Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lagina: Sanctuary of Hecate

Photos by Jack A. Waldron
After spending the day at ancient Stratoniceia, which is located about 9 kilometers SW of ancient Lagina, I cycled from the main road up into the hills to the site, which sits about a kilometer outside of the village of Turgut.  After picking up a couple of beers in the village, I retraced my tracks back to the site.  The shadows were growing long, and the site would be closed shortly, so, as I road toward the entrance I search for a suitable campsite.  As I knew it would be impossible to camp at the site, because the security guards forbid it, I was hoping they had already left for the night.  But, no luck.  After some wrangling about not letting me pitch my tent in a perfectly flat grassy area just off the site (but everywhere is the site), I started back up the road.  As I climbed road back, I noticed a huge round stone-lined pond on the side of the road.  There were a couple of small houses here and there, and the edges of the pond were littered with wine bottles and beer cans amongst other various trash heaps.  So, here I pitched my tent, and would do the good deed of collecting and piling up the trash in one big heap on the opposite side of the road.  Some 30 minutes later, the security guard comes marching up the road, and seemed to have a problem with my campsite, but, since I don't speak Turkish, and it was now nearly dark, he let me be.  As I drank my beer on the edge of the pond, I noticed some marble blocks that I recognized to be ancient, and then, I noticed on the pond floor, a fluted column.  It would appear that I had camped right on the edge of an ancient reservoir.  This spring fed pond was flowing heavily with clear fresh water even now, and was used in ancient times to supply water to Lagina, which lay 150 meters down the slope.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the pond, but below is an illustration from the TAY site.
Thought to be formerly known as Hierakome (inscription found at site), or perhaps Coarenda (inscription presumably from site), the name Lagina is not found on any inscriptions from the site.  The Carian theocratic city-state, and most important sanctuary of Hecate in the ancient world, was served by eunuchs, and lay in the precinct of Stratoniceia (whose patron was Hecate, the eminent tri-goddess, the wise elder), which is linked via a sacred way that would bring the nearby citizens to the various festivals held within the theocratic city-state.  Pictured below is a Roman copy of a Hellenistic sculpture of Hecate, which is on display at the Vatican Chiaramonti Museum.
Lucius Apuleius (123 -170 AD) in his work The Golden Ass writes of the mythical association of Hecate with the Egyptian figure of Isis:
 “I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and governess of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chief of powers divine, Queen of heaven, the principal of the Gods celestial, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the air, the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell be disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable customs and in many names, [...] Some call me Juno, others Bellona of the Battles, and still others Hecate. Principally the Ethiopians which dwell in the Orient, and the Egyptians which are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and by their proper ceremonies accustomed to worship me, do call me Queen Isis. [...]”
Hecate, or the Triple Goddess, Moon Goddesses, is usually depicted in both sculpture and drawing as a three bodied goddess, or three headed goddess, representative of Artemis - the Maiden, the virgin goddess of the hunt, Selene - the Mother, the mother of Endymion's children, and she loved him, Hecate - the Crone, associated with the underworld and magic, the "Queen of Witches".
The semi-circular Propylon pictured above would greet the pilgrims upon their arrival, and invite them to enter the sacred sanctuary of Hecate.  The Propylon is a prostyle structure in the Ionic order, with a tripylon in antis to the east.
As can be seen in the photo below, the silt has accumulated to a height of several meters of the millennia.  Presumably, the Sacred Way that connects with Stratoniceia is intact and awaits excavation; and further, if the Sacred Way between these two cities is alike other such sacred ways, there are sure to be treasures yet to be unearthed.
During the annual Hekatesia festival, a young girl would be designated the Key Bearer, and would deliver the key of the Temple of Hecate to the Bouleutarian in Stratoniceia, accompanied by a procession of eunuchs, the priest (or later a priestess), the neokoros and the president of the mysteries.  This was just one of the many festivals at the site, which date back to the 7C BC.
Pictured above, a look at the sanctuary through the Propylon Gate.  Below, a staircase descends into the massive complex of stoas that surround the sanctuary and lay at distance of up to 135-150 meters from the Temple of Hecate.
An arial view of the Propylon gate shows the beauty of its architectural design, and also most interesting, how monuments or decrees were often incorporated into such areas at later dates, such as the one pictured exclusively below, with its inscription ready for new arrivals to read.
Inscriptions at the gate refer to "three stoas in the sacred house", a market providing foods and stuffs to travelers or pilgrims; an indication of a sacred tree grove of the eunuchs, and an inscription forbidding the pasturization of flocks of animals within the sanctuary.
Pictured above, a close-up of some of the inscriptions that are written on the monument just inside the Propylon Gate.  Below, a view of the monument in full, including the feet of its pedestal.
The Grand and Monumental Alter of Hacate at Lagina sits just inside the Propylon Gate to the east, and south of the Temple of Hecate (pictured below).  While unsure if the Altar is in congruence with the Temple of Hicate, they do appear to be suspiciously on the same axis.  The Monumental Altar had an exterior colonnade in the Corinthian order, and an interior colonnade in the Ionic order.
The illustration above shows the monumental scale of the Altar, with its importance and placement, a grand staircase leads to a paved road the connects with the Temple of Hecate (see photos below).
As if to separate, divide and conquer the gods of the past, and in this case the power Hecate, a Byzantine christian church was erected on the pavement in the space between the Altar and Temple of Hecate.  Pictured below, a frontal view of the Temple of Hecate as seen from the Monumental Altar.
The pseudo-dipteral plan of the Temple of Hecate is in the Corinthian order of 8x11, consisting of a pronaos and naos.  Below, an archeological survey of the Temple of Hecate carried out between 2006-2008 by Tirpan-Sogut:
A comprehensive research was done inside the temple of Hekate in 2006 ; a restitution offer was prepared based on the building blocks that were revealed. The relation of the temple which was built in Corinthian order was researched in comparison with the buildings that were previously built in order to identify its status within the Hellenistic architecture. The model of Vitruvius was accepted as a basis for the starting point. The measurement tables for each building element were constituted within the limits of this research starting from the lower building; and all the sample building elements were drawn. It was found that the number 6 which was known as the perfect number by the mathematicians of the ancient period was used as a module; and the multiples of the number of 6 was utilized to determine the measurements of the building. The temple demonstrates novelties that are only specific to itself in terms of the proportions that were applied from the euthynteria level up to the upper level building elements. The proportion of the Euthynteria to the stylobat is the only example known in Anatolia with 8x11 columns. The proportions of the Corintihian order building elements were determined taking into consideration the lower diameter of the columns. It was found that the column height was increased compared to the structures of the 3rd century BC; the proportion of the kickplate width to the pedestal height was decreased. When the Hellenistic period buildings built before; and the Roman period buildings that were built after are considered the Temple of Hekate constitutes an example to the transition period architecture. Therefore the mathematical proportions identified inside the temple may be valid for the Late Hellenistic period Corinthian order as well [Tirpan-Sögüt (Büyüközer; A.) 2008:388-390]. The architrave blocks were also researched and categorized on ornamentation basis during the find database studies of the temple in 2006. 96 architrave blocks were found during the researches performed; 72 of those were complete; 24 were fragments close to or smaller than half. The Ionic kymation ornamentations on the architrave crown profiles consist of 5 types. The anthemion ornamentations were also categorized under 5 main groups. The presence of differentiation of the workmanship and the differences deriving from different periods were found on the decorations on the blocks. These tell us that the architrave decorations were made by different persons and it took a long time to complete them. This process probably lasted between the end of the 2nd century BC; until Augustus period [Tirpan-Sögüt (Aslan; H.) 2008:390-391].
Now on display in the Istanbul Archeological Museum, the frieze of the Temple of Hecate circumnavigated the temple with the goddess herself being an underlying theme in the depictions, such as a scene representing the birth of Zeus, reconciliation between Greeks and Amazons, battles of gods and giants, men preparing for war, and figures that appear to represent the deities of various Carian cities.
Upon entering the Temple of Hecate, I was greeted be a representation of the goddess herself, this massive snake skin warned of the darker possibilities that may await those who not tread lightly on sacred ground.  Throughout my visit, a found no less than four snake skins laying between the blocks of the temple, the one below being the largest of them.
The fluted columns of the temple have been numbered, and hopefully in the future they will be re-erected back within the colonnade of the temple.
Pictured above, the west pediment is in a fine state of preservation, along with many of the temple members, such as the door jam/frame pictured further down.
The Stoas with their grand stepped colonnades in the Doric order surround the temple precinct in an area of 135-150 meters.  At the south end a flight of 11 steps climb to an upper level.
Monuments, dedications and exedras can be found throughout the grounds, such as the lion clawed platform below, which features an inscription that is incomplete due to the repurposing of the two end blocks that once completed monument.
Perhaps pried from its hold, a bronze dedication plaque, shield or garland might have adorned this monument, which is now left with a gaping wound in its belly.
The grand scale of the stoas at Lagina are very impressive, and remind me of the stoas in the agora under the Acropolis at Athens.
*All photos and content property of Jack A. Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Stratonikeia of Caria

Photos by Jack A. Waldron
So much about Stratonikeia of ancient Caria invites those who love to explore an environment that has changed very little over the millennia.  In a sense, Stratonikeia reminds me of ancient Assos, which overlooks the island of Lesbos in western Turkey.  There, like in Stratonikeia, the villagers continued to live, be housed and function among the ancient monuments that are a part of their village.  In the case of Stratonikeia, for excavation purposes, the majority of villagers have recently been relocated to nearby Yatagon.  Pictured above, my tour cycle leaning against the stone wall in front of an Ottoman era Mosque.
Pausanias, the ancient Greek traveller, tells us that the Lycians funded the city of Chrysaoris, which was an old Carian town, anciently known as Idrias, and according to Stephanos Byzantios, who quoted Apollonios of Aphrodisias, was the first city founded by the Lycians.  According to the Athenian tribute ledgers of 425 BC, Idrias is not shown having paid the six talents levied on it.  Further, according to Strabo, the city became known as Stratonikea under Antiochus I Soter (281-261 BC), who is purported to have named the city after his stepmother-wife Stratonice, though some question the date of this renaming, and suggest that perhaps the son of Stratonice, Antiochus II (Theos), or later under Antiochus III (the Great) may have been responsible for the foundation of Stratonikeia.
Surprises can be found around every corner amongst the recently vacated village, such as the wall with the arch pictured above, which is part of Roman Bath 1.
Some villagers continue their work in various buildings throughout the village, such as a copper metal worker, whose small shop sits at the end of the lane that leads to the ancient agora, pictured below.
Navigating the lanes beyond the main square of Eskihisar village, twentieth century stone buildings are juxtaposed with two-thousand year old structures.  Looking down the village lane pictured below, a well maintained two-story stone house rises above the wall that lines the path, while across the street sits the 1C AD Roman Bouleuterion.
The side entrance and staircase of the 1C AD Bouleuterion lead to the seating within the ancient structure.  Though the theatrical festivities of Eskihisar village lack any record over the past 1000 years, the cavea of the Bouleuterion was most likely the scene of performances, speeches and such, up until recent memory; for why would the locals utilize such a magnificent theatrical space?
Pictured above, the section of the Bouleuterion wall facing the street in which the Bouleuterion entrance is exposed and in excellent condition.  The illustration of the Bouleuterion above shows that there is also an identical entrance on the opposite side of the building, though the opposing wall has yet to be fully excavated, and is buried (see picture further down), while the top door opening inside the structure is visible.
Stratonikeia was a member of the Chrysaorian League, which was established in the early 3C BC, at or some time before a 267 BC inscription describing the confederation of Carian cities and towns.  The Temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus, which is located near Stratonikeia, was the meeting place for all member cities, who were allotted a certain number of votes based on how many cities and towns were under their jurisdiction.
Under the rule of the Seleucid Kings, then the Rhodians, to Philip V of Macedon, and then under the Roman Empire, the city remained prosperous and experienced a lengthy period of the construction of grand monuments, as well as civic and administrative buildings.
While the steps of the Bouleuterion on the side of the building facing the street are either missing or have yet to be excavated, the steps along the opposing wall are in a wonderful state of preservation (pictured below).  As can also be seen in the photo below, the wall runs directly into a more modern wall, which may or may not be removed for excavation in the future.
A Latin inscription on the exterior of the Bouleuterion wall from 301 AD is one of the best preserved examples of the Prices Edict of Diocletian, which was an attempt to control the inflation of merchandises and services.
The Greek inscription on the interior of the Bouleuterion wall (pictured above and below), is a calendar created by Menippos, one of the most distinguished orators of his time, and a native of Stratonikeia, according to Cicero.
Pictured above, altars, once used to sacrifice small animals to the gods for favor with regard to crops, mercantilism, health, war, and every day life, now sit abandoned.  Below, the monumental Propylaea Gate into the Agora, with abandoned local houses lining the area.
Archeologists and their students were busy excavating the agora of Stratonikeia during my visit.  As you can see below, the main street next to the Agora dead ends at a farmers' field, running under the olive and plane trees dominating the village.
Stranonikeia is a fine state preservation, and should some day rival the greatest of excavation site in Turkey.  Pictured below, columns line the large Agora, stoa and street that straddles it.
This sculpture of the head of Aphrodite is among the finds from the site on display at the Archeological Museum of Milas.
There are building member poking out of odd places throughout the site (such as the entrance to a building, pictured above), still waiting to be excavated, with the promise of revealing the grand structures that once adorned Stratonikeia.
Pictured above, a view of the distant Theater upon approach from the ancient city.  Below, a grand staircase leads to the elevated seating of the theater, as well as what is described as the Imperial Temple of Augustus.
The bottom of the Grand Staircase has been modified over the millennia, with a low wall and odd columns forming a rectangular boxed in area.  Perhaps this served as a concession or votive shop in later times.
The finely carved eagle winged seats and lion claw seating posts show the richness of the city.
Block shaped whole in the theater seating suggest the use of a wooden structure that may have supported an awning to shield the audience from the sun.
The single level Hellenistic stage building was demolished under Roman rule and in its place an ornate three tiered stage build was erected.
The magnificently carved Hellenistic Thyrsus (pictured above and below), which is associated with Dionysus, the god of theater, is a testament to the ornateness of the decorations that created the citizens of Stratonikeia.
Pictured above, a view of the stage building and the ancient city beyond, including the encroaching modern quarry seen in the distance.  Below, the seating of the theater has sagged and been pushed down the natural slope over the millennia.
The temple complex above the theater has the appearance of having been designed in correlation with the theater, or perhaps, as part of the planning in the renevation of the theater.
A wide stepped avenue crowns the top of the theater with support walls and staircases that climb to the Imperial Temple of Augustus.
Pictured below, the pediment of the temple sits among the numerous building members that have been cataloged and numbered, with the temple and its columns seen in the background.
The Imperial Temple of Augustus is in a fine state of preservation, though in appearance, it would seem a wreck, it is the good condition and high volume of its building members that remain on the site that could make its eventual reconstruction possible.
Bird and flower motifs decorate this once valued sacred monument, which is a peripteral temple built in the Ionic order on a three stepped crepidoma.
The picture below was taken with me standing on a high berm that seperates the temple and the site from the main road.  On the other side of the road (behind me in the photo below) are the remains of a monumental fountain, or, fountain house (pictured with my bicycle at the bottom of this post).
Returning back to the city center, it was now time to explore one of the best preserved ancient gymnasiums of any ancient site.  The Gymnasium appears to have been constructed in the 2C BC, with reconstructions occurring during the reign of Augustus.
Pictured below, the Detroit Grand Central Station was tilt in the early 20C AD, and modeled on the designs of a Hellenistic Period Greek Gymnasium/Bath.  The floor plan of the grand train station looks like it could have been pulled directly from the architectural drawings of the Gymnasium of Stratonikeia.
If not for the modern structure rising above the pediment in the photo below, one might think they were looking at the ancient gymnasium itself.
When standing inside the grand train station, one can imagine and picture the interior of the ancient gymnasium at Stratonikeia.  The Detroit Grand Central Station became an official historical site in 1975, and was last in use as the main train station in my home town in 1989.  It was quickly ravaged by vandals and the elements.  However, it is finally getting the attention it deserves, and currently under a slow pace of restoration.
Pictured above, one of the large rooms of the Gymnasium, its walls lined with decorative column reliefs.  Below, the central circular room with building members scattered about.
Pictured above, a member of a pediment decorated with the relief of a military shield.  The grand scale of the structure and fine marble used in its construction attest to the value and richness of Stratonikeia during ancient times.
Fluted Corinthian column reliefs rise above the lower walls of the rooms.  It is no wonder that the classic Greek architectural style would be honored by the Romans and on into our modern world of today.  Perhaps due to a shared cultural history, these classical styles have dominated the modern celebration of ancient architecture in western civilization.
Several types of Corinthian capitals in fine relief decorate the inner walls of the Hellenistic Gymnasium.
Back on the main road to Yatagan, there opposite the Imperial Temple of Augustus is a very large water structure.  It would appear to me to resemble the fountains one encounters at the entrances of many cities of the ancient world.  Here, new arrivals to the city would refresh themselves, wash and clense the dust and germs from their bodies before entering the city.  Perhaps this was simply a massive reservoir used to feed water to the city below.

*All photos and content property of Jack A. Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)


R. Chandler, Travels in Asia Minor (1817; repr. 1971) 116-18; A. Laumonier,BCH 60 (1936) 322-24; C. Fellows, Asia Minor (1838) 254-56; G. Cousin & G. Deschamps, BCH 15 (1891) 180f; L. Robert, Études Anatoliennes (1937) 523-31

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