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Dick Osseman | profile | all galleries >> Xanthos or Xanthus >> Harpies tomb tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Harpies tomb

At the western edge of the theatre stand two tombs, one of them is named the Harpies Tomb. It has a height of 8,87 m. and a base of 5,43 m. The original reliefs have been taken to the British Museum, but in 1957 cement casts have been installed, so at least you get an impression of its splendour. For extensive information check the Wikipedia entry.

From the Wikipedia: "The Harpy Tomb is a marble chamber from a pillar tomb that stands in the abandoned city of Xanthos, capital of ancient Lycia, a region of southwestern Anatolia in what is now Turkey. Dating to approximately 480–470 BC, the chamber topped a tall pillar and was decorated with marble panels carved in bas-relief. It may be the tomb of Kybernis, a king of Xanthos.

The marble chamber is carved in the Greek Archaic style. Along with much other material in Xanthos it is heavily influenced by Greek art, but there are also indications of non-Greek influence in the carvings. The monument takes its name from the four carved female winged figures, resembling Harpies. The identities of the carved figures and the meaning of the scenes depicted are uncertain, but it is generally now agreed that the winged creatures are not Harpies. The Lycians absorbed much of Greek mythology into their own culture and the scenes may represent Greek deities, but it is also possible they are unknown Lycian deities. An alternative interpretation is that they represent scenes of judgement in the afterlife and scenes of supplication to Lycian rulers.

The carvings were removed from the tomb in the 19th century by archaeologist Charles Fellows and taken to England. Fellows visited Lycia in 1838 and reported finding the remains of a culture that until then was virtually unknown to Europeans. After obtaining permission from the Turkish authorities to remove stone artefacts from the region, Fellows collected a large amount of material from Xanthos under commission from the British Museum in London, where the reliefs are now on display."
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Xanthos December 2013 4301 panorama.jpg