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BELEVI Ionia, Turkey.

This village in the territory of Ephesos, some 16 km NE of Selçuk, has given its name to two interesting monuments situated about 3 km to the N. One a mausoleum and the other a tumulus, these tombs stand close above the road from Belevi to Tire.

The Belevi Mausoleum consists of a great cubical core, cut from the living rock of the hillside and faced with marble on all four sides, with steps at the foot and a Doric triglyph frieze at the top. On the surface of this rock cube (ca. 15 x 24 m) stood a rectangular chamber of marble with a Corinthian colonnade. Little of this remains today, but the fragments permit an approximate reconstruction. Above the colonnade winged lions were set in pairs facing each other across a globular vase, and above the chamber there probably rose a pyramidal roof with a chariot and pair at the summit.

The grave chamber itself, however, was hidden in the rear of the rock cube, where it is separated from the hillside by only a narrow space. The chamber was formed by cutting away the entire rock cube from top to bottom, the sides tapering towards the top; in the lower part of this cut the actual grave chamber was installed, the trapezoidal space above remaining empty. The marble facade was carried right across this cut, rendering it invisible from outside. In the grave chamber stood a single large sarcophagus with the deceased shown reclining on the lid; the decoration is very elegant, showing eleven Sirens in relief. The head of the reclining figure had broken off, but was found in the chamber in somewhat damaged condition.

There is no inscription and neither the date nor the identity of the occupant is known. Antiochos II, who died in 246 B.C. at Ephesos, has been suggested but the apparently Persian influence shown in the form of the winged lions has led scholars more recently to believe that the monument dates rather to the Persian period in the 4th c. B.C.

The Belevi Tumulus stands nearby on the summit of a hill of moderate height, whose top has been converted into a tumulus tomb. On the summit itself a number of scattered squared blocks suggest that some kind of monument stood there, but no idea can be formed of its nature. A little below the summit a handsome wall of bossed ashlar has been carried round the hill and still stands in places to a height of 3 or 4 m. Close by on the SW is the quarry from which the blocks were obtained. On the S side the hill is pierced by a tunnel some 18 m long, formed not by boring through the rock but by cutting down from above; it was then roofed with large slabs and lined with masonry, and the space above filled with earth. The entrance was concealed by the ring wall, which was carried past it without interruption. The tunnel leads to two grave chambers situated one behind the other near the center of the tumulus. They were constructed in the same manner as the tunnel, with strong provision to resist the thrust from above. The inner chamber is roofed with a corbeled arch, and in the outer the span is reeach is a relieving chamber. There is no inscription and no trace of the actual burial, so that here again the identity of the deceased remains unknown. Dates have been proposed ranging from the earliest antiquity to Hellenistic times; recent opinion favors the 4th c. B.C.


F. Miltner, Ephesos (1958) 10-12; G. E. Bean, Aegean Turkey (1967) 182-84.


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