Home Page Issues Publishing Principles Order Form Links Contact Türkçe
Detailed Search  
Click here to visit web site of anakkale Ceramics
If you would like to get announcement mails about Akmed activities, please subcribe to our mailling list.
First name:
Last name:


Comments on the Fragment by Panyasis Based on the Personage of Ogyges: A Re-evaluation of the Myth of "Bellerophon" and the Early History of Lycia

There are two traditions about the origins of the Lydans in the ancient sources: the Uiaci provides the family tree of the Lycian leaders fighting before Troy: and the well-known-fragment by Panyasis which teils of the "syngeneia" or kinship between the important cities of the Xanthos Valley and the eponymos of Mount Kragos, the most significant mountain in Lycia. Although for different reasons, both traditions take the origin of the Lycians back to Hellas, to Ephyra through Bellerophon (Bellerophontes) and to Boiotia through Ogyges. However, Ogyges, claimed by Panyasis to be the ancestor of the Lycians, represented a very dark figure in the minds of the Greeks, while his possibly Carian name suggests he may have originally come from southwestern Anatolia. In addition, the fact that Panyasis includes Tremiles in the Lycian family tree, that he creates the figure of Praxidice who reflects certain cults peculiar to Lycia, and uses the local names Sirbis/Sirbos for the River Xanthos, show that he seems to have Hellenized an existing local tradition. At this point, the question as to why two different traditions connect the origin of the Lycians to Hellas can be answered in the following manner: Homer had information through second hand sources, while Panyasis had direct information. Thus, the fact that Homer does not talk of the Lycians calling themselves Termilai is of significance. Yet, the two narrations have many points in common, and they can be considered to be, on essential points, identical. Moreover, Sarpedon, whose Luwian origin name suggests that he was a native, is mentioned as the leader of the Termilai in the post-Homeric tradition, thus he can also be identified as belonging to the Tremiles.

The early history of Lycia can be re-evaluated through a comparison of these two traditions. For this purpose, the common points of both traditions should be tested with documents concerning the Lukka peoples, who were the ancestors of the Lycians in the 2nd millennium B.C. When this investigation is complete, it can be seen that what Homer and Panyasis tell us, confirm and collaborate the historical record. Thus, Ogyges included in the genealogy of Lycia-Caria, through his mother Termeni and his daughter, the nymph Praxidice, and the contact of Sarpedon with Miletus, together with other traditions witnessing to the relations between Lycia and the Aegean coast, make more sense, as it was the case that the Lukka peoples who settled down, according to the evidence from the 2nd millennium B.C., over whole of Lycia, covered southeast Caria to the west, and east Pamphylia up to Perge to the east (at least in the reign of Tudhaliyas IV).

Termessos can be regarded as an important candidate for being the homeland of the Termilai led by Sarpedon/Tremiles from the linguistic criteria which show the equivalence of Tennessos to Attarimma Further, a series of inscriptions from the reign of Tudhaliyas IV provide (he best support for this hypothesis. According to the above mentioned inscriptions, from which it is inferred that Tudhaliyas IV made significant changes in the administrative .structure of the Hittite Kingdom, Lukka was an important border outpost. The location of Attarimma, which played the foremost role among the cities of Lukka in the Hitlite documents, is crucial at this point, as the territory of Kurunta and the Prince of Hulaya-Tarliuntassas, who was a great threat to the Hittite throne for Tudhaliyas. had a border with Lukka on the west. Therefore, the fact that Lukka is mentioned frequently in the inscriptions from the reign of Tudhaliyas IV, would have arisen from its position as an outpost on this border. The best point in Lukka, from which to watch over the Hulaya-Tarlmntassa border is Termessos, which soars to an eagle's nest, at an altitude of 1050 m. overlooking the whole of the Pamphylian plain and keeping the narrow passes opening into Milyas under its observation and control. Thus, Attarimma, which had the foremost role in the Hittite texts concerning Lukka, seems to have had an important role in the history of the region, Linçler the name Termessos in the 1st millennium B.C. Consequently, the name Termilai, which the Lycians used for themselves, may have come from the toponymon Atarimma, and the name given to them by the Hellenes may have come from the ''Lukka city" toponymon Arinna/Awarna (Xanthos), which seems to have been a second naming. The dispute arising from the Iliad mentioning Xanthos as the administrative center of Lycia may be related to the conquest of the Xanthos valley by the Alarimma/Termilai who migrated to the west during the Phoenician colonisation. This might have taken place after the fall of the Hittite Empire.

In summary, this paper aims to show that the early history of a region can be re-interpreted using 2nd millennium B.C. documents and that the later myths stem from genuine historical grounds. As an example of such work, the above mentioned conclusions have been attained for Lycia. However, it must be kept in mind that this is only an investigation. A final conclusion can only be reached when the archaeological and epigraphic inventory of the region is completed, or at least provides us with more complete evidence.

*Burak Takmer, Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Eskiçağ Dilleri ve Kültürleri Bölümü, 07058 Kampüs-Antalya.
** Ebru N. Akdoğu-Arca, Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat, Eskiçağ Dilleri ve Kültürleri Bölümü, 07058 Kampüs-Antalya.

Article List