previous next

TELMESSOS (Fethiye, formerly Makri) Lycia, Turkey.

Its origin is uncertain; although five inscriptions in the Lycian language and script have been found there, the city was not always, especially in early times, reckoned a part of Lycia. In the Athenian tribute lists in the 5th c., Telmessos and the Lycians are listed separately; in the mid 4th c. the Lycians under their dynast Perikles fought against the Telmessians and apparently brought them into Lycia, for pseudo-Skylax reckons Telmessos as Lycian. After Magnesia in 189 B.C. by the treaty of Apamea, Telmessos was given neither to Eumenes nor, with the rest of Lycia, to the Rhodians. It remained in the hands of a certain Ptolemy son of Lysimachos, who had received it as a gift from Ptolemy III in 240 B.C. After 168 B.C., on the other hand, it is clear from the coins that Telmessos was a normal member of the Lycian League, and remained so thereafter.

In 334 B.C. the city submitted peaceably to Alexander by agreement; not long afterwards, however, his officer Nearchos the Cretan was obliged to capture the city from a certain Antipatrides, which he did by means of a stratagem (Polyaenus, Strat. 5.35). In the Lycian League, Telmessos was not among the six cities of the first or three-vote class; under the Empire, however, it had the rank of metropolis of Lycia. In Byzantine times its bishop ranked second under the metropolitan of Myra. The name seems to have been changed for a while to Anastasiupolis, and from the 9th c. to Makri. Coins were perhaps struck at Telmessos under the dynasts in the 5th c.; the later coinage is not abundant, and ceases altogether under the Empire.

There is some evidence that divination was practiced at Telmessos (Suidas s.v.), but most of the numerous references to Telmessian seers relate rather to the Carian city of the same name.

The surviving monuments are today confined to the tombs. The acropolis hill, steep and rocky, carries only a mediaeval castle, and of the two theaters, one of which was described by Spratt in 1842 as “very perfect,” nothing now remains. The tombs are numerous and of various ages; two in particular are remarkable. The first of these is cut in the hillside just outside the town on the E, and is identified by its inscription as the tomb of one Amyntas; it has the form of an Ionic temple with pediment and acroteria. Other similar tombs are to be seen close by. The second, which stands in the town, is a superb example of a Lycian sarcophagus, ornamented with reliefs on the crest and sides of the lid.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

C. Fellows, Asia Minor (1840) 244-46; T.A.B. Spratt & E. Forbes, Travels in Lycia (1847) I 2-4; E. Petersen & F. von Luschan, Reisen in Lykien (1889) 135-44; TAM II.1 (1920) 1-3.

G. E. BEAN

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: