Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Euromos, Stratonikia

Not a lot of the city of Euromos is currently above ground but the temple is and it is very good indeed.

Euromos Temple of Zeus Euromos Temple of Zeus-1

Two of the sides of the temple are standing

Euromos Temple of Zeus Doorway

as is part of the doorway to the inner sanctum.

Euromos Temple of Zeus inside

which is quite well preserved.

Euromos Temple of Zeus view from rear

There are even a few columns remaining from a third side.

Euromos Temple of Zeus Altar Site

The site of the Altar is to one side of the temple

Euromos Temple of Zeus column bases under soil 

and there are plenty of remains and evidence of excavation around the rest of the site.

Euromos Temple of Zeus half finished columns

Some of the pillars are partly finished (as in the above photograph) and some are completely finished as in the picture below. Obviously money was a problem here as in other sites.

Euromos Temple of Zeus Pillar finished

Interestingly, many of the pillars have Euromos Temple of Zeus columns inscriptionsplaques carved into them upon which is an inscription detailing who paid for the pillar. Each of these three has an inscription in the middle, as do many of the others including one lying on the floor.

Euromos Temple of Zeus Three inscriptions

Euromos Temple of Zeus inscription on pillar

An inscription says “Menecrates, a physician and magistrate donated five of the 30 columns of this temple and Leo Quintus, a magistrate donated another seven

Euromos Temple of Zeus stone with ears and axe

On the rear side of the temple there is a small symbol on the stone. It protrudes from the stone rather than is excised into it      

Euromos Temple of Zeus ears closeup

which is a far hard thing to do. It looks like two ears and an axe or maybe a bird and something? Its purpose / symbolism is not known but the double headed axe was a symbol related to the patron god of stonemasons and a double headed axe and a pair of ears have been found else where dedicated to Apollo Carios.  

In the nearby town of Milas (ancient Mylasa)Mylasa Tomb is the Gumuskesen (Silver Purse) tomb built in the first century AD. It is said that it bears some resemblance to the tomb of Mausolosin nearby Bodrum (or would have done had that tomb not been demolished in 1745).

Mylasa Tomb insides

One can see through a gate into the inside where the sarcophagi would have been left

Mylasa Tomb Ceiling

and the interior of the roof is in good condition and shows fine carvings. The mausoleum in in the middle of a beautiful modern day park.


Having briefly stopped for lunch under an 800 year old tree,

800 year old tree

Stratonikeia awaits us as thunder reverberates around the mountains.

Stratonikeia Map

It is interesting for numerous reasons. It dates from maybe around 300BC or earlier, it became Roman in 167BC and had a difficult relationship with Rome for many years.

The ancient city lives side-by-side with the old Turkish village of Eskihisar which is mainly in ruins and nearly empty (bar the five people said to be living there when we explored). The whole area is devoted to opencast mining and it was said that an earthquake in the 1950s led to an attempt to empty the village so that the area could be mined. Then the full nature of the ancient city was discovered and the site was saved.


Hence there is a 19Cth Mosque on the edge of the site,

Stratonikeia village house and ruin

and old houses cheek by jowl with ancient remains

Stratonikeia village streetStratonikiea Village StreetStratonikeia village house Stratonikeia Ottoman Street

Stratonikeia Village House-3Stratonikeia village house-1

Stratonikea Old House Stratonikeia Village House-2

Stratonikeia Old House

some of which look almost as old as the buildings which would date two millennia before them.

On the way to the theatre, we walked past a

Stratonikeia road to theatre unknown on left

site undergoing excavation.

Stratonikeia Paint Shop Stratonikeia Paint Shop-1 Stratonikeia Paint Shop-2

The building contains a number of shops, this one is possibly a paint shop or an olive oil / wine shop there being the remains of two large amphorae embedded in concrete.

Stratonikeia excavation trench Stratonikeia drain pipes

Underneath the site lay numerous underground pipes – this area is still work very much in progress and therefore there will be a lot of finds yet to come.

Stratonikeia Theatre

The Theatre (seating around 15,000) is built into the hillside and whilst it is unremarkable, it is easily redeemed by a number of items.

Stratonikeia Theatre reliefof a Thyrsos

On a stone near the theatre stage is a carving of a Thyrsos which is a giant fennel topped by a pine cone – it has a religious role in ceremonies devoted to Dionysus.

Stratonikiea Greek Inscription Rita-002

There are blocks of stone with carved inscriptions on them

Stratonikeia Theatre seating

about 2/3rds of the original seating remains

Stratonikeia Theatre earthquake damageand one section clearly shows the ripple of an earthquake wave passing through the theatre.

Like many other buildings, the Bouleterion

Stratonikeia House beyond bouleterion ruins

sits adjacent to more modern buildings

Stratonikeia BouleterionStratonikeia Bouleterion-1Stratonikeia Bouleterion games in floorStratonikeia Bouleterion-2

and is typical of its type and also has the usual games carved into the floor.

And then you walk around the corner and see the carved writing on the side wall

Stratonikeia Bouleterion wall with price code

and you have come across an original copy of the Diocletian Price Code dated AD301.

Stratonikeia Bouleterion Price Code-2 Stratonikeia Bouleterion Price Code-3 Stratonikeia Bouleterion price code-1 Stratonikeia Bouleterion price code

Around the end of the second century AD, Emperor Gaius Aurelis Valerius Diocletianus Augustus decided that he could solve the problem of inflation by dictating what every item should cost throughout the empire. On penalty of death, everyone would have to sell at no more than the official price and buy at no more than the official price. So illiterate stone masons were sent out across the empire to carve the price code in Latin onto town hall walls (hence the spelling mistakes). However the townspeople were largely illiterate and many of those that could read would do so in Greek – it was a spectacular failure.

Reading the price code on these walls, you can just about work out what the prices of certain items were. For examples, Five of the best cauliflowers cost 4 denarii, the same price as ten second best cauliflowers.

A detailed treatise on the Price Code can be found here (in Latin and translated!)

The Colonnaded Street

The Colonnaded Street is a good example of

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street explanation how a street close to a city gate worked and what would have been in it. Like much of the site, it is under excavation.

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street-1

The excavations have uncovered exampled the crude reuse of sections of

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street showing reuse

original  building material at a later date,

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street Drain runing down middleand the city sewer running just beneath the surface of the street

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street Arch Gateway-1

At the city gates end (only one of them is still standing), there is a fountain originally positioned between the two gates and which would have been fed by an incoming aqueduct.

Stratonikiea Fountain

Because of the fountain, this is a place with numerous water pipes and other water related features including

Stratonikeia Nympaeum Water Pipe System Stratonikeia Colonaded Street Water Pipes

water pipes in the corner walls,

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street elbow joint

a stone elbow joint

Stratonikeia Elbow Joint

another stone elbow joint but this time with the original earthenware pipes in it

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street water pipes-2

a complicated arrangement showing an earthenware pipe inside of a marble column (perhaps) with an elbow joint at the end,

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street water pipes-1

a number of pipes spreading away underground from the fountain, presumably to feed other areas of the city,

and a piece of the stone wall around the fountain which shows a groove cut in it

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street Grove from bickets

possibly cause by the wear and tear of ropes hauling out buckets of water from the fountain.

Unusually, there is the remains of a mausoleum inside the city walls – for this to be the case, the person inside had to have been very important and classified as a hero.

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street hero tomb and later reuseOutside of the city gates is the city Mausoleum,

Stratonikeia Colonaded Street archway from outsde

with a fine example of a tomb

Stratonikeia Mausoleum Stratonikeia Mausoleum Door

the door still lying where it was cast aside by grave robbers and the inside showing the resultant empty disarray.

Stratonikeia Mausoleum Inside

The Gymnasium

At 180 metres long, the Gymnasium complex

Stratonikeia Gymnasium-2

is the longest known in Antiquity.

Stratonikeia Gymnasium Plan

Built around 175BC, it contained a number of

Stratonikeia Gymnasium

exercise rooms

Stratonikeia Gymnasium-1

and a semi circular classroom.

Stratonikeia Gymnasium Wall showing damage

Some of the walls show evidence of having been rebuilt following earthquake damage.

Stratonikeia Gymnasium Rita-1

The building also showed us for the first time on this trip, false semi-circular columns shaped into the ordinary stonework of the walls.

Stratonikeia Gymnasium Water Fountain Bowl-1

And tucked away in a corner lying forgotten and unnoticed is the base of a fountain with the drainage channel clearly evident.

Although rarely visited, the site is likely to be added to the UNESCO list of important historical sites in the near future.

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