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The Founders of the City of Perge and Plancia Magna
Sencer ŞAHİN*

In this article, the nine statues of founders (Ktistai) are examined for their qualitative and quantitative aspects by referring to the pedestals, and the inscriptions found on them, that were unearthed during the excavations carried out in the oval courtyard between the Hellenistic towers and Hadrian's Gate in Perge, and such particulars as the commissioner of the statues, the time, the occasion and the purpose of their making are discussed.

After having ascertained that the founders' statues were commissioned by Planda Magna, the celebrated lady of Perge, in compliance with Hadrian's Panhelleneia program in 124-125 A.D., it is noted that there were 14 in all, seven of them representing the contemporary founders (Ktistai), and the other seven the legendary ones. The fact that Pausanias used the term (metal; bronze; copper) for the statues of Ktistai he saw in Athens, plus the observations made on the pedestals in Perge indicate that these statues, none of which have survived to the present day, were made of cast-bronze.

To enable Perge to participate in the Panhelleneia Festivities planned to be held in Athens every year, it had to prove that the city could trace its foundation back to the heroes of Greek origin. For this reason, recourse was taken to mythology, and numerous legends about Trojan heroes were adopted. However, when considered from the historical point of view, one reads in the Hittite texts of the existence of the city predating the Trojan wars.

As for why the founders' statues were so many, and those of the contemporaries added up to seven, the composition of Plancia Magna's household provides interesting clues. Within this family, seven persons with qualifications to justify their being called the founders (Ktistes) are known by name: 1. M. Plancius Rutilius Varus (Plancia Magna (PM)'s father); 2. Plancia Magna herself; 3. C. Plancius Varus (PM's brother); 4. C. lulius Cornutus Tertullus (PM's husband); 5. C. lulius Plancius Varus Cornutus (PM's son); 6. C. Rutilius Plancius Varus (C. Plancius Varus' son); 7.- -[Plancius] Varus (C. Plancius Varus' other son).

So it appears that Plancia Magna felt inclined to introduce contemporary founders of Italo-Greek origin, as if to balance the legendary ones of Greek. In the whole group, her father, M. Plancius Varus seems to command the central position of importance among the contemporary ones, as Labos does amongst the legendary.

*Prof. Dr. Sencer Şahin, Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Eskiçağ Dilleri ve Kültürleri Bölümü Başkanı - Antalya.

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