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LETOUM Lycia, Turkey.

A city 4 km SW of Xanthos, near the W bank of the river, and 3 km from the present coastline. The site was occupied from the 8th c. B.C., but archaic and Classical levels are beneath the modern water table. There are early dedications to Leto, Artemis, Apollo, and the Nymphs; and later inscriptions indicate that the federal sanctuary of the Lycian League was established here. Since 1962 it has been the scene of annual excavation, which in 1973 yielded a lengthy trilingual inscription in Aramaic, Greek, and Lycian.

The main temple is an Ionic peripteros (6 x 11) of local limestone, facing S and datable to 150-100 B.C. A similar temple is E of it, slightly smaller and later in date. Between the two temples, and much earlier than either, is a small oblong building enclosing a rocky outcrop. The precinct is delimited on W and N by stoas, on the E by rising ground; to S and W the ground drops sharply, and excavation (below the water table) has disclosed a large Nymphaeum (3d c. A.D.), which replaced a Hellenistic building, both evidently providing the architectural framework around a water supply fed by the sacred spring (cf. Ov. Met. 6.317-81). North of the precinct a theater of Hellenistic form and date was built against the hillside; there is no trace of a stage building, and access to the cavea is by two barrel-vaulted passages. The stadium (known from inscriptions) has not yet been found, and the limits of the settlement have not been defined.

The sanctuary became the site of a small Christian community, and there is evidence that the main temple was deliberately destroyed. Column drums from it were subsequently incorporated in a 6th c. (monastic?) church, whose outbuildings partly overlay the Nymphaeum. There is no evidence for occupation after the mid 7th c., a time of Arab raids. There is a small museum on the site.


O. Benndorf & G. Niemann, Reisen in Lykien und Karien, I (1884) 118f; TAM 2, 1, 118f and 2, 2, 180f; G. B. Bean, JHS 68 (1948) 45; H. Metzger, “Fouilles du Létoon de Xanthos (1962-65),” RA (1966) lOlf; id., “Fouilles du Létoon de Xanthos (1966-1969),” RA (1970) 307-22; id., annual reports in TürkArkDerg, AnatSt, and (apud M. I. Mellink) AJA since 1963.

For the trilingual inscription, cf. CRAI (1974) 1. 82-93, 115-25, 139-49.


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