MAGNESIA AD SIPYLUM
(Manisa) Lydia, Turkey.
About 32 km NE of Izinir. Founded, together
with Magnesia ad Maeandrum, by the Thessalian Magnetes, it was situated in the fertile valley of the Hermos
river at the nexus of important road systems. Here in
190 B.C. the Romans decisively defeated Antiochos III of
Syria, and the Magnesians sided with Rome in the struggle with Mithridates. When Sulla reordered the province
of Asia, Magnesia was made a civitas libera. In A.D. 17
the area was struck by a terrible earthquake; the Roman
authorities seem quickly to have reconstructed the town.
In later Byzantine times it was an important political
and military center.
There are some statues and small finds, and fragments
of ancient buildings are preserved in Turkish structures,
but the Classical town proper is unknown. However, in
the vicinity are monuments of considerable significance,
some of them apparently marking the westernmost limits
of Hittite influence or control (dates and identifications
have not been established conclusively in all cases).
Pausanias came from the area, and his references to it
and its traditions are numerous.
Just outside the SW limit of Manisa is the Rock of
Niobe (Paus. 1.21.3
; cf. Hom. Il
. 24.615, and Soph. Ant
806-16), a large natural rock formation rather in the
shape of a woman weeping. What had formerly been
taken to be Niobe's Rock is seen at Akpinar 6 km E of
Manisa: a rock-cut figure of a seated woman shown
frontally in a niche. This figure (Taş Suret) is probably
Pausanias' Mother Goddess (3.22.4), that is, Kybele. It
is in high relief and well over life size; though badly
worn, it is surely Hittite in origin (13th c. B.C.). Beside
it is a panel thought to contain a hieroglyphic inscription.
In the vicinity of the Taş Suret are monuments that
may well be the ones that Pausanias associated with
Pelops and Tantalos (2.22.3 and 5.13.7). The Tomb of
Tantalos, long thought to be just N of Old Smyrna, can
be sought at the tomb known as that of S. Charalambos,
1 or 2 km E of the Taş Suret. Pausanias' Throne of
Pelops may be the same as a large rock-cutting in the
shape of an altar or a seat that exists high up on the
slopes of Mt. Sipylos between the Taş Suret and the S.
Charalambos tomb. Pausanias' Sanctuary of the Plastene
Mother (5.13.7) has been identified a little way from the
Taş Suret in the plain of the Hermos. In the general
vicinity of these monuments are Lydian constructions
(houses and cisterns?) of the 7th and 6th c. B.C., some
of sun-dried brick.
About 20 km S of Manisa, in the Karabel gorge, is a
rock-cut relief of a standing ruler or war-god. Here also
are the badly worn remains of what was once a hieroglyphic inscription. This is probably one of the reliefs
that Herodotos identified, at second hand, as one of the
XII dynasty pharaohs named Sesostris (2.106). In fact
the carving is Hittite, and is known locally as Eti Baba.
Some sculptures and other finds can be seen in the
local Manisa museum, and there are a few pieces in the
Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
XIV (1930) 472-73; G. E. Bean,
; E. Akurgal, Ancient
Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey
(3d ed. 1973) 132-33I
W. L. MAC DONALD