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BURUNCUK (“Larisa”) Aiolis, Turkey.

Ruins at 28 km N of Izmir. These ruins are usually identified with Larisa, a very old city, the principal place in the region before the coming of the Aiolian Greeks. Of the various cities of the name, this is perhaps the one referred to by Homer as fertile Larisa, home of warlike Pelasgians (Il. 2.840-41; cf. Strab. 620). These Pelasgians of Larisa resisted the Greeks on their arrival, but were eventually overcome, and Larisa became one of the twelve cities of the Aiolian League. After 546 B.C. she acquired the name of Egyptian Larisa owing to the settlement by Cyrus of some Egyptian allies of Croesus. In the Delian Confederacy Larisa was assessed for tribute, at least in 425 B.C., but there is no evidence that she ever paid. In 399 Larisa successfully resisted Thibron's attempt to liberate her from the Persians (Xen. Hell. 3.1.7). Included in the Attalid kingdom, the city at some time during the Hellenistic period lost her independence; the cause is not known. Strabo said the place was deserted; Pliny (HN 5.121) wrote “fuerat Larisa.” On the other hand we find a Larisa still existing in the 2d c. A.D., when Aelius Aristides passed through on his way from Smyrna to Pergamum (Or. 51.4).

The identity of the site has been challenged in favor of another a few km to the E at Yanik Köy, previously identified with Neonteichos. The excavations have provided no evidence to decide the question.

On the hill above Buruncuk, some 100 m high, remains of three building periods have been distinguished: a pre-Greek city wall enclosing a remarkably extensive area; second, the fortification of the acropolis about 500 B.C.; and finally a complete reconstruction in the 4th c. The walls still standing, in polygonal and ashlar masonry, are of exceptionally fine construction. The main gate, on the N, is approached by a winding road up the hillside; much of the paving remains.

Among the closely packed buildings in the interior, of which only foundations survive, two temples and a palace have been identified. The houses are mainly of megaron type, converted in some cases to the form of a peristyle house. Water was in early times supplied by wells; these still survive and have been used until recently. Later, perhaps ca. 500 B.C., an aqueduct was constructed to bring water from the mountain to the E.

The necropolis, E of the city, comprised mostly tombs of tumulus type; a low ring wall of polygonal masonry was surmounted by a cone of earth, with the grave, made of stone slabs set on edge, placed in the middle. In many cases the original ring has been enlarged by the addition of one or more segments of circles. A few of the tombs are rectangular. The necropolis as a whole is dated by the sherds to the 6th c. B.C. Over 100 tumuli have been found, but only a few may be recognized today.

Yanik Köy has never been excavated; little can be seen beyond a stretch of polygonal city wall and a number of terrace walls on the hillside.


B. Boehlau & K. Schefold, Larisa am Hermos (1940) (Buruncuk); J. M. Cook, BSA 53-54 (1958-59) 20 (Yanik Köy); G. E. Bean, Aegean Turkey (1966) 97-102.


hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.1.7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.32
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