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TELMESSUS or TELMISSUS (Τελμησσός, Τελμισσός, or Τελμισός: Eth. Τελμισσεύς, Τελμησσεύς).


A flourishing and prosperous city in the west of Lycia, was situated near Cape Telmissis (Strab. xiv. p.665), or Telmissias (Steph. B. sub voce Τελμισσός), on a bay which derived from it the name of Sinus Telmissicus. (Liv. 37.16; Lucan 8.248.) On the south-west of it was Cape Pedalium, at a distance of 200 stadia. Its inhabitants were celebrated in ancient times for their skill as diviners, and were often consulted by the Lydian kings. (Hdt. 1.78; comp. Arrian, Arr. Anab. 2.3.4.) In the time of Strabo, however, who calls it a small town (πολίχνη), it seems to have fallen into decay; though at a later period it appears to have been an episcopal see. (Hierocl. p. 684; comp. Pomp. Mela, 1.15: Plin. Nat. 5.28; Ptol. 5.3.2; Plb. 22.27; Studiasm. Mar. M. § § 255, 256; Scylax, p. 39, where it is miswritten Θεανισσός.) Considerable remains of Telmessus still exist at Myes or Meis; and those of a theatre, porticoes, and sepulchral chambers in the living rock, are among the most remarkable in all Asia Minor. (Leake, Asia Minor, p. 128; Fellows, Asia Minor, p. 243, where some representations of the remains of Telmessus are figured; Lycia, p. 106, foll.)


A small town of Caria, at a distance of 60 stadia from Halicarnassus, is likewise sometimes called Telmessus, and sometimes Telmissus. (Suid. s. v.; Etym. Mag. s. v.; Arrian, Arr. Anab. 1.25.8; Cic. de Div. 1.4. 1; Plin. Nat. 5.29, 30.2.) The Carian Tehnessus has often been confounded with the Lycian, and it is even somewhat doubtful whether the famous Telmessian soothsayers belonged to the Carian or the Lycian town. But the former must at all events have been an obscure place; and that it cannot have been the same as the latter is clear from the statement of Polemo in Suidas, that it was only 60 stadia from Halicarnassus. [L.S]

hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 1.78
    • Lucan, Civil War, 8.248
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.29
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 30.2
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.28
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 16
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, 1.4
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 1.25.8
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 2.3.4
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