, or Μύλασα
: Eth. Μυλασεύς
), the most important town of Caria, was situated in a fertile plain, in the west of the country, at the foot of a mountain, abounding in beautiful white marble, of which its buildings and temples were constructed. Hence the city was exceedingly beautiful on account of its white marble temples and porticoes, and many wondered that so fine a city was built at the foot of a steep overhanging mountain.
The two most splendid temples in the city were those of Zeus Osogos and Zeus Labrandenus, the latter of which stood in the neighbouring village of Labranda, on a hill, and was connected with the city by a road called the sacred, 60 stadia in length, along which the processions used to go to the temple.
The principal citizens of Mylassa were invested with the office of priests of Zeus for life.
The city was very ancient, and is said to have been the birthplace and residence of the Carian kings before Halicarnassus was raised to the rank of a capital. Its nearest point on the coast was Physcus, at a distance of 80 stadia, which was the port of Mylassa; though Stephanus B. calls Passala its port-town. (Strab. xiv. p.658
, &c.; Aeschyl. Fragm.
48, where it is called Mylas; Steph. B. sub voce
; Hdt. 1.171
. Ptol. 5.2.20
; Plin. Nat. 5.29
; Paus. 8.10.3
The splendour of Mylassa is attested by an [p. 2.386]
anecdote preserved in Athenaeus (viii. p. 348) of the witty musician Stratonicus, who, on coming to Mylassa, and observing its many temples, but few inhabitants, placed himself in the middle of the market-place, and exclaimed, “Hear me, oh ye temples.” As to the history of this city, we know that Philip of Macedonia, the son of Demetrius, endeavoured in vain to obtain possession of it; and it was probably to reward the place for its opposition to him that the Romans, after the war with Antiochus, declared its citizens free (Plb. 16.24
; Liv. 38.39
In a petty war with the neighbouring Euromians, the Mylassans were victorious, and took some of their towns; but were afterwards compelled to submit to the Rhodians (Plb. 30.5
; Liv. 45.25
In the time of Strabo, the town appears to have been still flourishing, and two eminent orators, Euthydemus and Hybreas, exercised considerable influence over their fellowcitizens. Hybreas, however, incurred the enmity of Labienus, his political adversary, whose pretensions he tried to resist.
But he was obliged to take refuge in Rhodes; whereupon Labienus marched with an army against Mylassa, and did great damage to the town. (Strab. xiv. p.660
It is mentioned, however, as late as the time of Hierocles (p. 688).
It is generally admitted that the site of the ancient Mylassa is marked by the modern Melasso
where considerable ancient remains have been observed by travellers.
A temple, erected by the people of Mylassa in honour of Augustus and Roma, considerable ruins of which had existed until modern times, was destroyed about the middle of last century by the Turks, who built a new mosque with the materials (Pococke, Travels,
tom. ii. p. 2. 100.6.) Chandler (Asia Minor,
p. 234) saw beneath the hill, on the east side of the town, an arch or gateway of marble, of the Corinthian order; a broad marble pavement, with vestiges of a theatre; and round the town ranges of columns, the remains of porticoes. (Comp. Leake, Asia Minor,
p. 230; Fellows, Journal of an Exc.
p. 260, Discoveries in Lycia,
p. 67, who saw many ancient remains scattered about the place; Rasche, Lex. Num.
3.1. p. 999. &c.)
|COIN OF MYLASSA.|