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Dick Osseman | profile | all galleries >> Xanthos or Xanthus - ancient city in Turkey tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Xanthos or Xanthus - ancient city in Turkey

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From the Enc. Britt. which has -us: modern Kinik principal city of ancient Lycia. It is situated on a cliff above the mouth of the Koca (Xanthus) River in what is now western Turkey. The early history of Xanthus is unclear: although it is mentioned in early Lycian inscriptions, no Bronze Age remains have been found within the city. According to the Iliad, the Lycians, led by the hero Sarpedon, were the most prominent allies of Troy in the Trojan War. Xanthus reappears in the historical records of the 6th century BC as the principal city of Lycia. About 540 BC it was besieged by Harpagus, general of the Persian king Cyrus. The Lycians, forced within their walls, collected their wives and children and burned them, together with their slaves and treasure, under their acropolis; then, attacking the Persians, they died fighting to the last man. Soon rebuilt and repopulated, the city flourished from the 5th century BC to 42 BC, when, besieged by the Romans under the command of Brutus, it repeated its heroic defense. The site has well-preserved ruins of a theatre, temples, and other structures. The most remarkable ruins of the city are huge rock-cut pillar tombs; in the 19th century the British archaeologist Sir Charles Fellows sent reliefs and sections of the tombs to the British Museum, where they are exhibited today. Upon one of the remaining pillar tombs is the longest and most important of inscriptions in the Lycian language.

The Wikipedia has "Xanthos", which I find in several guides also. Whatever, I travelled more often in these regions in the nineties, and several times past by bus, for an instant glimpsing some pillar tombs, then moving on. In that sense finally getting here in 2011 felt like finally hitting a target I had often just missed. The site turned out to be lovely. I went on to nearby Leotoon, another fine site. Adding captions I used some information from a site which shows how many pieces are elsewhere (British Museum). The View map option may help you locate things.
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