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TELMESSOS Caria, Turkey.

One of the eight Lelegian towns incorporated by Mausolos in Halikarnassos. It was noted especially for an oracle of Apollo and a priestly family of diviners. These Telmessian soothsayers were consulted by the Lydian kings (Hdt. 1.78.84) and are frequently mentioned. The town was situated 60 stades from Halikarnassos (Suidas s.v.) in a particularly fertile country (Cic. Div. 1.42.94). It was formerly believed to be located at the Lelegian town site on the Karadağ above the village of Belen, but a more probable identification is with another Lelegian site near Gürice some 3 km W of Müsgebi; both sites are at the required distance from Halikarnassos, but the latter accords much better with Cicero's description than the wild and bare hillsides of the Karadağ. Apollo Telmisseus is figured on an imperial coin of Halikarnassos and is mentioned in a local inscription (Michel 459) as “founder of the race”—that is, of the family of diviners. After the incorporation into Halikarnassos, Telmessos seems to have survived merely as a small community centering around the Temple of Apollo.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

W. M. Paton & J. Myres in JHS 14 (1894) 373; G. E. Bean & J. M. Cook in BSA 50 (1955) 151-55.

G. E. BEAN

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