southern tribes and vanished from history. Earthquakes and disease are the other factors to their disappearance. Today Lycia is famous for its majestic snow-capped mountains, sweeping down to the blue waters of the Mediterranean, and for its unique historic sites.