City in Lycia
6 km SE of Dirmil. When first mentioned (Strab. 631)
Balbura appears as a member of a tetrapolis headed by
Kibyra, with one vote to Kibyra's two. This tetrapolis
was formed at an uncertain date in the 2d c. B.C., and
was dissolved by Murena ca. 82 B.C.; Balbura was then
attached to the Lycian League, and continued to be a
member as long as it lasted. Balbura, Bubon, and Oinoanda are listed by Pliny and Ptolemy as the cities of
Kabalia (called Kabalis by Strabo). The coins are Hellenistic of non-League types and imperial of Caligula.
Balbura is recorded by Hierokles and in the Byzantine
The ruins are on two hills and on the plain below. The
N hill rises some 125 m above the plain and almost 1500
m above sea level. The summit was defended by a ring
wall still standing up to 2.4 m high, built mainly of dry
rubble but with a stretch of polygonal masonry near
the top, 1.8 m thick; in general the wall is of late date
and made of reused material. On the S slope of this hill,
facing S, is a small theater of remarkable construction.
The cavea contains 16 rows of seats, interrupted in the
middle by a large mass of the native rock left unworked,
except that the ends of the rows are fitted to it. There is
no stage building, but the platform which it would occupy is supported by a high wall of heavily bossed polygonal masonry with buttresses of smooth rectangular
blocks. This polygonal work is of Roman date.
At the foot of the S hill is a second theater or theater-like building. The cavea, facing E, consists merely of the
hollow in the hillside, with a few seats cut here and
there in the rock. in place of the stage building is a
narrow platform of solid masonry supported on arches,
some 45 m long, with a small platform in the middle
projecting towards the cavea. No permanent stone building seems to have been erected on this substructure.
Little remains of the public buildings in the plain:
they included a temple of Nemesis, and an agora with
a triple-arched gate on its W side dedicated to Septimius
Severus and Geta. inscriptions refer also to an aqueduct
and a reservoir.
The tombs are of various kinds, but none of Lycian
type. Some are built bombs, others of Carian type; still
others are in the form of a coffin set in a recess cut in
the rock, or a sarcophagus with a recumbent lion on
T.A.B. Spratt & E. Forbes, Travels in
(1847) 267-71; E. Petersen & F. von Luschan,
Reisen in Lykien
II (1889) 183-86; R. Heberdey & E.
Kalinka, Bericht über zwei Reisen
G. E. BEAN