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ARAXA (Ören) Lycia, Turkey.

At the N end of the Xanthus valley. Nothing is recorded of its foundation, no Lycian inscriptions have been found on the site, and its Lycian name is not known. An inscription at Sidyma (TAM II. 1.174) mentions a local legend that Leto bore Apollo and Artemis at Araxa. All that is known of the city's history is contained in an inscription found at Ören in 1946 (JHS [1949] 46, no. 11 = SEG XVIII 570): At an uncertain date in the 2d c. B.C., hostilities broke out between Araxa and Bubon and again later between Araxa and Cibyra; in both cases Araxa appealed to the Lycian League, of which she was a member, whereas Bubon and Cibyra at that time were not. Some time afterwards Araxa was instrumental in securing the admission of her neighbor Orloanda (otherwise unknown) to the Lycian League. In general the inscription shows Araxa functioning as a full and active member of the League. No coinage is known; the former attribution of a single specimen of the time of Hadrian is now discredited. In Byzantine times the bishop of Araxa ranked fourth under the metropolitan of Myra.

The ruins are not extensive. The acropolis hill is immediately above the village; it is precipitous on the SE, but is quite low. A little below the summit are remains of a “cyclopean” wall of very large blocks with a superficial area up to 3 sq. m, in some cases drafted at the edges; most conspicuous is a massive tower over 9 m wide. In the village is a stretch of polygonal wall 9 m long and still 3 m high.

A kilometer or so to the W of the village is a group of a dozen rock-cut tombs at the base of a rocky hillock; most of these are of Lycian house type, but they are not inscribed. One, evidently later, has two antae decorated with rosettes and nondescript capitals, an architrave, a row of dentils, and a curiously naked pediment lacking the usual raking cornices. By the river, close to the village, are a number of gable-shaped sarcophagus lids with inscribed panels.

A little to the N of Ören is an exceedingly abundant spring which, though not the actual source of the Xanthos river, supplies the greater part of its stream.


C. Fellows, Lycia (1840) 123-27; T.A.B. Spratt & E. Forbes, Travels in Lycia (1847) I 38-40; TAM II.2 (1930) 259.


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