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OLYMPOS (Deliktaş) Turkey.

City on the E coast of Lycia near Çirali, close to a mountain of the same name, probably the modern Tahtali Dağ. Its existence is not attested before the 2d c. B.C., when it issued coins of Lycian League type; about 100 B.C. it was one of the six members of the League which had three votes in the assembly (Strab. 665, quoting Artemidoros). A little later it was occupied by the pirate chieftain Zeniketes until he was suppressed by Servilius Isauricus in 78 B.C.; Cicero called it an ancient city, rich and well furnished in every way. Later it was readmitted to the League, and remained a respected member under the Empire. In the hills nearby was (and still is) the remarkable perpetual fire which issues from the ground; the spot, sometimes called in antiquity Chimaera, was sacred to Hephaistos, whose cult was most important at Olympos. In the 2d c. A.D. the city received from Opramoas of Rhodiapolis a donation of 12,000 den. for the festival of the god. Evidently those authors (Pliny, Solinus) who speak of Olympos as having ceased to exist are wide of the mark; the mistake seems to have arisen from a misconception of the effects of the capture by Servilius. Among the bishops of Olympos the most distinguished was Methodius, about A.D. 300. The coinage, apart from the League types, is confined, as usual in Lycia, to the time of Gordian III.

The ruins lie on either bank at the mouth of a small stream, and are heavily overgrown; the principal occupation was on the N. The acropolis hill, low but steep, is covered with remains of buildings of poor quality and of late date; a little inland is a lake, now hardly more than a marsh, on whose shore stands a handsome doorway, apparently belonging to a temple of which nothing more survives. There are remains of other buildings in the heavy growth. On the S bank of the stream are the remains of a quay (?) in coursed polygonal masonry, a small theater, poorly preserved, and the main necropolis, where a multitude of tombs has produced 217 inscriptions. Many of the tombs are vaulted chambers coated with white plaster; none are of Lycian type, and Lycian names are uncommon in the epitaphs. Olympos was not by origin a Lycian city, and no Lycian inscriptions have been found there.

The Hephaistion (Chimaera, called Yanar by the Turks) is a walk of an hour and a half to the NW some 250 m above sea level, and is approached by an ancient paved way. The fire is quite small, burning in a hole in the ground, and is unspectacular by day. Of the sanctuary of Hephaistos nothing remains but a few inscriptions, none relating to the fire or sanctuary; there are also some shapeless fragments of masonry from ruined buildings of the late Middle Ages.


F. Beaufort, Karamania (1811) 35; T.A.B. Spratt & E. Forbes, Travels in Lycia I (1847) 191-94; TAM II, 3 (1944) pp. 362-63, 408-9; G. E. Bean, Turkey's Southern Shore (1968) 165-73.


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