(“Larisa”) Aiolis, Turkey.
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
. 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
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
(1940) (Buruncuk); J. M. Cook, BSA
(1958-59) 20 (Yanik Köy); G. E. Bean, Aegean Turkey
G. E. BEAN