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Hellenistic Karia

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Carbon Jan-Mathieu van Bremen Riet

Part two. Hekatomnid Karia and its legacy

Mylasa and its territory

Gary Reger

Texte intégral

1By the middle of the second century BC, after the Romans had ended the Rhodians’control of Karia and Lykia in 167 BC as punishment for their audacious offer to broker a peace between the Romans and Perseus, king of Makedon, Mylasa had become the pre-eminent polis of south-central Karia. Two important local sanctuaries, that of the indigenous god Sinuri south-east of Mylasa proper and that of Zeus Labraundos to the north, were under Mylasean control. The Mylaseans pursued at least one local war of conquest (or revenge) against their smaller neighbors with the help of bigger towns. They absorbed others in sympoliteiai. This status may have seemed to befit the polis that had been the hometown of the Hekatomnids – even if Maussollos had deserted it for Halikarnassos on the sea. But in fact Mylasa in the fifth and fourth centuries BC had been a considerably smaller entity, hemmed in by small settlements of various kinds, not even in full control of the valley of the Sarı Çay river which might seem to constitute its ‘natural’ territory. The story of Mylasean expansion in the later third and early second centuries is known to us almost entirely from inscriptions. It is a story of regional disputes, of tensions between local aristocracies, of jockeying for position, prestige, and power, of appeals to kings.

  • 1 This paper is the third prolegomenon to my book on Mylasa; the others are Reger 2004 and Ashton an (...)

2In general, Mylasa seems to have undergone two important pulses of local expansionism. The first, which occurred in the fourth century BC, involved the acquisition of the so-called Little Sea, ΜικραÌ Θαìλασσα (assuming that the usual interpretation of the evidence is correct; we will explore the question in a moment). The second, whose dating has been a matter of controversy, entailed the absorption by sympoliteia of several neighboring poleis, including Olymos, Hydai, and, temporarily, Euromos, and the wresting of control over the two important sanctuaries, of Sinuri and Zeus Labraundos1.

The problem of the ‘little sea’

  • 2 Rhodes & Osborne 2003, 456-63 no. 90 (I. Iasos 30).
  • 3 Delrieux 2001. Problems I leave aside include whether we can identify the brothers with persons at (...)
  • 4 See the discussion in Delrieux 2001.

3The events connected with the recovery by Iasos of the Little Sea are well known thanks to a Iasian decree discovered in the eighteenth century on Chios by R. Chandler2. The text honors two Iasian brothers, Gorgos and Minnion, who ‘having conversed concerning the Little Sea with king Alexander have conveyed it and returned it to the demos’, υπεÌρ τῆς μικρῆς θαλαìσσης διαλεχθεìντες Ἀλεξαìνδρωι βασιλεῖ ἐκομιìσαντο [κ]αιÌ ἀπεìδοσαν τῶι δηìμωι (A, 5-8). The many problems this text raises have been discussed endlessly in the scholarship, most recently in an important article by F. Delrieux3. For our purposes it will suffice to recall only that the brothers were clearly men of considerable influence, and that the conveyance must have occurred sometime between Alexander’s expedition in Karia and his death in Babylon in 323 BC4. More important for our purposes are three other matters: where, or what, was the Little Sea; from whom was it taken when returned to Iasos; and when did the entity that lost the Little Sea to Iasos as a result of the brothers’influence with Alexander first get it from Iasos?

  • 5 Hicks 1882, 228, wrote: ‘The ‘little sea’ is the sinus Iasius, a wild and gloomy inlet’ (followed, (...)
  • 6 Robert 1974, 227: ‘Les Iasiens avaient obtenus d’ Alexandre, grâce à ces compatriots [sc. Gorgos a (...)

4Earlier suggestions to identify the Little Sea with the Gulf of Iasos5 have been superseded by the arguments of L. Robert that the Little Sea occupied the marshy area now forming the delta of the Sarı Çay6. This is surely right, if only because the appeal of Gorgos and Minnion for recovery of the Little Sea makes sense only if the sea was so configured that a single polis might control it, but so located that more than one might lay a claim. As a largely landlocked arm of the Iasian gulf, with a narrow mouth guarded by a tower, the Little Sea as proposed by Robert fits the bill perfectly. The Little Sea, then, will have been the small, almost completely landlocked nub of water nestled between the south-east terminus of Mt. Grion on the north and the hills to the south, into which discharged the stream now called the Sarı Çay, and which alluviation over the last two millennia has converted into a swampy plain (fig. 1). Iasos, situated just across the bay from the entrance to the Little Sea, would have been an obvious candidate to lay claim to it. Who then would have been the entity to whom it had previously belonged, and from whom did the Iasians win it back?

Image

Fig. 1. View of the presumed site of the Little Sea, looking south from the slopes of Mount Grion.

  • 7 Traina 1993, 966-71. See also Heisserer 1980, 177, who considered but rejected Bargylia.

5Robert had suggested Mylasa, and that view has been almost universally accepted. Recently, however, a case has been made for Bargylia7. This case does not rest on very secure foundations. Bargylia is separated from the Little Sea by a very rough set of hills; it is far from clear where the boundary of its territory lay, and the absence of any archaeological work south of the Sarı Çay prevents us from knowing what sort of settlements, if any, edged the Little Sea there. On the whole, Bargylia seems a less likely candidate than Mylasa.

  • 8 Traina 1993, 967, following the description of Haussoullier 1884, 457-8. Now I.Mylasa 927 and 928 (...)
  • 9 La Rocca et al. 1993, 997, no. 98, 997, no. 97, no. 102, no. 103, and no. 105.
  • 10 La Rocca et al. 1993, 998, no. 107.
  • 11 Traina 1993, 966-7.
  • 12 For the text see GGM I, 427-514, with C. Müller’s Latin translation and extensive commentary. Meri (...)

6But the case for Mylasa is also not without its problems – most notably, where, precisely, would Mylasean territory have touched on the Little Sea, since Mylasa itself and the Mylasean heartland lie to the east of the Sondra Dağ, several km away from the Little Sea? The usual answer to this question derives from the ancient sources that identify Passala as the port of Mylasa, the spot where the Mylasean chora touched the sea. A site called Sakız has been identified with Passala. Recent work by E. La Rocca and his collaborators has added to the previously known evidence, which includes structural remains and inscriptions8. In particular, La Rocca’s team noted traces of a possibly ancient road a couple of km to the east of Sakız running evidently along the line where the slopes of Mt. Grion meet the plain, and two further concentrations of pottery (see the map below)9. Finally, a bit further east and up a valley in the mountain, they found a spring of fresh water with more structural and other remains10. As Giusto Traina has pointed out, this spring is most probably attested in the 1521 portulan of Piri Re’is, who writes about a lagoon called the Acı Su (Bitter Water) which can be navigated by small boats up to a freshwater spring11. The late Stadiasmus Maris Magni speaks of a spring at Passala, and this discovery would seem to bolster the identification with Passala12.

  • 13 Str. 14.2.23. ‘Mistake’: e. g. Blümel in I.Mylasa vol. 2, p. 117.
  • 14 Suggested to me in conversation by P. Foss, from an on-site discussion during an American School o (...)

7But the location of Passala at Sakız poses a topographic puzzle, for the easiest corridor to connect it with Mylasa follows the valley of the Sarı Çay west of the Sondra Dağ, through territory belonging to Hydai, a town still independent in the fourth century BC. It is far from clear where and how Passala could otherwise have been connected to Mylasa. There is yet another element to the puzzle in Strabo’s account of Mylasa, for he claims that Mylasa ‘comes closest to the sea at Physkos, and this is their port’, πλησιαìζει δεÌ μαìλιστα τῇ καταÌ Φυìσκον θαλαìττῃ ἡ ποìλις, καιÌ τουτ’ἐστιÌν αὐτοῖς ἐπιìνειον. This statement has generally been put down as a mistake13, but now Alain Bresson suggests (in this volume) that the name derives from φυìσκη, ‘sausage’, and may refers to the shape of the Little Sea. He considers that the site should lie somewhere east of the current Bodrum airport. Not only would this ingenious suggestion vindicate Strabo from an embarrassing mistake, but it also would help unravel the topographic puzzle. Mylasa would not have needed to hold Passala as early as the fourth century as its outlet to the sea. We know that Mylasa controlled Beçin from the Classical period; the site may have been the burial place of the Hekatomnids14. If Mylasa’s port in that period was indeed Physkos, located on the south-east shore of the Little Sea, then Mylasa would have controlled the entire expanse of the plain shared by the Sarı Çay and the Hamzabey Çay, perhaps as far south as modern Gökçeler, and thus the eastern shore of the Little Sea.

  • 15 Plin. Nat. 5.134. The fact that Gorgos and Minnion ‘recovered’ the Little Sea implies that Iasos h (...)

8Finally, the sources that attribute Passala to Mylasa as its harbor are late: the Stad. M. M., 291 and Stephanos Byzantinos (s.v. Παìσσαλα); even if Pliny’s reference to an island of Passala is taken to mean the port, then the earliest attestation is still first century AD. If Mylasa instead had an earlier port at Physkos, the puzzle of how the Mylaseans could come to control Passala before Hydai is resolved – they did not, and there is no impediment to seeing Mylasa as the opponent of Iasos for control of the Little Sea15.

  • 16 HTC 216-22, nos 90, 91.

9It is perhaps worth adding one last consideration to the many already presented, related to two inscriptions dated to 354/3 BC. The first explicitly records the purchase from Kindye by Mylasa of land and a village for a price of at least 2,200 staters. The land was marked off by horoi whose implantation by the Kindyeis was witnessed by representatives of more than ten Karian towns. A second inscription preserves only a list of witnesses from more than fourteen different Karian towns. The overlap of the Pladaseis and the Kaunians in both lists indicates that these two inscriptions, while clearly closely related, must deal with different matters16.

Image

The greater Mylasa region and the ‘Little seá.

  • 17 Debord 2003, 123-4 for these two ideas.

10These inscriptions were found at Sekköy, a village east-south-east of Mylasa, about 30 km from Kindye. The most recent editors argue that because the texts were found at Sekköy, the land and village purchased must have been there; it is a puzzle how the Kindyeis came to own land so far from home, and what the Mylaseans were doing purchasing it. But it is possible that the inscriptions were set up at Sekköy not because the land was there, but because the purchase was an affair of all the Karians, as guarantors, and consequently that inscriptions recording the sale and guarantee were set up at multiple sites, certainly sanctuaries, throughout Karia, and we just happen to have the copy set up at Sekköy. Another possibility is that the Karian koinon – if such was indeed the body represented in these documents – moved its place of meeting around, and that these documents were passed at a meeting that took place at the community located at Sekköy17.

Image

Fig. 2. View toward Bargylia and the sea from the acropolis of Kindye.

11Under either assumption, we can restore the property to Kindye and suggest a reason for the purchase. Kindye sits at the end of a little hill with a spectacular view toward Bargylia and the sea (fig. 2). To the north, the land slopes down to meet the south edge of the swampy area where the Hamzabey Çay and the Sarı Çay drop their silt – the very basin that in antiquity was filled by the Little Sea. That is to say, the territory of Kindye must have bordered on the Little Sea. The interest of Mylasa and its god Zeus Osogo in buying up land and a village belonging to Kindye can be easily explained if we simply assume that the land bordered on the water and provided access to the sea from the south, through the territory where the modern villages of Alanbahçe and Gökceler sit. That is to say, the purchases may then have been part of a process of consolidation of control of land abutting on the Little Sea, perhaps in the aftermath of the original decision to strip Iasos of control and present the body of water to Mylasa. (Bresson’s location of Physkos in this same general area fits in well with this interpretation of the purchases.) As Maussollos was still very much alive and active at this time, it seems unlikely that such expansion of Mylasean territory would have occurred without his consent or active promotion; perhaps we may see it as either compensation for Maussollos’relocation of his capital to Halikarnassos, or aggrandizement of the former Hekatomnid home base.

  • 18 Debord 2001, 27-8, has argued however that Mylasa asserted control over Labraunda after Ptolemaic (...)

12After the loss of the Little Sea, Mylasa suffered something of a decline. Its history in the last quarter of the fourth and first half of the third centuries BC remains obscure, but there is little to suggest that this period saw growth in territory or power; we do not even know whether Mylasa retained its access to the Little Sea (perhaps paying fees to Iasos?). For at least a part of the period after Alexander had deprived it of its freedom, Mylasa was a subordinated city, under Seleukid or Ptolemaic authority, saddled with a garrison, enjoying limited control over its revenues. No expansion occurred (or at least none is recorded) during those decades, and we have good evidence for the later fourth and third centuries that entities later incorporated into the Mylasean state then operated independently – including Olymos, Labraunda, and Sinuri18. It was not until a few years after the middle of the third century that Mylasa’s position changed, markedly, for the better.

Building A Greater Mylasa

  • 19 Isager & Karlsson 2008. I am very grateful to P. Hellström for providing me with a preliminary tex (...)

13For Mylasa, a new era with new opportunities dawned in 246 or 245 BC with the declaration of freedom for the city by Seleukos II. The declaration of freedom has long been inferred from an inscription published as I.Mylasa 22, whose poor state of preservation however has precluded more detailed knowledge of the circumstances. New Swedish work at Labraunda has now recovered another inscription published by S. Isager and L. Karlsson, which refers exactly to this declaration of freedom and provides considerable new detail. This new inscription indicates that the demos, which surely refers to Mylasa, would ‘crown Olympichos son of Olympichos and set up for him by his statue an altar of white stone next to that of Maussollos in the sanctuary of Zeus Labraundos and celebrate for him a procession and sacrifice and…. on the fourteenth day of the month of [Gorpiaios] on the day on which the demos received freedom and democracy’19. Olympichos is granted here cultic honors of a very high status, and no doubt in recompense for a very important service to Mylasa.

  • 20 Death of Antiochos announced: Sachs & Hunger 1989, 66-72, no. 245, A, Rev, 5-6: ‘That month [= Abu (...)

14This inscription combined with new work on texts from Babylon done by I. Finkel and R. van der Spek may shed some new light on the date at which Mylasa received its freedom. News of the death of Antiochos II at Ephesos – whether of natural causes or poisoning – reached or was first announced at Babylon on August 19, 246 BC (20 Abu 66 Seleukid Era). Antiochos’death then probably occurred at least three weeks earlier. We do not know for sure where Seleukos was at that time, but we do know that he had been in Babylon in June 246, and so may have been in the city when news arrived of his father’s death; this possibility may be reinforced by another Babylonian text, which reports Seleukos’immediate succession on his father’s death (although it is possible that this text was written later in conformity with the final outcome of the succession). In any case, these dates seem to leave rather little time for Seleukos to solidify his position and grant freedom to Mylasa and Smyrna in 246 (for, as Alice Bencivenni has argued cogently, these two projects seem intimately linked), unless he was in western Asia Minor when word arrived of his father’s death. Unfortunately the name of the month on the fourteenth of which Mylasa was awarded ‘freedom and democracy’ has not been preserved, and the space available could accomodate any of several Makedonian month-names from late 246 or 24520.

  • 21 Bencivenni 2003, 247-98.

15As A. Bencivenni has emphasized in her recent, thorough treatment of the grant of freedom to Mylasa by Seleukos II, the matter was not decided all at once in 246 or 245; it was, rather, a complicated, ongoing process, begun when Seleukos declared Mylasa free and democratic, but only completed 26 or so years later, when Philip V definitely assigned Labraunda to Mylasa and Olympichos withdrew troops he had stationed on Labraundean, now Mylasean, territory21. But the initial grant of freedom did put Mylasa in a new position vis-à-vis its neighbors, and we can see the working out of this new situation over the course of the next few decades.

Labraunda

  • 22 I.Labraunda I. 3, 11-14, etc.
  • 23 I.Labraunda I, 1,1-6; 1B, 9-14; 2, 18-19; 4, 3-4; 2.
  • 24 Crampa, I.Labraunda I, p. 75, places them here as well, in the late 240s or 230s. Son: Maddoli 200 (...)
  • 25 The relations between Mylasa and Labraunda have drawn considerable attention since the publication (...)

16The Seleukid grant of freedom included the (re-) attachment or award of Labraunda to Mylasa – at least, such is the claim represented by the Mylaseans in later disputes about the sanctuary – and sparked a dispute that continued for 25 years22. Not long after the award – perhaps in 242/1 – Korris, the hereditary priest of Labraunda, lodged a formal complaint with Seleukos against the Mylaseans’ treatment of him; Korris alleged that the Mylaseans had taken away sacred lands and were refusing to provide him traditional gifts from sacrifices. Seleukos decided in favor of Korris and ordered Olympichos to carry out his decision23. Olympichos had promised to support the Mylaseans in their claims against Korris, but clearly without success. It seems likely that for the next fifteen years Korris and his son and successor Hekatomnos enjoyed their authority at Labraunda, and it may be to this decade and a half that belong two honorary decrees, I. Labraunda I, 11 and 12, in which Korris and his syngeneia award citizenship, the right to own land, and prohedria to persons declared proxenoi and euergetai of the sanctuary24. The awards and the language strike a clear claim to a polis-like independence. Moreover, the assignment of the honorands to a tribe, φυλή, of the sanctuary bespeaks unequivocally to the claim of independence from Mylasa25.

  • 26 I.Labraunda I, 5, 14-18, with Habicht 1972. See Gabrielsen 2000, 157-61.
  • 27 Labrayndos at Plin. Nat. 5.109, where the MSS are quite confused, is a conjecture by Ludovicus Ian (...)
  • 28 I.Labraunda I, 5, 31-2; I.Mylasa 863.

17The advent of Antigonos Doson in 227 required a confirmation of the priest’s rights, this time registered (probably) by Hekatomnos, Korris’s son and successor, with the support of the Chrysaoric League, who claimed that the sanctuary belonged to them and to the rest of the Karians26. Doson obliged, and presumably Hekatomnos continued to enjoy independence from Mylasa throughout his reign. But the succession of Philip V brought yet another opportunity, which the Mylaseans seized, again with the vigorous support of Olympichos. They argued forcefully for their authority over the sanctuary and convinced Philip. His decision became final and resulted in the permanent incorporation of Labraunda into Mylasean territory (all subsequent references to the sanctuary treat it as part of Mylasa27), with the passage of legislation formally incorporating ‘those living in the sanctuary’, τουÌς ἐν τῶ[ι] ἱἑρωῖ διατριìβοντες, into the Mylasean polity28.

  • 29 See Reger 2004, 164-8.
  • 30 Named: I.Mylasa 102, 6-7; 103, 3-4. Anonymous: Milet I. 3, 146, B 59-60; Gauthier 1999, 18, l. 30- (...)
  • 31 Rhodes with Lewis 1997, 341-6, for an overview of the evidence.

18The final, definitive incorporation of Labraunda into Mylasa was marked by this distribution of its population into the civic units of Mylasa. We almost certainly have the Mylasean decree that carried this act out in I.Mylasa 86329. The first lines are poorly preserved, but include in line 2 the words [ἱερεώς] τοῦ ΔιοÌς᾿ Оσογω · ἐπειδηÌ Ὀλυμεῖς καιÌ Λαβραυνδεῖς, etc. In the few other Mylasean decrees that have come down to us, ἐπειδçh marks the turn from the introductory formula to the substantive body of the decree. The last clause of the introductory material usually consists in a statement of the movers of the proposal: always in Mylasean decrees known so far, the board of three archons, who are sometimes named, sometimes anonymous30. In decrees of subunits of Mylasa the mover is sometimes likewise a panel of officials, like the tamiai in I.Mylasa 109, l. 3, of the tribe Otorkondeis, sometimes a private (?) individual, like Demetrios son of Hermias in I.Mylasa 802, l. 2. When private persons move proposals, the participle ἀποφανηìμενος typically precedes the name; it is omitted in all cases where we can tell in decrees of the polis Mylasa moved by the board of archons31. However the introductory formula should be restored in I.Mylasa 863, it is indubitable that one of, or the, mover(s) of this decree, which distributed former citizens of Olymos and Labraunda into tribes of Mylasa and demoted the former civic units of those entities, was a priest of Zeus Osogo, most likely acting in his capacity as priest of the chief Mylasean deity.

  • 32 I.Labraunda I, 9, 2-3.

19A priest of Zeus Osogo recurs as the mover of another important Mylasean decree: the decree long known from Labraunda honoring Olympichos32:

γνώ-
[μη--------------ἱερέως Δι]òς Ὀσ[ο]Imageω· ἐπειδὲ ὈλύImage-
[πιχος-----

20In exactly the same manner as in I.Mylasa 863, the priest appears as the last element of the introductory formula, which (as the preserved letters γνω here confirm) ended by naming the mover(s) of the proposal.

  • 33 Debord 2001, 20-4. We know now that the epithet of the god was originally Osogollis, see Blümel 19 (...)
  • 34 I.Mylasa 861, with Reger 2004, 167-8, and further below.

21The formal role of the priest of Zeus Osogo in these texts remains unclear. Most probably he was an archon, since all other decrees of the city were moved by the board of archontes, but it is perhaps not entirely out of the question that in these cases the mover could have been a private person. Be that as it may, it should give us pause to see a priest of Zeus Osogo intimately involved in two major acts related to the sanctuary at Labraunda. For, as we know now for certain thanks to a careful analysis of the evidence by P. Debord, Zeus Osogo was the chief deity of the polis of Mylasa33. In a very real sense, the long struggle waged by Korris and Hekatomnos, priests of Zeus Labraundos, to prevent the subordination of the Labraundean sanctuary to Mylasa can be read as a struggle to maintain the status of that god over against his rival Zeus Osogo. Subordination of one polity to another always involved delicate questions about the status of cult, and at Mylasa itself we can see the Olymeis, after their incorporation into Mylasa, working hard to assure the continuity of cult appropriate to their guardian deities Apollo and Artemis34.

  • 35 Bencivenni 2003, 281.
  • 36 I.Labraunda I, 8, 20-2; 25-6.

22There is surely an instance of analogous tension reflected in the dossier dealing with Mylasa and Labraunda. As we know, soon after Seleukos II had awarded Labraunda to Mylasa in 246 or 245, the then priest Korris appealed directly to the king to change his decision. Despite Olympichos’promise to support the Mylaseans, Seleukos overturned his earlier decision, granted Korris’s requests, and ordered Olympichos to see that his instructions were carried out. Korris’s appeal occurred, according to the reasonable chronology established by Alice Bencivenni, in 242/1 or so35. It was shortly thereafter that Olympichos made a grand donation to Mylasa of land he had purchased at some earlier date from Queen Laodike, land which, he wrote with unambiguous simplicity, ‘I dedicate to Zeus Osogo, and the income from these lands shall belong to the god forever, and shall be expended on a monthly festival for Zeus’. Olympichos ordered his donation to be inscribed ‘both in the sanctuary of Zeus Osogo and in the sanctuary of Zeus Labraundos in the most prominent places’36. Olympichos may have failed to prevail for the Mylaseans in the dispute with Korris before Seleukos, but he showed his colors with a major favor to the Mylaseans’ tutelary deity, and he rubbed Zeus Labraundos’ nose in it by his order to advertise his generosity to a rival in a ‘most prominent place’ in that god’s own sanctuary.

  • 37 Milet I. 3, 146, 19-20.

23A few years later, in 215/4 BC, two Mylasean ambassadors, sent to Miletos to convey renewal of the long-standing friendship between the two cities with new benefits, reported that the Mylaseans had caused copies of the decree for Miletos to be inscribed ‘in their own sanctuaries of Zeus Osogo and Zeus Labraundos’, ἐν τοῖς ἑαυτῶν ιεροῖς τωῖ τε τοῦ Διὸς τοῦ Ὀσογῶ καιÌ τοῦ ΔιοÌς τοῦ Λαβραυìνδου37. ‘Their own’: there could be no more eloquent testimony that the struggle to control Labraunda was over, and the Mylaseans had won.

More Tensions Around Cult

  • 38 I.Mylasa 861, with Reger, 2004, 164-8, and Ashton & Reger 2006. The sympoliteia as an institution (...)
  • 39 Blümel 1989, 7-9, nos. 895-7 (numbers to be inserted in I.Mylasa) = SEG 39, 1135-7.

24I have argued elsewhere that the sympoliteia of Olymos with Mylasa belongs in this same general context, the aftermath of the declaration of freedom by Seleukos, and have examined some of the social implications – in particular, how the Olymeis held strongly to their sense of local identity in the face of the union, with respect to the rights of access to their sanctuaries38. The Olymeis presented another example of this preoccupation with the demos’s cults in a decree, published some years ago, regulating the cult of Leto, who had made epiphanies at Olymos and was closely associated with Apollo and Artemis, and calling on citizens to contribute money for these purposes39. This undertaking occurred after the sympoliteia – the dating formula assures this – and so perhaps belongs likewise to the efforts by the Olymeis to guarantee the continuity of the cults of their gods once they had become a subunit of the Mylasean state.

25We can see the same concerns operating in another neighbor absorbed by Mylasa: Hydai. This town sits on a hill above the Sarı Çay, overlooking a lovely plain extending to the western margin of the Sondra Dağ. I.Mylasa 902, which remains unpublished in its most complete form, records a decree of the Hydaieis moved by three treasurers, tamiai, who belong to three syngeneiai of Mylasa. This, along with the dating of the decree by a stephanephoros, indicates that Hydai was a subunit of Mylasa. The substance of the decree deals with the establishment in the sanctuary of cult statues of ‘our ancestral gods’, ἡμῶν προγονικῶν θεῶν. In other words, this document, like I.Mylasa 861, focuses on cultic matters central to the Hydaieis after their absorption into Mylasa. This inscription is much less well preserved than I.Mylasa 861, and we cannot say with any confidence exactly what matters the Hydaieis were seeking to regulate here. But it is clear, I think, that the situation at Olymos was by no means unique – that the desires of locals, upon becoming part of the greater Mylasean state, to maintain markers of local identity linked particularly to ancestral cults, were matters central to the terms of the sympoliteiai by which Mylasa expanded. They suggest once again a balancing of interests between the greater polis of Mylasa and the smaller entities. These latter were not merely ‘taken over’, willingly or not: they had a say in their fate and control over their own social situation even after the absorption took place.

  • 40 Rumscheid 2004b, 55-6 no. 12 = SEG 54, 1163.

26Finally in this context it is useful to say a few words about an important inscription found by L. Robert in 1934 in the cemetery of Kafaca, the village near the site of Olymos, but not published until F. Rumscheid rediscovered it in the Bodrum Museum40. Several features of the text show that it is a post-sympoliteia decree of Olymos. It is dated, in all probability, by the stephanephoros. The mover of the decree, named in a γνωìμη ἀποφηνò[αμεìνου] clause, belonged to the syngeneia of the Kormoskoneis, who were not originally an Olymean group. Finally, the decree refers to the Kandebeis, once a phyle of independent Olymos but now a syngeneia. All this assures that this text belongs after Olymos had been incorporated by sympoliteia into Mylasa. The photograph Rumscheid published of the stone shows quite clearly the lettering, which is very simple, largely without apices or other decoration, looks early, and could easily belong in the third century. This fits with the dating for the sympoliteia I have reconstructed elsewhere.

27A focus of the decree is a group called the Soloneis: see line 3, ἐπειδηÌ Σολωνεῖ[ς]. On the assumption that line 7 of the inscription has been restored correctly, the Soloneis were, or had been, a tribe, φυληì. The Soloneis appear again in I.Mylasa 817, 3 as a syngeneia of Olymos, along with the other three syngeneia also attested as former tribes of Olymos in I.Mylasa 861, which, although clearly intended to deal with all the units of Olymos, is silent about the Soloneis. How are we to understand this situation?

28The stone which preserves this new text is broken in such a way that restoring the syntax of the lines – whose length is unknown – is impossible; any hypotheses must remain in the realm of speculation. It does seem to me, however, at least worth floating one suggestion, and that is that perhaps the sympoliteia to which the inscription refers is not the sympoliteia between Mylasa and Olymos, but a different sympoliteia between Mylasa and another neighboring community. Then, just as it had been necessary to adjust the status of the phylai of Olymos in order to incorporate them into the Mylasean political system, so it would have been necessary to make similar adjustments for other newly incorporated entities, and this process could have affected the situation at Olymos as well. We know that some of the Mylasean syngeneiai accepted Olymeans as members after the sympoliteia, so that Olymeans might belong to syngeneiai that had been either former Olymean phylai now demoted to Mylasean syngeneiai, or always (so far as we know) part of the Mylasean political organization as syngeneiai. Perhaps the tribes – for Soloneis, if they were indeed a tribe, are one of at least two evidently referred to in this new inscription – had been the units of another newly subordinated polis now being reduced to the status of syngeneiai and added to the system. This would explain the otherwise puzzling appearance of an Olymean as a Soloneus in I.Mylasa 817. But this hypothesis can be regarded only as a possibility, in light of the many uncertainties in this new inscription.

The Impetus Behind Mylasean Expansion

29We have seen that Mylasa increased the size of its territory in two pulses – by the temporary acquisition, probably in the fourth century, of the Little Sea (an accomplishment abrogated owing to the successful intervention of Iasean citizens with Alexander) and by the absorption of Labraunda, Olymos, and Hydai (and possibly certain other small entities) after 246 or 245 BC. I want to stress that I do not mean to equate these two ‘pulses’ by calling them by the same word. There were fundamental political differences in Karia between the fourth century and the late third. Mylasa’s first expansion occurred when Karia was under the control of a powerful regional authority in the form of Maussollos, and whatever happened by way of rearrangement of the physiognomy of the Karian political landscape then happened certainly only with his approval. The later third century, by contrast, experienced a fragmentation of political authority (discussed below). The scope for more independent action by Mylasa, once declared free by the Seleukids, existed in a way it had not earlier. These differences are important and must be borne in mind in considering possible historical impetuses behind these periods of Mylasean expansionism.

  • 41 Flensted-Jensen 2004, 1115-16, no. 886 for a brief discussion and references. Work at Bodrum conti (...)
  • 42 Delrieux 2001, 163, n. 8.

30The fourth century was a period of challenges for Mylasa. Maussollos, the Persian satrap and de facto dynast of Karia, whose father had ruled from Mylasa (his tomb is perhaps the structure at Beçin south of Milas: see O. Henry in this volume), decided in about 370 BC to move his capital from Mylasa to the newly expanded Halikarnassos, whose population and territory had been augmented by the transfer of people from several Lelegian communities on the peninsula and the incorporation of their territory into the Halikarnassian polis. This action created the largest and most prestigious polis in Karia, whose status was further enhanced by the construction of fortification walls and Maussollean buildings, including of course the famous Mausoleum41. There can be no doubt that, under these circumstances, Mylasean prestige suffered a blow. Perhaps Maussollos granted control of the Little Sea to Mylasa at about this time to compensate the Mylaseans for their losses. He may also have intended such a grant as a reward for the city that had been the Hekatomnid seat for many years, as we have seen. Of course, other possibilities exist. Fabrice Delrieux has recently suggested, for example, that it may have been Alexander himself who assigned the Little Sea to Mylasa, as a way to punish Iasos for Iasian participation on the Persian side in the naval engagements at Miletos42.

  • 43 Descat 1994, 63-4, 1998.
  • 44 Plut. Phoc. 18.7-8; Ael. VH 1.25.

31Be that as it may, Alexander’s advent brought more problems for the Mylaseans. We have already seen that he stripped Mylasa, in all probability, of control of the Little Sea. This decision must have affected Mylasean income and access to the sea. Alexander also seems to have undertaken an additional, major expansion of Halikarnassos. This expansion is attested only by Pliny the Elder, and had long been doubted – regarded as a confused report of the activities of Maussollos, wrongly attributed to Alexander. But now that new evidence has located Ouranion (one of the towns Pliny reports as being added to Halikarnassian territory) not on the peninsula, as previously thought, but far away on the Keramic Gulf, the reliability of Pliny’s account seems to be vindicated43. The further expanded Halikarnassian territory came now much closer to Mylasa, with only a few relatively small entities in between. Further, Alexander reduced Mylasa’s status to subjugation. This change is known through the report, conveyed by Plutarch and Aelian, that Alexander offered Mylasa (along with other choices) to the Athenian Phokion as territory to provide him with income44. This decision should probably be regarded as the beginning of Mylasa’s low period in the later fourth and first half of the third centuries. We do not know whether its status changed during those years (my guess is that it remained subordinated from the conquest of Alexander down to 246, but it was certainly subjected to the various hegemons of Karia, especially the Ptolemies, during those decades. No opportunity would have presented itself for the Mylaseans to lay claims to greater territory, authority, or prestige.

  • 45 For some recent discussion, see van Bremen 2000.
  • 46 van Bremen 2004a.

32Another extremely important change in the political physiognomy of western Karia commenced with the establishment of Stratonikeia. Scholars continue to debate the precise date and character of the new foundation – in particular, whether it included a large or small body of Makedonian and/or Greek settlers45. But from a political point of view, the creation of this settlement reconfigured the territory east of Mylasa. Where there had previously been a brace of small Karian communities, all independent (though linked through membership in the Chrysaoric League), there now stood a greater, single polis created through Seleukid patronage. Mylasa was now in effect trapped between two major Karian poleis, each enjoying a very large population on a very large territory and supported by the patronage of great powers, the Ptolemies who seem to have used Halikarnassos as their base in Karia, and the Seleukids at Stratonikeia. (If it is correct, as has recently been argued with considerable cogency, that the Seleukids established yet another important foundation called Laodikeia at modern Muğla46, the string of Seleukid foundations in eastern Karia, of which Stratonikeia would have been the outpost facing the Ptolemies, was impressive indeed.) But there was nothing the Mylaseans could do to change the situation.

33I would suggest, then, that the grant of freedom in 246 or 245 BC allowed the Mylaseans to pursue a course of aggressive local expansionism aimed at gobbling up as much territory as possible, so as to be able, as best they could, to compete with their big, powerful, previously aggrandized neighbors. They pressed first their claim to Labraunda, a claim which may well have been based on rights over the sanctuary dating from the Classical period. At some point they absorbed the sanctuary of Sinuri, though unfortunately the details are more obscure. And they brought into the fold several of their small polis neighbors – including notably Olymos. Whether they ever wrested the Little Sea back from the Iasians is not known, although they did at least continue to have a foothold on that body of water through the possession of Physkos, if Bresson’s suggestion is right, and Passala, which was perhaps acquired with or after the absorption of Hydai, and served as Mylasa’s port down into the Late Antique period, perhaps taking over Physkos’function with alluviation in its district.

  • 47 Gauthier 2001.

34It is important, however, not to lose sight of the interests of the smaller entities in this process. Ph. Gauthier’s recent discussion of the sympoliteia of Miletos and Pidasa has reminded us that political amalgamations were not necessarily simple matters of big powerful entities gobbling up small weak ones47. The smaller states had interests too, which they actively pursued. In the case of Labraunda we can see with relative clarity the strenuous efforts of its priestly family to avoid subordination to Mylasa. But this attitude on the part of Korris and Hekatomnos need not mean that all small entities resisted. In fact we cannot read precisely the attitude even of the Olymeis. They strove to keep their cults under their control and to maintain a local identity, but so then did the Pidaseans who, if Gauthier is right, initiated the sympoliteia with their powerful Milesians neighbors. The process of consolidation that had been going on in Karia for decades and had led to the disappearance of many small communities – a process whose causes were complex – may have put a considerable pressure on small states, who perhaps saw their best option for preserving some of their local autonomy in entering sympoliteiai under terms they had a strong say in setting. And the interest of Mylasa in expanding its territory may have given its smaller neighbors leverage in negotiations, permitting them to preserve a degree of self-determination and self-identity in the larger polis which they joined.

Notes

1 This paper is the third prolegomenon to my book on Mylasa; the others are Reger 2004 and Ashton and Reger 2006. As always with Mylasa, my first thanks go to the late J. Robert, who entrusted me with the publication of much Mylasean material collected by L. Robert and herself for their planned book on Mylasa and environs. I also wish to thank G. W. Bowersock, Chr. Habicht, Chr. P. Jones, and L. Migeotte. I am very grateful indeed to the ‘Karians’ who have helped me with my work on Mylasa with such cogency and generosity over the years. R. Ashton, R. van Bremen, A. Bresson, J.-M. Carbon, P. Debord, F. Delrieux, R. Descat, F. Rumscheid, and H.-U. Wiemer all made suggestions for improvement. Work on this paper was done while I held the Charles A. Dana Research Professorship at Trinity College; I am grateful to my colleagues and friends there for honoring me with this prestigious award. As always, any errors of omission or commission lie at my account.

2 Rhodes & Osborne 2003, 456-63 no. 90 (I. Iasos 30).

3 Delrieux 2001. Problems I leave aside include whether we can identify the brothers with persons attested elsewhere, and precise dates of the inscription itself and of the conveyance of the Little Sea back to the Iasians.

4 See the discussion in Delrieux 2001.

5 Hicks 1882, 228, wrote: ‘The ‘little sea’ is the sinus Iasius, a wild and gloomy inlet’ (followed, with some hesitation, by Tod, II, 252); Pugliese Carratelli 1969-1970, 377 (cf. I.Iasos 34) suggested the port of Iasos or a nearby poros (refuted by J. and L. Robert, BE 1973, 419).

6 Robert 1974, 227: ‘Les Iasiens avaient obtenus d’ Alexandre, grâce à ces compatriots [sc. Gorgos and Minnion] la ‘restitution de la Petite Mer’. On a poussé l’étude de la situation juridique et politique de ce territoire. Grâce aux cartes et à des photographies inédites, on a identifié ce golfe – avec Kiepert contre Dittenberger et Hiller – avec le lac actuel qui s’étend à l’embouchure du Sarı Çay, entre le site antique de Passala et le daylan (pêcherie), et on a traité de la pêche dans cette région.’ See also J. and L. Robert, BE 1973, 419. Most subsequent commentators have followed this view; see for example Heisserer 1980, 177; W. Blümel, I.Iasos I, p. 46. Robert never published a fully developed version of his case.

7 Traina 1993, 966-71. See also Heisserer 1980, 177, who considered but rejected Bargylia.

8 Traina 1993, 967, following the description of Haussoullier 1884, 457-8. Now I.Mylasa 927 and 928 (also I.Iasos 11 and 12, but see Blümel’s remarks ad loc., I.Mylasa vol. 2, p. 119); I.Mylasa 926. A fourth inscription found by Robert remains unpublished. La Rocca et al. 1993, 997 no. 94, with Plate CXXIV, 2.

9 La Rocca et al. 1993, 997, no. 98, 997, no. 97, no. 102, no. 103, and no. 105.

10 La Rocca et al. 1993, 998, no. 107.

11 Traina 1993, 966-7.

12 For the text see GGM I, 427-514, with C. Müller’s Latin translation and extensive commentary. Meritt, Wade-Gery, and McGregor 1939, 1, 506; cf. Olshausen, RE Suppl. 14 (1974) s. v. Priaponnesos, col. 81, noting the suggestion as <νῆσος>. Bean & Cook 1955, 161, n. 317.

13 Str. 14.2.23. ‘Mistake’: e. g. Blümel in I.Mylasa vol. 2, p. 117.

14 Suggested to me in conversation by P. Foss, from an on-site discussion during an American School of Classical Studies trip, under the direction of J. Camp.

15 Plin. Nat. 5.134. The fact that Gorgos and Minnion ‘recovered’ the Little Sea implies that Iasos had once controlled it and then lost it. Ruzicka 1992, 41 argued that it was Maussollos who originally stripped Iasos of the Little Sea, perhaps as punishment for the conspiracy recorded in I.Iasos 1 (Syll.3 169); Delrieux 2001, 163, n. 8 argues for Alexander during his sweep through Karia, because a Iasean ship was in the Persian fleet at Miletos; but this seems unlikely in view of Alexander’s treatment of Mylasa in other matters (see below). Heisserer 1980, 178 notes reasonably that Iasos had a ship in the battle because the town was under Persian control.

16 HTC 216-22, nos 90, 91.

17 Debord 2003, 123-4 for these two ideas.

18 Debord 2001, 27-8, has argued however that Mylasa asserted control over Labraunda after Ptolemaic authority waned after 267.

19 Isager & Karlsson 2008. I am very grateful to P. Hellström for providing me with a preliminary text, and even more to S. Isager for the impromptu seminar on the inscription she offered at the Karian conference. My understanding of the text was greatly enhanced by comments then by R. van Bremen, A. Chaniotis, and P. Hamon.

20 Death of Antiochos announced: Sachs & Hunger 1989, 66-72, no. 245, A, Rev, 5-6: ‘That month [= Abu], the 20th, it was heard in Babylon [as follows: ‘Antiochos, the great king, has died’]’(van der Spek’s translation). See also Glassner 2004, 135, the ‘Hellenistic Royal Chronicle’ or, in van der Spek’s designation, the ‘Babylonian King List of the Hellenistic Period’, Obv, 12-13 for the death of Antiochos in Abu 66 SE: Year 66, Abu [= month V]: It was heard in Babylon as follows: ‘An(tiochus), the son of An(tiochus), the great king, has died’; improving the translation in Glassner via Foster: ‘Year 66, in the month of Ab, it was rumored in Babylon that ?An<tiochus>, the great king, [died]? Year 67, Se<leucus> (II), [son of An<tiochus>, was king; he reigned 20 years. (.?.)’. Seleukos in Babylon in June 246: Sachs & Hunger 1989, 66-72, no. 245, B, Obv, 3. Immediate acceptance of Seleukos as successor can be inferred from Sachs & Hunger 1989, 66-72, no. 245, B lower edge. On all this see the excellent discussions posted on the web by R. van der Spek at http://www.livius.org/cg-cm/chronicles/chron00.html. See also Bencivenni 2003, 266-9, 276-8, 296-7. I leave aside here the separate question of the date of the new inscription itself.

21 Bencivenni 2003, 247-98.

22 I.Labraunda I. 3, 11-14, etc.

23 I.Labraunda I, 1,1-6; 1B, 9-14; 2, 18-19; 4, 3-4; 2.

24 Crampa, I.Labraunda I, p. 75, places them here as well, in the late 240s or 230s. Son: Maddoli 2007, 306-16, no. 20, B 3. I will discuss some implications of this important new document elsewhere; for now I note simply that it confirms the dating of the priests of Zeus Labraundos in the 240s-220s BC. See also Maddoli, this vol.

25 The relations between Mylasa and Labraunda have drawn considerable attention since the publication of the inscriptions in 1969. Some (but not all) of earlier treatments include Boffo 1985, 234-4; Debord 2001, 26-31; Virgilio 2001a, 2001b, 2003, 170-82; Dignas 2002, 59-65, focused on questions of administrative authority; especially Bencivenni 2003, 247-98; Capdetrey 2007, 169-70.

26 I.Labraunda I, 5, 14-18, with Habicht 1972. See Gabrielsen 2000, 157-61.

27 Labrayndos at Plin. Nat. 5.109, where the MSS are quite confused, is a conjecture by Ludovicus Ianus from 32.16, which mentions the fish oracle at Labraunda. It has no independent authority.

28 I.Labraunda I, 5, 31-2; I.Mylasa 863.

29 See Reger 2004, 164-8.

30 Named: I.Mylasa 102, 6-7; 103, 3-4. Anonymous: Milet I. 3, 146, B 59-60; Gauthier 1999, 18, l. 30-31.

31 Rhodes with Lewis 1997, 341-6, for an overview of the evidence.

32 I.Labraunda I, 9, 2-3.

33 Debord 2001, 20-4. We know now that the epithet of the god was originally Osogollis, see Blümel 1990, 34-5 (the inscriptions here published are HTC 216-22, no. 90 and 91); I write ‘Osogo’ conventionally, following the typical usage of the Hellenistic texts. Flensted-Jensen 2004, 1128, speaks imprecisely of the sanctuary of Labraunda as the ‘cult centre’ of Mylasa.

34 I.Mylasa 861, with Reger 2004, 167-8, and further below.

35 Bencivenni 2003, 281.

36 I.Labraunda I, 8, 20-2; 25-6.

37 Milet I. 3, 146, 19-20.

38 I.Mylasa 861, with Reger, 2004, 164-8, and Ashton & Reger 2006. The sympoliteia as an institution for enlarging poleis in Asia Minor has come in for considerable attention in recent years: in addition to Reger 2004, see Wörrle 2003 and Bencivenni 2003, 151-68 for the Latmos-Pidasa text (originally Blümel 1997). Christoph Schuler is undertaking a new general study of the phenomenon; there is a dissertation on Karian sympoliteiai by J. Labuff at the University of Pennsylvania and one on Asia Minor sympoliteiai by M. Bolduc at Quebec. See also Schuler in this vol.

39 Blümel 1989, 7-9, nos. 895-7 (numbers to be inserted in I.Mylasa) = SEG 39, 1135-7.

40 Rumscheid 2004b, 55-6 no. 12 = SEG 54, 1163.

41 Flensted-Jensen 2004, 1115-16, no. 886 for a brief discussion and references. Work at Bodrum continues to reveal traces of the Maussollan capital. See in this vol. the paper by P. Pedersen.

42 Delrieux 2001, 163, n. 8.

43 Descat 1994, 63-4, 1998.

44 Plut. Phoc. 18.7-8; Ael. VH 1.25.

45 For some recent discussion, see van Bremen 2000.

46 van Bremen 2004a.

47 Gauthier 2001.

Auteur

Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut

© Ausonius Éditions, 2010

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