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Hellenistic Karia

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Carbon Jan-Mathieu van Bremen Riet

Part four. The Role of the Landscape

The Sepulchral landscape of the Halikarnassos peninsula in Hellenistic times

Anne Marie Carstens

Texte intégral

  • 1 The tombs investigated here were included in my Ph. D.-dissertation of 1999. They were investigate (...)
  • 2 Pollitt 1986, 4-7.
  • 3 This is how F. E. Winter has characterised the interrelations between architecture, landscape and (...)
  • 4 Lauter 1972, 49, on nature and landscape as raw material in architectural planning in the late Cla (...)

1This contribution focuses on the sepulchral landscape of the Halikarnassos peninsula during the Hellenistic period1. It is based on the assumption that the theatrical sense, described by J. J. Pollitt as series of stage settings, which seems to have been a leading principle behind the Hellenistic terrace sanctuaries, also played a prominent role in the sepulchral architecture and planning in the south-eastern Aegean2. The first part of the paper presents different examples of the ‘Role of Setting and Vista’ at four necropolis sites on the Halikarnassos peninsula3. Here it is demonstrated how landscape thinking, the meeting of nature and culture and the taming of the wilderness, were incorporated into the sepulchral architecture of the Halikarnassos peninsula in the Hellenistic period4.

2The second part of the paper concerns the role of the funeral and, in particular, the maintenance of tomb cult. Its point of departure is a rock-cut chamber situated in the Göktepe necropolis of Halikarnassos, which may have functioned as a Kybele shrine. The investigation of the chamber includes some reflections on its role in the social organisation of the sepulchral landscape, and it sheds light on the tomb and the necropolis as both a private and a public space.

Fig. 1. Map of the Halikarnassos peninsula.

Sepulchral landscapes

  • 5 Pollitt 1986, 230.

3The spectacular incorporation of dramatic landscape features, such as the theatrical setting of nature or the domestication of the wild and untamed rock-crops and shrubbery, was an essential quality of Hellenistic sacred architecture, reflecting a theatrical sense or mentality. It is the dominant principle behind the large terraced sanctuaries, such as the Athena Lindia acropolis on Rhodes, or the sanctuary of Asklepios on Kos5.

  • 6 For instance Hattuşa and Yazılıkaya: Neve 1993; van den Hout 1994, 71-2.

4Landscape architecture, however, has a long history. Ever since man started to organise society in permanent settlements, the landscape, natural resources and natural forces as well as passage roads and infrastructure – streams and fords, mountains and plains, springs and caves – were determinant factors for the placing of settlements, sanctuaries and cemeteries. Departing from a mere functional aspect, the setting and the vistas became integrated in the layout and planning of regional centres and sanctuaries, like the residential cities of kings and emperors or the regional and ‘international’ sanctuaries6.

5Thus, not only does the position of settlements reflect a domestication of the landscape, but what is more, an ideological incorporation of nature, that is, a conscious use of natural topography in order to underline architectural themes, is also prominent in the setting of rural sanctuaries, cemeteries and heroa.

  • 7 Oberleitner 1994.
  • 8 Oberleitner 1994, Abb. 105-6.

6A good example is the heroon at Trysa/Gölbaşı in Lykia. This is a dynast’s tomb in the shape of an open-air sanctuary – a sacrificial precinct with a Lykian house tomb7. The heroon was given a prominent topographic position at the end of the ridge which held the ancient settlement at Trysa. Situated just outside the town, like an extra-urban sanctuary, it must have formed part of a grander ideological plan. The complex consists of a walled precinct, a piece of nature incorporated in an architectural setting. The inner faces of the temenos walls were decorated with relief friezes in two registers, while only the outer face of the south wall, flanking the entrance, carried reliefs. The subjects are Greek mythological battle scenes, but a hunting scene is also included and in the south-eastern corner of the precinct the scenery depicted a banquet8. Here a wooden building or shed was built against the temenos wall, which probably provided shelter and shade at an annual (?) sacrificial meal, like the banquet scenery depicted on the reliefs. Perhaps the feast included dancers and musicians similar to those carved on the lintel above the entrance. Apart from the wooden building and the house tomb, the area framed by the temenos wall was (probably) left as a park, a piece of nature in an architectural setting.

  • 9 Oberleitner 1994, 54, Abb. 23.

7The precinct and the rituals it framed were the raison d’être of the complex that determined the importance and sanctity of the site, rather than the tomb building on its own. The prominent topographic position of the heroon at the end of the ridge just outside the walled town, in sight of and with a view to the residence of the living dynast, turned the monument into a central memory of heroic ancestry9.

  • 10 e.g. Stronach 1990; Carstens 2009b.

8In this play with nature and culture, the setting of the heroon follows some of the ideas behind Near Eastern garden planning and its ideological use of garden architecture. In particular, the Neo-Assyrian gardens of Assurnasipal II (883-859 BC) and Sargon II (722-705 BC) feature a ‘taming’ of the landscape. That taming can be seen as a vital component in the ideological confirmation of a powerful ruler and in the fashioning of his divine kingship10.

  • 11 The Lykian and Karian heroa, Fedak 2006; Carstens 2009b.

9This ideological landscape architecture which is prominent in the late Classical and early Hellenistic heroa in Lykia and Karia seems in turn to have disseminated and inspired the layout of the Hellenistic necropolis areas and their use of setting and vistas11.

Rhodian landscape architecture

10The landscape architecture and its theatrical sense were very visible in Hellenistic Rhodes, not only in the layout of the magnificent terrace sanctuary of Athena Lindia, but also in quite other fields, constantly playing with the contrasts of nature and its cultivation. One example is the Lindian ship relief from the second century BC: at the foot of the staircase leading to the acropolis of the Athena Lindia sanctuary the stern of a warship is cut into a roughly levelled rock-wall. Every little detail of the ship and its equipment is included in the depiction yet it is enclosed by the native rock on all sides, adding the impression that the warship emerges from a sort of secret hiding place inside the rock.

  • 12 Guldager Bilde 1999, 227-8; Lauter 1972 and 1988. See also Carroll 2006.
  • 13 Lauter 1972 and 1988.
  • 14 Lauter 1972, 53-6.

11Another play with nature and landscape is expressed by the entire stage setting of the so-called garden necropolis of Rhodes, the Rhodini12. This setting exploits the geological formation of the landscape characterised by ravines and rock-knolls, plateaux and natural terraces. It is as if the landscape itself invited such experiments, and challenged the creative minds of the Rhodians. One of the more complicated rock-cut tomb structures is the so-called Ptolemaic tomb in the city of Rhodes. It played with both sophisticated architectural details cut in the native rock, and cave-like mysteries13. The tomb complex is cut into a large rocky outcrop at the edge of the Rhevma creek, and it consists of a natural cave with additional niches and an exedra cut into it, creating a mysterious scenery14.

  • 15 De Fine Licht 1974; Pertschi 1990. For the relation between a Rhodian school of sculpture (althoug (...)

12It is exactly this stage setting of nature, the theatrical allusions and the vistas, that came to characterise Renaissance Italian grotto architecture where rock formations, natural caves, architectural planning, water, light, and sculptural decoration were united in fabulous, strange and surprising complexes. One example is the Ninfeo Bergantino near Castel Gandolfo, which – as is the case in the Ptolemaic tomb in Rhodes – combines the natural grotto with the cut niches, arcosolia and exedras, the fountains and the vistas15.

A manipulated Halikarnassian landscape

  • 16 The rock-cut tombs at Hıdırlık Tepe, Milas, were probably in use from the 2nd cent. BC to the 1st (...)

13I have chosen three necropolis areas on the Halikarnassos peninsula in order to illustrate how landscape features, such as rock-crops and wilderness, were incorporated into sepulchral landscapes. The tombs included in this sample were all probably in use during the Hellenistic period (fig. 1). However, these tombs have not been excavated and the dating is thus based on the often few stylistic hints as to their date of construction. Necropolis-excavations often find that such rock-cut chamber tombs were in use for several generations or even centuries16. Adding a niche in the rock wall, or a cist in the floor, may have been done much later than the initial chamber was cut, and such changes of the sepulchre are very difficult to pinpoint chronologically.

Rock-cut tombs at the Payamlık Point

  • 17 Carstens 2002, 58-64.

14At the Payamlık Point on the promontory north of Yalıkavak, in the north-western corner of the Halikarnassos peninsula, a rocky hill of brownish-grey andesite crops up (fig. 2)17. The eastern edge of the rock is steep, almost vertical. The rocky outcrop can be mounted from the southern side, and at the summit traces of rock-cut installations are found. At present, they give a blurred picture of stairs, platforms and minor beddings, and their internal relations are far from clear. Apparently the entire rock massif was once furnished with burial complexes. The rock faced east towards a little bay with shallow water and from the top there is a good view of the Halikarnassos peninsula and Yalıkavak. The settlement to which the cemetery belonged has not been located; it may have been on the site of modern Yalıkavak, which has an excellent harbour and offers good protection.

15Five structures, or ‘tombs’ are still clearly distinguishable on the rock; two of these have architectural decorated facades (fig. 3). They are badly eroded, but both were cut in the shape of anta temples, the one on the left being the more elaborate of the two. Originally it had two columns in antis, an architrave and a gable cut as a recess in the rock, and it was crowned with acroteria. The right-hand one only had an architrave, but no ‘roof’. Both tomb chambers are plain with two cists cut into the floor, leaving the central part free.

16Two other structures were situated next to the façade tombs, interconnected by a spiral staircase. Both are, however badly preserved and the layout is hardly recognizable. A rock-wall with right-angled corners and a flat roof is what is left of the lowest chamber. From here the rock-cut stairs led to a higher level, where also only the inner part of another rock chamber is preserved. A little further to the north is the back part of a rock structure, a barrel-vaulted chamber furnished with a bench along the three sides of the room (fig. 4).

Fig. 2. The tombs at the Payamlık Point.

Fig. 3. Tomb 1 and 2 at the Payamlık Point.

17While the preserved elements only form a minor part of the original structures, they give an impression of a rather complicated system of corridors and stairways, chambers at many levels, and of several types, some in the outer part of the rock massive, and others almost in the core. They appear as if they grew from the rock itself. In this respect the Yalıkavak complex corresponds to some of the more elaborate examples of the Rhodian rock-cut tombs (fig. 5). Hans Lauter described these tombs in the following way:

  • 18 Lauter 1972, 52.

In der Nähe der Stadt Lindos finden sich Felsgräber, deren Fronten eine Mischung abstractarchitektonischer und naturhafter Formen zeigen. In die Felswand, die über den Grabschächten ansteht, sind Gewölbte Nischen oder gar völlig unregelmässige Grotten gemeisselt. Darin fanden auf steinernen Bänken die Bilder der Verstorbenen oder Altäre Platz. Die hier abgebildeten Gewölbenischen sind an ihrer Front mit der Andeutung einer Archivolte geschmückt, aber eben nur mit der Andeutung18.

Rock-cut tombs at Türkbükü

18The other example of this play with nature and culture in a planned landscape is found at Türkbükü, a small anchorage on the north coast of the peninsula. Just above the harbour is a low rocky outcrop, honeycombed by a large number of rock-cut tomb complexes representing a wide variety of such rock architecture (fig. 6). More than a hundred loculi or chambered tombs may be found here, but it is extremely difficult to obtain an overview of the layout and the internal relationship between the various structures. The most remarkable and best-preserved tombs were cut in the bottom of the rock knoll, in the eastern and northern part. Most of the chamber tombs are entered through a simple rectangular opening leading to a central chamber (fig. 7). The entrances may be marked with a rock-cut door frame, often with two or three fasciae; some have an arch cut above the lintel, others have different shaped niches, some triangular, others rectangular.

19The central chambers are often furnished with benches, some with cists cut down into them (fig. 8). Some of them are quite small and were either meant as ossuaries or cut for child inhumations. Often this main chamber is surrounded by side chambers, some furnished with cists in the floor arranged in pairs, others plain, either in the shape of loculi or widening a little inside the opening. The well-organised chambers in this way form a contrast to the rough outer appearance of the necropolis rock, just as the almost naked rock-crop forms a contrast to the natural landscape of Türkbükü, which is characterised by the natural harbour and the low ridge behind the necropolis rock.

Fig. 4. Tomb 5 at the PayamlıkPoint.

Fig. 5. Rock-cut tomb complexes at Lindos (Lauter 1972, Tafel 15:3).

Fig. 6. Türkbükütombs.

Fig. 7. Entrance to a rock-cut tomb in Türkbükü.

Fig. 8. Interior of rock-cut tomb in Türkbükü.

A tomb terrace at Bitez

  • 19 The dimensions are c. 1.20 x 0.6 x 0.4 m.

20The last necropolis area is of a different nature. At Bitez, west of Halikarnassos, halfway between the village and the coast, a small valley opens from the northern slope of the Çatalkaya Tepe. A complex consisting of a pair of rock-cut tombs, a tomb terrace – partly rock-cut, partly built – with two cists cut into it, and a built monument, flanks what may be an ancient road leading from the rather smooth hill behind the complex towards the coast (fig. 9). The built complex is constructed on the terrace against another terrace wall. It is built of well-cut ashlars of the local andesite, and although the plan and original lay-out is somewhat unclear, it seems to have consisted of a number of parallel loculi19. The loculi were roofed with stone slabs, and the roof, in turn, formed a platform, a levelled terrace (fig. 10).

  • 20 Gabrielsen 1997, 123-9; Patsiada 1996, 92.
  • 21 Paton and Myres described another terrace tomb in ashlar masonry from the island of Orak, in the g (...)
  • 22 Berges 1986. Virtually nothing is known of the ancient settlement at the bay of Bitez. The only ot (...)

21The built structure may be interpreted as a tomb building somewhat similar to the so-called hypogea of Rhodes, such as the tomb complex at Peros’s plot in the necropolis at Rhodes. This tomb complex was the burial plot of thekoinon of the Sabaziastai, one of the many associations of Hellenistic Rhodes, which constituted a vital part of the social and religious life in the cosmopolitan polis20. Other possible parallels are the terrace tombs of the Hellenistic necropolis at Knidos, and perhaps round altars were placed on the podium or terrace, as they were on these Knidian and Rhodian podium tombs21. According to the work of Dietrich Berges on the Hellenistic round altars from Asia Minor, 36 out of 113 altars kept in the Bodrum Museum most likely derive either from the Hellenistic tombs of the city of Halikarnassos itself or from its hinterland22.

Fig. 9. Sketch of tomb complex at Bitez.

Fig. 10. The terrace tomb at Bitez.

22It is not known whether the terrace tomb at Bitez served a family, a religious or some other group, organized as an association like the koinon of the Sabaziastai. One must imagine that the terrace was furnished with tomb altars, and that a tomb cult was performed here. But detailed knowledge is lacking of how the cult was organised, of who participated in the cult, and what was the nature of the rituals.

A riding Men at Gündoğan

23In a few cases pictorial decoration offers additional insight into the nature, and perhaps also the organisation, of tomb cult in the Halikarnassian region.

24On the gently sloping hills, east of and above Gündoğan is another necropolis area with rock-cut tombs of the Hellenistic period. The tombs here are either multiple chamber tombs with very spacious main chambers surrounded by smaller loculi or small side chambers, or plain single-chambered tombs. But a very charming small chamber tomb attracts special attention because of its delicate and rare decoration.

  • 23 Allen 1976.
  • 24 Burkert 1987, 23; Berges 1986.

25The tomb is cut into a little rocky outcrop of semi-hard grey andesite. It has an architectural decorated façade and a small antechamber furnished with rock-cut benches (fig. 11). The façade depicts a barrel vault, resting on antae. On the right side of the vault a triumphant horseman is cut in low relief. He holds up high a ring or wreath, and the horse is moving rapidly leftward, towards the tomb (fig. 12). On the left side of the entrance traces of another relief decoration are preserved, depicting a snake lifting its head towards the capital (fig. 13). An open vessel may be depicted next to the snake, but the surface of the rock is weathered and it is difficult to see details. The snake and skyphos motive is also known from three tomb stones from Halikarnassos, two of them built into an old stone house in the Türkkuyusu district of Bodrum23. The snake drinking from a libation poured into a skyphos is known as a symbol of the deceased receiving his sacrifices, and the motive is well-attested in a local context (there is also a group of round altars at Knidos that are circumscribed by snakes)24.

Fig. 11. The Men tomb at Gündoğan.

Fig. 12. Thehorseman.

Fig. 13. The snake.

  • 25 Lane 1990, 2165.
  • 26 According to LIMC, he only appears as a horseman riding during the reign of Augustus, and he is ra (...)

26The horseman may represent a riding Men, the Phrygian moon god, who was a fertility god and the protector of the family and the graves25. He carried the epithets Uranius, ‘heavenly’, and Katachthonios, ‘of the underworld’, and he was a god of initiations and transformations26. When the riding Men and the snake and the skyphos were depicted at the entrance of the tomb, these depictions may have protected and marked a transition between this world and another, and the snake drinking from the cup may have included a promise to maintain proper sacrifices at the tomb in order to secure stability between night and day, life and death.

Tomb cult on the Göktepe hill

27On the eastern side of the Göktepe hill north of Halikarnassos, two rock-cut complexes attract special attention because of their figural paintings. One is a badly-preserved angular rock-cut chamber. It is overgrown and much earth and debris have fallen into the chamber and it is only accessible via a narrow opening. In the centre of the rear wall a rectangular niche, c. 1 m high, 75 cm wide, was cut. The niche is covered with stucco and here a figurative scene is depicted (fig. 14). The state of preservation is poor and only slight traces of drapery and at least two pairs of bare legs are detectable, probably depicting a number of men (four?) lined up, forming some sort of procession.

28North of this chamber is another rock-cut complex. It has a rather peculiar plan and an unconventional organization (fig. 15). The façade of the tomb is badly preserved, and at present a wide opening makes access to the chambers easy. The layer of dry manure inside the chambers shows that it has been used as a stable for a long time, and the original floor level is not visible. The southern part of the eastern wall has probably been cut away, while a frame cut in the northern part of the wall marks the original position of a doorpost. The complex consists of two chambers, the northern one forming a plain irregular rectangular room, with no further details. The southern chamber, however, consists of a smaller compartment, separated from the northern chamber by a rock wall with an anta as the eastern final. The anta is eroded and the lower part is hollowed out, but it is difficult to understand the function of this arched hollow.

29In striking contrast to the northern chamber, the southern is richly decorated with niches and at the rear an arcosolium (fig. 16). Four niches are cut in the back wall above the bench in the arch. Three of the niches are decorated with figural scenes painted on stucco, while the small rectangular niche at the northern end is bare. On top of the bench, at the northern end a circular hollow is cut, probably for the placing of a vessel. Other irregular cuttings have apparently been made by looters, inspired by the original incision.

Fig. 14. The painted procession from Göktepe.

Fig. 15. Plan and section of the shrine on the Göktepe.

Fig. 16. The arcosolium in the Göktepe shrine (photo Troels Munk-Olsen).

  • 27 Sometime in the 1970s Poul Pedersen and Niels Hannestad visited the chamber during the Danish exca (...)

30The back wall of the arcosolium also carries painted decoration. In the apex of the wall just below the ceiling an eight-beamed star is painted in red. A garland is also visible; at present it is dark olive or blackish, and it appears rather fluffy. It may originally have been arranged with two fastening points. Emphasizing the shape of the largest of the niches is a red line painted c. 8 cm from its upper edge. The outline of the first niche follows that of a draped figurine (figs. 17-18)27. The painting here is only detectable as an ochre background with blackish lines. It depicts a draped woman with a high polos on her head. Perhaps a veil was fastened to the head garment, covering the shoulders. Her dress seems to be, if not of ankle length, then covering at least the knees and part of the shinbone.

31The first gabled niche is decorated with a broad red band c. 15 cm above the bottom of the niche. The band serves as a base line for the decoration, consisting of a central seated figure flanked by two standing persons (figs. 19-20). The seated figure wears an ankle-length white dress, rather wide, and the drapery is depicted as strokes in a dark reddish colour. Perhaps the two legs of a footstool are marked in similar dark reddish paint. The figure may be depicted in three-quarter profile seen from the observer’s right. The skin of the upper part of the shoulders, the neck and the face is darker, greyish-brown, and dark reddish-brown colour indicates either hair or a head garment. Above this at least three vertical strokes are preserved. They may belong to a high head garment.

32To the right of the seated figure stands a male, wearing a short-sleeved white dress, with a green tunic or the like visible in the v-shaped neck opening. The dress is short, leaving the lower part of the thigh and the shinbone naked. The skin is reddish-brown and the left arm rests against the left hip while the right hangs relaxed down the side. The head may be turned towards the central figure. The folds in the drapery are marked by green-grey strokes, while red lines are seen on the skirt of the white dress, maybe depicting the final segment of a belt. On his feet the male figure wears what seem to be green boots.

Fig. 17. The draped figure in the body shaped niche.

Fig. 18. The draped figure in the body-shaped niche, sketch from photo.

33The figure to the left of the seated figure is also wearing a short-sleeved, knee-long dress. On top of the white skirt of the dress is a shorter green one, which appears like an apron. The belt is placed rather high, just below the breast. The right arm rests at the right hip and the left hand hangs down the side and holds a peculiar brown object framed by a line of dots, possibly indicating a metal object. While the skin of the arms and the neck has the same reddish-brown colour as the other standing figure, the legs are white, raising the possibility that the figure wore trousers. However, the outline is marked in the reddish-brown paint, and depicts strong calves. This figure also wears green boots. Above the scene in the gable of the niche a central horizontal sickle-shaped moon, painted in red is framed by busts that are also coloured in red, and beams of the same colour form a halo surrounding the busts.

34The lower part of the largest of the niches is decorated with three coloured bands, of which the lowest is red. This is followed by a light greyish-buff band, perhaps originally light blue. A wide black zone finishes this part of the decoration. The coloured bands serve as base lines for a figurative scene that is preserved only in the right half of the niche (figs. 21-22). In the corner a lion, painted in dark reddish-brown, walks towards the centre of the scene. It is shown in profile and has a long slender tail. The mane is depicted as three or four wavy wads painted in lighter reddish-brown, and the ears are depicted as semicircular dots. Above the lion an eight-beamed star in red paint fills the empty space. Next to the lion stands a draped figure, leaning on a spear or staff, held in the left arm. The lower part of the spear is badly preserved and a peculiar sickle-shaped final stroke is somewhat mysterious. The figure with the spear is wearing an ankle-length dress with bare arms, perhaps a peplos or a short-sleeved chiton. There appears to be a crossing belt arranged just below the breasts, organizing the drapery. The figure also seems to carry a shield or perhaps a tympanon in the right arm. The head may be turned towards the lion. A red element crowning the head may depict a crest. A similar element, a red feature above a darker greyish-brown, is also painted behind the figure to the right. The last figure preserved depicts a standing male, probably wearing a dress of the same type as the male placed to the right of the seated figure in the other niche, who however sports white boots.

Fig. 19. The gabled niche, photo by the courtesy of Niels Hannestad.

Fig. 20. The gabled niche, sketched from photo.

Fig. 21. The largest niches, figural scene (photo Niels Hannestad).

Fig. 22. The largest niches, figural scene, sketched from photo.

35While it is difficult to interpret both the paintings and the rock-cut complex as a whole, one possible interpretation does present itself. The standing draped figure in the body-shaped niche may have depicted Kybele with the characteristic attributes of the polos and the heavy drapery of a peplos. Likewise the enthroned figure in the other niche may depict Kybele flanked by Hekate and Hermes, while the Helios busts and the moon-sickle may refer to her celestial capacities.

  • 28 Cairo, inv. no. 26.6.20.5; Naumann 1983, cat. no. 441.
  • 29 Naumann 1983, 220-221; LIMC VIII 19-20, 37, 75.
  • 30 Naumann 1983, 254-5.

36A possible parallel example is a late Classical relief from Cairo, which shows an enthroned Kybele flanked by a standing Hermes and a young female figure28. In her work on the iconography of Kybele, Frederike Naumann identified a group of reliefs as representing Kybele between an old god, perhaps Zeus, and a young one, Hermes29. The majority of these depictions derive from Ephesos. A Hellenistic votive relief from Debleköy near Kyzikos may offer a further, interesting, parallel30. Here the top panel of the relief carries a depiction of a seated, enthroned Kybele, flanked by her lions with tympanon and phiale, and in the lower register, a sacrificial procession of identical figures proceeds towards an altar in order to sacrifice two sheep. The ‘procession scene’ depicted in the rock-cut chamber to the south may have followed the same scheme.

  • 31 Roller 1994.
  • 32 Vermaseren 1989, no. 158.
  • 33 Roller 1994, 252-3.

37The niche with the lion decoration may depict a scene that includes a Kybele figure standing with sceptre or spear and a shield or tympanon, and the male figure might then be interpreted as Attis. Attis only occurs together with Kybele/Angdistis in the Hellenistic period and then as the typical ‘oriental’31. A good parallel for such an interpretation is a marble relief, probably of the second century BC, now in Venice32. Here Meter, the Hellenised version ofKybele, and Attis are depicted standing, but Meter is shown with tympanon and staff to the left, with a small lion figure halfway hidden behind the heavy folds of her peplos drapery, and Attis to the right in his full oriental garment33.

Kybele, Attis and the cult of the dead

  • 34 The Göktepe mound on the northern outskirts of Halikarnassos holds the theatre of the city but als (...)
  • 35 Carstens 1999, 139-47.
  • 36 Popko 1995, 190-91; Lancellotti 2002, 10-13, 38-9; Roller 1999, 111-12.

38What can be said about the function of the complex? It is placed in the midst of a necropolis and therefore it should somehow relate to the sepulchral sphere34. It was obviously not a tomb as there are no minor compartments such as loculi, which is otherwise the typical arrangement in the Göktepe tombs35. I suggest that the complex was a small shrine of Kybele and Attis and that it was also somehow connected with the cult of the dead36. Such a cult may have been maintained by a private association, a koinon.

  • 37 Fraser 1977, 63.

39Such koina are well known in Hellenistic Rhodes. The associations were fundamental institutions of Rhodian society; they formed parallel societies with their own officials, laws, club-houses, and also burial grounds such as the complex of the koinon of the Sabaziastai. The associations undertook the purchase of burial grounds, and they performed the proper tomb cult37.

  • 38 LSAM, no. 72.
  • 39 Carbon 2005.
  • 40 Carbon 2005, 5; Gasparro 1997, 77-8, 89.

40An inscription found at Halikarnassos concerning the foundation of a local cult association not only gives evidence of the presence of such associations in the Halikarnassian region as well38. It also (as Jan-Mathieu Carbon has shown) seems to imply that some of the cultic activities comprised the worship of the daimones of persons39. In that way, the aim of the cult may have been engaged in the mediation between man and ancestors. This cult of daimones seems to have been a particular Karian phenomenon40.

  • 41 RC, nos. 55-61.
  • 42 Roller 1994, 259. Attis as an intermediary between the worshippers and the goddess, yet on the sam (...)
  • 43 Lancellotti 2002, 151-64; van den Hout 1995; Carstens 2009b.
  • 44 Carstens 2002, 402-3. On the non-civic associations of the Greek world: Gabrielsen 2007. I have ea (...)

41In the Phrygian context Attis was the title of the priest (or the name of the priest) at the sanctuary in Pessinous41, and Lynn E. Roller has suggested that Attis filled a dual role in the cult of Kybele as both her priest and mediator, and as her divine companion42. His status between man and god, summarised by Maria Garcia Lancellotti as ‘the man who dies in order to become god’, derives from old Anatolian traits going back to Hittite Royal funerary rituals, as well as reflecting the Karian practice of daemonizing persons43. The shrine on Göktepe may have formed the architectural frame of another such association, engaged in the Kybele/Meter and Attis cult and (by that) maintaining proper tomb cult on the necropolis hill. The Kybele/Meter cult was essentially a private cult and the rituals performed may have suited a koinon engaged in the maintenance of the likewise private or non-public tomb or ancestor cult44.

Notes

1 The tombs investigated here were included in my Ph. D.-dissertation of 1999. They were investigated, described, photographed, and measurement-sketches were produced, while only the tomb at the Göktepe was examined in great detail and measured and drawn by architect Troels Munk-Olsen and myself. The fieldwork was conducted under the auspices of the Danish Halikarnassos Project, directed by P. Pedersen, and with the kind permission from the Turkish Directorate of Monuments and Museums. The Bodrum Museum contributed to successful campaigns by supplying me with excellent local guides. I am grateful to the former director Oğuz Alpösen and his staff, in particular Mr. Ali Uçarer, whose good spirits and kindness contributed to my research. Likewise I owe Troels Munk-Olsen my sincere thanks for his work, not least in the chamber at Göktepe, where we suffered from various inconveniences deriving from the investigation of a low and humid rock-cut construction in use as a stable or animal shelter.

2 Pollitt 1986, 4-7.

3 This is how F. E. Winter has characterised the interrelations between architecture, landscape and seascape, Winter 2006, 207-18.

4 Lauter 1972, 49, on nature and landscape as raw material in architectural planning in the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods.

5 Pollitt 1986, 230.

6 For instance Hattuşa and Yazılıkaya: Neve 1993; van den Hout 1994, 71-2.

7 Oberleitner 1994.

8 Oberleitner 1994, Abb. 105-6.

9 Oberleitner 1994, 54, Abb. 23.

10 e.g. Stronach 1990; Carstens 2009b.

11 The Lykian and Karian heroa, Fedak 2006; Carstens 2009b.

12 Guldager Bilde 1999, 227-8; Lauter 1972 and 1988. See also Carroll 2006.

13 Lauter 1972 and 1988.

14 Lauter 1972, 53-6.

15 De Fine Licht 1974; Pertschi 1990. For the relation between a Rhodian school of sculpture (although perhaps that is a modern construction) and the Italian grotto architecture, see Pollitt 2000; Ridgway 2000.

16 The rock-cut tombs at Hıdırlık Tepe, Milas, were probably in use from the 2nd cent. BC to the 1st cent. AD, Åkerstedt 2001, 23. Likewise the rock-cut tombs at Stratonikeia, excavated 1996-1997 cover a similar chronological span, Boysal 1997; Boysal and Kadıoğlu 1998. The tombs from the Karaçallı necropolis in Pamphylia, however, were in general use for only a century, from 450 to 350 BC, Çokay-Kepçe 2006, 187-95.

17 Carstens 2002, 58-64.

18 Lauter 1972, 52.

19 The dimensions are c. 1.20 x 0.6 x 0.4 m.

20 Gabrielsen 1997, 123-9; Patsiada 1996, 92.

21 Paton and Myres described another terrace tomb in ashlar masonry from the island of Orak, in the gulf of Keramos (Paton & Myres 1896, fig. 31).

22 Berges 1986. Virtually nothing is known of the ancient settlement at the bay of Bitez. The only other ancient remains are the ruins of a small early Byzantine church with mosaic floors, situated closer to the sea. This in fact conforms to the ‘normal’ emplacement of settlements on the peninsula. The position of necropoleis indicates that many of the modern villages, in particular the coastal settlements at the bottom of the bays and good natural harbours or landing places, were also inhabited in antiquity. Often the only features left of these settlements are the rock-cut tombs. This is, for instance, the case at Gündoğan and at Türkbükü on the north coast of the Halikarnassos peninsula: see above, and Carstens 1999, 129-38.

23 Allen 1976.

24 Burkert 1987, 23; Berges 1986.

25 Lane 1990, 2165.

26 According to LIMC, he only appears as a horseman riding during the reign of Augustus, and he is rarely if ever depicted in such vivid movement as we see here. LIMC VI: 1, 462-73 (R. Vollkommer); VI: 2, 248-9; Popko 1995, 192. Although we lack concrete evidence for the date the tomb, I suggest that it was constructed during the early Hellenistic period. Such a date, as well as the rapid movement of the horseman, does not agree with the assumption found in LIMC. However, this work of reference presents surveys based on well-known representations of iconographic ‘standards’, and local Karian varieties may have differed.

27 Sometime in the 1970s Poul Pedersen and Niels Hannestad visited the chamber during the Danish excavations at the Maussolleion site. The detailed illustrations published here derived from that visit and I thank Niels Hannestad for the permission to use his excellent photos.

28 Cairo, inv. no. 26.6.20.5; Naumann 1983, cat. no. 441.

29 Naumann 1983, 220-221; LIMC VIII 19-20, 37, 75.

30 Naumann 1983, 254-5.

31 Roller 1994.

32 Vermaseren 1989, no. 158.

33 Roller 1994, 252-3.

34 The Göktepe mound on the northern outskirts of Halikarnassos holds the theatre of the city but also the major part of the Hellenistic and Roman necropolis of the city, both inside and outside the city-walls which were erected on the ridge of the hill: Bean & Cook 1955, 93; Carstens 1999, 139-45. For a discussion of the fortifications see also Pederson, this volume.

35 Carstens 1999, 139-47.

36 Popko 1995, 190-91; Lancellotti 2002, 10-13, 38-9; Roller 1999, 111-12.

37 Fraser 1977, 63.

38 LSAM, no. 72.

39 Carbon 2005.

40 Carbon 2005, 5; Gasparro 1997, 77-8, 89.

41 RC, nos. 55-61.

42 Roller 1994, 259. Attis as an intermediary between the worshippers and the goddess, yet on the same level and of the same size as Meter, is clearly depicted on the 2nd cent. BC relief, now in Venice: Vermaseren 1989, no. 158; Lancellotti 2002, 151-64.

43 Lancellotti 2002, 151-64; van den Hout 1995; Carstens 2009b.

44 Carstens 2002, 402-3. On the non-civic associations of the Greek world: Gabrielsen 2007. I have earlier suggested a similar club-house interpretation regarding the pre-Maussolleion complex, that is, an at least Classical, but perhaps even older structure, consisting of a peculiar ‘cultic installation’ and an andron. I have suggested that these premises formed the meeting place of a club, a koinon that had as one of its fields of interest the maintenance of the Halikarnassian cemeteries and the performance of proper rituals in this connection: Carstens 2005; Carstens 2009a.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 1. Map of the Halikarnassos peninsula.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ausonius/docannexe/image/2795/img-1.jpg
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Légende Fig. 2. The tombs at the Payamlık Point.
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Légende Fig. 3. Tomb 1 and 2 at the Payamlık Point.
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Légende Fig. 4. Tomb 5 at the PayamlıkPoint.
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Légende Fig. 5. Rock-cut tomb complexes at Lindos (Lauter 1972, Tafel 15:3).
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Légende Fig. 6. Türkbükütombs.
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Légende Fig. 7. Entrance to a rock-cut tomb in Türkbükü.
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Légende Fig. 8. Interior of rock-cut tomb in Türkbükü.
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Légende Fig. 9. Sketch of tomb complex at Bitez.
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Légende Fig. 10. The terrace tomb at Bitez.
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Légende Fig. 11. The Men tomb at Gündoğan.
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Légende Fig. 12. Thehorseman.
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Légende Fig. 13. The snake.
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Légende Fig. 14. The painted procession from Göktepe.
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Légende Fig. 15. Plan and section of the shrine on the Göktepe.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ausonius/docannexe/image/2795/img-15.jpg
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Légende Fig. 16. The arcosolium in the Göktepe shrine (photo Troels Munk-Olsen).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ausonius/docannexe/image/2795/img-16.jpg
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Légende Fig. 17. The draped figure in the body shaped niche.
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Légende Fig. 18. The draped figure in the body-shaped niche, sketch from photo.
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Légende Fig. 19. The gabled niche, photo by the courtesy of Niels Hannestad.
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Légende Fig. 20. The gabled niche, sketched from photo.
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Légende Fig. 21. The largest niches, figural scene (photo Niels Hannestad).
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Légende Fig. 22. The largest niches, figural scene, sketched from photo.
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Auteur

The Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen

© Ausonius Éditions, 2010

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540