On the E coast
of Lycia, 50 km S-SW of Antalya. Founded according
to tradition in 690 B.C. by the Rhodians, Phaselis was the
principal commercial port on this coast, at least until
the foundation of Attaleia, and shared in the Hellenion
at Naukratis in the 6th c. At this time Phaselis was not
reckoned as belonging to Lycia, but rather to Pamphylia,
as the true and original Lycia did not extend E of the
valley of the Alâkir.
Freed against her will from Persian rule by Kimon in
468 (Plut. Cimon
12), the city was enrolled in the Delian
Confederacy, with a high tribute equal to that of Ephesos. When Mausolos acquired control of Lycia Phaselis
aided him against the Lycian rebellion under Perikles,
and concluded a treaty with him about 360 B.C. The city
surrendered peaceably to Alexander, who spent some
time there in the spring of 333. Taken by siege from
Antigonos by Ptolemy in 309, Phaselis remained a Ptolemaic possession until Lycia was overrun by Antiochos
III in 197. After Magnesia in 189 Lycia was given to
Rhodes, but the gift was rescinded in 167 by the Senate,
and Lycia was left free. As a result of this Rhodian
occupation Phaselis, being a Rhodian colony, was officially attached to Lycia, and after 167 appears as a
member of the Lycian League, striking coins of League
type and adopting its magistracies. About 100 B.C., however, Phaselis seems to have been independent (Strab.
667, apparently quoting Artemidoros), and soon after
that date was occupied by the pirate Zeniketes until he
was suppressed by Servilius Isauricus in 78. After this
the city was taken back into the League and continued
to function as a full member from then on, her citizens
taking predominantly Lycian names. The impoverishment
caused by the pirates (Lucan, Pharsalia
249ff) was repaired under the Empire, and a visit by Hadrian about
A.D. 129 was splendidly celebrated. Coinage continues
down to Gordian III (238-44).
The site is now deserted and overgrown; it has recently
been investigated but not excavated. It comprises a headland some 30 m high, with bays on N and S, and ground
to the W and N. The city had three harbors (Strab. 666),
still recognizable. The first, in the S bay, is the only one
now used, and only by small craft; it was protected by
a breakwater some 100 m long, of which parts survive
under water. Since Pseudo-Skylax in the 4th c. B.C. mentions only one harbor at Phaselis, it is likely that this
was the earliest of the three. The N harbor is more of
an open roadstead, with reefs offshore connected by an
artificial breakwater; there are no remains of other port
installations. The third harbor lies between the other two
at the N foot of the acropolis hill; it is nearly circular
and was closed on the E by a mole; the city wall ran
over it, with an entrance 18 m wide towards the S end.
On the S bank is a stretch of ancient quay some 40 m
long; ships moored to bollards which projected horizontally from its face.
The city wall is preserved only in short stretches. It
ran all round the acropolis hill, across the entrance to
the closed harbor, along the S shore of the N harbor,
and inland for some 45 m to the W; on the seaward
side of the acropolis it has been carried away by erosion
of the cliffs.
The city center lay at the foot of the hill on the landward side. Its main feature is a paved avenue extending
from near the S harbor to the closed harbor, with an
obtuse bend in the middle, and lined with buildings on
both sides. It is 20-24 m wide, including raised sidewalks.
At its SW end stood a triple-arched gateway, now collapsed, which bore a dedication to Hadrian; it was erected for his visit in 129 or 131.
The buildings flanking this avenue date, insofar as
they are datable, to the 1st and 2d c. A.D., but later other
buildings were added, in some cases overlying the earlier
ones. Inside the gate of Hadrian on the right stood a
group of rooms, and on the left a large open square,
free of buildings, separated from the street by a row of
three large chambers; between the second and third an
elegant arched doorway is still standing. Farther ahead
on the left is the Rectangular Agora, so identified by an
inscription; a small church of basilican form was later
inserted in its NW part. Across the street is a building
complex which may have been a small bath building,
adjoined on the N by a building of unknown purpose
which projects into the street. The N part of the street
was bordered on each side by a row of small chambers,
probably shops; the row on the left (W) side is better
preserved, but has been overlaid by an early Byzantine
bath, to which is attached a columned building of uncertain purpose.
The surface of the acropolis, now heavily overgrown,
shows many traces of houses, streets, and cisterns; these
are of Roman or later date, but sherds go back to the
4th c. B.C. Two buildings are recognizable towards the S
end, together with a round cistern, well preserved, with
two of its roof slabs still in place. On the N slope of
the hill is the theater, in fair condition but overgrown.
The analemmata are in good ashlar masonry and date
apparently from the Early Empire. The stage building
stands up to 7 m high, but the masonry, especially in
the upper parts, is of inferior quality. Five monumental
doors opened on to the wooden stage; below these a
row of six small doors opened onto the orchestra. On the
hillside below are remains of a stepped path leading up
to the theater.
To the N of this inhabited area is an extensive marsh,
evidently the lake mentioned by Strabo (l.c.
). Its water
was replaced or supplemented by an aqueduct leading S
from a spring, now dry, in the slope of the hill to the
N; it ran as far as a knoll across the street from the
theater. It is of the familiar Roman form, its arches well
preserved in the S part, and dates from the Early Empire.
On the hill just N of the city, 70 m high, is a separate
fortified enclosure of Hellenistic date. Its wall is preserved only on the S side; it is 1.7 m thick and stands
up to 3 m in places; the masonry is of variable style.
Other remains include a gate approached by a zigzag
path, a rock sanctuary to the E, and to the SW the foundations of a building with Doric columns which is probably either a temple or a monumental tomb. On the S slopes of the hill and by the shore of the N harbor are
other built tombs, but they are not of characteristic
F. Beaufort, Karamania
C. Fellows, Asia Minor
(1838) 211; TAM
II, 3 (1944)
pp. 413-16; G. E. Bean, Turkey's Southern Shore
151-64; H. Schläger & J. Schäfer, AA
G. E. BEAN