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BIZYE (Vize) Thrace, Turkey.

The home of the mythological king Tereus (Plin. HN 4.47; 10.70). It was the capital city of the last Thracian dynasty of the Odrysian line, the center of the client kingdom of the Astai, which lasted until A.D. 44 (Strab. 7. frag. 47[48]).

The ancient site, still occupied by the modern town, lies somewhat N of a line between Adrianople and Constantinople, on the present N highway through Turkish Thrace. Substantial remains of fortifications still rise along the W and S sides of the acropolis. The earliest parts of the wall circuit have been dated to the Hellenistic period. The appearance of the main gateway is known from a coin of the time of the emperor Caligula (Syll. Num. Graec. IV; Fitzwilliam Museum, No. 1662). It shows an arched opening between two round towers and suggests that a freestanding model of a quadriga may have stood over the arch. Numerous curved seat blocks in and around the acropolis are evidence of a nearby theater.

Reused blocks from Classical buildings can be seen in many houses of the modern town, and traces of a large building of Roman date were found (1938) in the quarter called Kaledibi, but no specific identifications can be made. At some distance from the citadel, on Çömlekçi Tepe, a villa of the 2d-3d c. was found. The discovery of numerous inscriptions has facilitated the reconstruction of the complicated family relationships in the last generations of the dynasty of Rhoemetalces.

Four km S of the town, along the banks of the river (Anadere or Boğazköy Deresi), a group of nine grave tumuli have been investigated. Tumulus A, the most important of the group, contained the barrel-vaulted chamber tomb of a wealthy and distinguished personage, quite probably one of the kings of Bizye. The tomb is a rectangle (4.62 x 3.12 m). The side walls rise 1.18 m to the springing of the vault, which at its center is 2.74 m above the floor. A large doorway (1.40 x 1.17 m) was sealed by an even larger stone slab, attached to the door frame with heavy iron staples. The tomb had not been robbed. Inside the burial chamber, a stone sarcophagus (more than 2 x 1 m) was fitted with a heavy stone lid, also attached by iron staples. The sarcophagus contained the ashes of the deceased and a rich assortment of articles in gold, silver, and bronze.

In the remainder of the tomb there were bronze vessels and lamp stands and a large number of ceramic vessels. The walls of the chamber were covered with painted stucco which had been seriously damaged by damp and earthquakes. Sufficient evidence was preserved to permit a complete restoration of the tomb in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

To the E of the city, a rock shrine sacred to the local Thracian divinities was uncovered in 1963. It consists of a rock temple, an altar and a sacred precinct, which can probably be dated to the 6th c. B.C.


M. Christodoulos, Perigraphe istoriographike tes Eparkhias Saranta Ekklesion (1881) 35ff; Th. Lakidis, Istoria Bizyes kai Medeias (1899); R. M. Dawkins & A.J.B. Wace, “Inscriptions from Bizye,” BSA 12 (1905-6) 175-83; R. M. Dawkins, “The modern carnival in Thrace,” JHS 26 (1906) 191-206I; E. Kalinka, “Altes und neues aus Thrakien,” ÖJh 23 (1926) Beiblatt, 118-27; “Haberler,” Belleten 2 (1938) 494I; “Archäologische Funde aus der Turkei,” AA (1939) 175; A. Müfid Mansel, “Trakya Hafriyati. Les fouilles de Thrace,” Belleten 4 (1940) 89-139IP; F. Dirimtekin, “Vize et ses antiquités,” Annual of the Aya Sofya Museum 5 (1963) 26-36I; 6 (1965) 17-18; N. Firatli, “Brief archaeological news, Finds in Thrace,” Annual of the Archaeological Museums of Istanbul 13-14 (1966) 228-29.


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