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KIBYRA MAIOR (Horzum [Gölhisar]) Phrygia, Turkey.

About 59 km S of Denizli. According to Strabo 631, the Kibyrates were said to be descended from certain Lydians who occupied the Kabalis and were driven by the neighboring Pisidians to the site which became their permanent home. Strabo adds that Kibyra prospered by reason of its good government, which he calls a moderate tyranny, and controlled a wide territory extending from Pisidia and Milyas as far as Lycia and the Rhodian Peraea.

At some time during the 2d c. B.C. a tetrapolis was formed under the leadership of Kibyra, comprising the neighboring cities of Bubon, Balbura and Oinoanda. This tetrapolis was finally broken up after the first Mithridatic War. A principal industry at Kibyra was metallurgy; Strabo remarks it as a peculiarity of the region that iron was easily worked there. We hear also of a guild of cordwainers.

In A.D. 23 the city was visited by a severe earthquake. Tiberius came to the rescue with a remission of taxation for three years, and assistance in the rebuilding was given by Claudius; in gratitude Kibyra added the name of Caesarea to her own, instituted Caesarean games, and began a new dating era from the year 25. In A.D. 129 Hadrian, on his journey through the eastern provinces, visited Kibyra and conferred “great honors” on the people (IGRR I 418). Coinage began after 167 B.C. and continued down to Gallienus. The population was divided into tribes, apparently five in number, named after individual citizens who are thought to have been their presidents for the time being.

The site was first identified in 1842. It stands about 1050 m above sea level, half an hour's walk from the village. The site is extensive but unimpressive, occupying a low ridge E-W, which seems never to have been enclosed by a wall in antiquity though there are remnants of a mediaeval wall around the city center.

In the upper (W) part of the city is the theater, facing a little S of E, in very fair preservation. It is somewhat above average size, with something over 40 rows of seats and a single diazoma. The seats are largely preserved, though overgrown and buried in the lower part. The stage building has collapsed; of the doors leading onto the stage two are preserved, and the uprights of a third. An arched entrance survives at orchestra level, and a smaller rectangular entrance near the top of the cavea. The top ten rows of seats seem to have been added later than the others. The theater is of Graeco-Roman type, with the cavea rather more than a semicircle.

Some 90 m to the S of the theater is the odeum, also in good preservation. It forms a segment of a circle with diameter of 17 m. The front wall stands complete up to its cornice, and is surmounted by a row of large windows partially preserved. It is pierced at ground level by five arched doors, the middle one larger than the rest, and a rectangular door at either end. The curved wall of the auditorium projects slightly at each end beyond the front wall; in the projection is a small window high up, and just inside the building is another window. The presence of these windows suggests that the odeum was roofed over. Spratt counted 13 rows of seats visible at that time; there are certainly more buried. Nothing is now to be seen of any stage or platform for performers. In front of the odeum is a long terrace wall some 24 m high, of irregular ashlar masonry.

Below the theater to the E is the city center, but the numerous public buildings are now utterly destroyed and none has been identified. Lower down, at the E end of the city, the stadium survives in fair condition, running approximately N-S. The S end is rounded; at the N end was a triple-arched entrance. The seats on the W side rest on the slope of the hill, but are much overgrown; the arcade at the top remains in part. On the E side a low embankment, faced with a rough wall, carried a few rows of seats. The stadium is of full length, with an arena 197 m long.

On the E a fine paved street of tombs led up to the city, entering by a triumphal arch in the Doric order. The tombs are mostly sarcophagi, one or two of which are decorated with gladiatorial combats in relief. At the W end of the city a ruined Christian church reminds us that the bishopric of Kibyra ranked first among those of the eparchy of Caria under the metropolitan of Staurupolis (Aphrodisias).


T.A.B. Spratt & E. Forbes, Travels in Lycia (1847) I 253-60; E. Petersen & F. von Luschan, Reisen in Lykien (1889) II 186-92; G. E. Bean in BSA 51 (1956) 136-49.


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