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KNIDOS (Cnidus) Caria, Turkey.

On the SW coast opposite Nisiros and Telos. The three cities of Rhodes—Lindos, Kamiros, and Ialysos—together with Kos, Halikarnassos and Knidos formed the Dorian Hexapolis. Every four years the Dorian federation met at Knidos to celebrate the Dorian Games. According to Herodotos, Knidos was colonized by Lakedaimonians, but Diodoros mentions an earlier settlement by Triopas. The main objects and ruins uncovered so far date from at least the 7th c. B.C. to the 7th c. A.D. when the city was abandoned. Strabo describes Knidos as a double city consisting of an island, the main residential section, which was joined to the mainland by moles. Two harbors were thus created, a commercial one, and a smaller naval harbor capable of berthing 20 triremes. The city was eventually laid out on a grid plan both on the island and mainland sections. The latter was divided by seven main N-S stepped streets which intersected four main E-W streets at right angles.

To the E of the street farthest E remains of a Hellenistic house have been excavated. Fragments of handsome figured wall paintings and architectural stuccos imitating Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, which once decorated the upper story, were recovered. To the N of the Hellenistic house are a number of rooms of a large Roman house. To the SE of this complex a small structure, formerly called an Odeion, has been re-excavated; this roofed building with a colonnade probably served as a bouleuterion. A partially excavated, well-preserved theater, originally constructed during the Hellenistic period with restorations, modifications, and additions, such as the stage buildings during the Roman period, lies to the E of stepped street 3. To the W of this street is a large 5th c. Byzantine church built on top of and re-using materials of an Ionic temple. On a terrace above this monument are the remains of a small tetrastyle prostyle distyle in antis Hadrianic Corinthian temple. An imposing Doric stoa, perhaps the ambulatio pensilis designed by Sostratos, lies to the S. South of this is a well-preserved monumental Byzantine church. Its aisles and narthex were decorated with mosaics. To the W of stepped street 1 and N of the trireme harbor is the agora and a small Byzantine church. To the N is a Doric temple dedicated to Apollo Karneios. This may have been the site where the ceremonies of the Dorian Games were celebrated. A stadium lies outside the W city wall. A junction between stepped street 1 and the main E-W street has been uncovered; here the E-W street terminated at an Ionic building, which may have served as a propylon.

High on the terrace farthest W is the sanctuary of Aphrodite Euploia. Her gardens, described by Pseudo-Lucian, probably lay to the E of the temenos. The famous cult statue by Praxiteles stood in the center of a handsome marble monopteros facing her altar to the E. To the W are a well-preserved treasury, an altar to Athena, and a rectangular shrine. To the NW is a complex of rooms, at least two-storied, of the Byzantine period, residential in character. To the S on an intermediate terrace is a theatron which may be associated with a monumental marble altar below and a large Roman building to the W. Perhaps this area was used for the celebration of mystery rites in honor of Aphrodite and/or Adonis, or even of Demeter. The Temenos of Demeter is located high on the terrace farthest E of the city. Immediately to the E of the city walls is the necropolis extending some 10 km. It has produced a variety of sarcophagi, altars and tombs (rock-cut, temenos, and chamber). The astronomical observatory of Eudoxos and the medical school have not yet been located. The objects excavated since 1967 are in the museums of Izmir and Bodrum.


Society of Dilettanti, Antiquities of Ionia III 2ff, v 23ff; Sir C. Newton, A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus, and Branchidae II (1865); E. Akurgal, Ancient Civilizations and Ruins in Turkey (2d ed. 1970) 252-53; I. C. Love, Preliminary Reports of the Excavations at Knidos, 1969-1971: AJA 74 (1970) 149-55, AJA 76 (1972) 61-76, AJA 76 (1972) 393-405.

Plin. HN 36.12.18; Lucian Hist. conser. 62.


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