previous next

SMINTHEION Troas, Turkey.

Strabo (13. 604.46-605.49) calls Smintheion an Apollo sanctuary, which still in his time was in Chrysa, a site in S Troas. The cult image of Apollo Smintheus is supposed to have been fashioned by Skopas. The name Smintheus supposedly referred to the mouse that was fixed to the feet of the Apollo statue. According to Strabo there were several sanctuaries so named, located especially in Troas and on the nearby island of Tenedos. The sanctuary, i.e. the temple, in Chrysa was evidently the most important of these.

In 1853 the English captain Spratt discovered in the SW corner of Troas below the village then named Kulahli the remains of ancient Chrysa, at that time probably better preserved than they are now. The location is called Gülpinar today and lies at the end of a paved road 25 km long, leading W from Assos. The W coast of Troas (near the ancient Hamaxitos) is only 3 to 4 km distant, the coast of the Gulf of Edremit (Atramyttion) somewhat farther. Thirteen years after Spratt's discovery, the Society of Dilettanti commissioned R. P. Pullan to investigate the site of the Smintheion of Chrysa. In the autumn of 1866 Pullan's excavations were completed. His report appeared in 1881 (Antiquities of Ionia, IV, pp. 40ff, pls. 26-30). The plates depict not so much the state of the excavated findings as Pullan's reconstructions. In vol. 5 of the same work (1915) appeared some supplements to Pullan's publications by W. R. Lethaby (see below for further references). Since the temple edifice excavated by Pullan no longer exists and the other architectural remains have also almost all been lost, great importance has accrued to the early publication even if it no longer satisfies present-day points of view.

According to Pullan the Temple of Chrysa was an Ionic pseudo-dipteral structure (8 x 14 columns); the substructure of 11 steps has, however, been questioned (see Dinsmoor below, p. 272, n. 2). The stylobate was 40.4 by 22.5 m. In front of the cella to the E lay a deep pronaos or vestibule, in back, a short opisthodomos, each with two columns in antis. The narrow Ionic columns of 24 flutes stood upon an extraordinary base that represented a type of “Ephesian-Attic” mixed form (cf. H. C. Butler, Sardis, II, p. 114, fig. 11). The columns carried richly decorated Hellenistic capitals, one of which is still preserved. The visible parts of the building were of marble. There was in addition a decorated figure frieze (0.8 m in height) above the architrave. Pullan was not able to display the six frieze slabs in his publication. They have now for the most part been lost, along with the other remains of the temple, so that a few years ago only one complete slab in Gülpinar and a few fragments were rediscovered and could be published (see below, H. Weber). Depicted are a two-horse chariot with driver and two other persons, two battle scenes between armed men, and single male and female figures, which unfortunately have recently become detached from the relief.

To judge from the building ornamentation and the style of the frieze, the temple was constructed ca. 200 B.C. or in the early 2d c. Accordingly the cult image by Skopas (see below, Grace and Lacroix) must have been carried over from an older edifice into the later Hellenistic temple.

The building remains that can still be seen in the valley below the village of Gülpinar consist partly of brick walls and could belong to the site of Chrysa seen by Strabo.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

H. Schliemann, Reise in der Troas im Mai 1881 (1881) 15f; W. R. Lethaby, Greek Buildings Represented by Fragments in the British Museum (1908) 195; W. Leaf, Strabo on the Troad (1923) 240ff; RE 3 A (1927) 724 s.v. Sminthe (Bürchner); V. R. Grace, JHS 52 (1932) 228-32; L. Lacroix, Reproductions de statues sur les monnaies grecques (1949) 84ff, 318; W. B. Dinsmoor, Architecture of Ancient Greece (3d ed. 1950) 272f; J. M. Cook, “Archaeological Reports for 1959-60,” 30 fig. 2; H. Weber, IstMitt 16 (1966) 100-114.

H. WEBER

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