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The Gods of Termessos: Three Inscriptions from the City which Document New Epithets and Cults of Artemis in the City (A Preliminary Evaluation)
A. Vedat ÇELGİN*

Termessos was an important ancient city founded by the Solymians, descendants of the Luwians -one of the earliest peoples of Anatolia- in a valley between the peaks of Mount Solymos. today called Güllük Dağı, in the southwest part of Pisidia called "Milyas". Although no excavations have been carried out so far, the surveys conducted by scholars such as E. Petersen (from the team of Lanckoronski). G. Cousin and R. Heberdey and the inscriptions recovered in the surveys carried out by our epigraphy team, consisting of B. İplikcioğlu. G. Çelgin and myself, on behalf of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, have shed light on to the history of Termessos and its territory. The inscriptions which have-been studied so far show that during the pagan period there prevailed a wide variety and wealth of beliefs in the city. It was possible to find cults related to those of Hellenic and ancient Oriental origin along with more local cults. Moreover, the cults of the Emperor of Rome, of Christianity and of the dead were among the belief systems of the citizens of Termessos.

The chief god of the city and its territory was Zeus Solymeus. who originated from the Weather God Tarhu, Tarhunt of the Luwians. Alongside him were the other local cults of: Heros Solymos, who gave his name to the Solymians; Heros Termessos (whoıse existence is controversial), who gave his name to the city; and the Goddess Kleuthera. Among the ancient Oriental cults can be cited the cults of: Hypsistos, Isis. Kuretes, Leto, Men, Meter Theon (the Mother Goddess Kybele), Sarapis and Soxon.

The inscriptions show that ancient Oriental cults other than Zeus Solymeus were not much favoured, whereas the Hellenic cults were quite popular, which in turn provides evidence for the degree of Hellenixation. Almost all the gods, and goddesses of the Hellenic pantheon are mentioned in the inscriptions found and studied from the city and its territory: Aphrodite, Apollon (without epithet, Phoibos. and also Apollon Patroos), Ares, Artemis (without epithet, and with various epithets to be described below). Asklepios. Athena, Charites. Demeter (without epithet, also as Hiera Fleusinia), Dione. Dionysos (Bacchus). Dioskoroi, Eros, Ge Karpophoros, Helene, Helios, Hera. Herakles (without epithet, also as Herakles Eitheos), Hermes, Hygieia, Muses, Nemesis (Nemesis Adrasteia), Nike, Nymphs. Poseidon. Selene Tyche, Zeus (without epithet, also as Zeus Eleutherios) etc. Some ol these certainly did have temples in the city; some others may have had a cult and a temple, while some others were only honored. Besides, it can be added that lesser gods and goddesses such as Aehilleus (as Aehilleus leteros I?]). Ate (with the title Teimeoros [?]), and Dikeosyne also had a cult or were honored in the city.

Artemis has a special place among the Hellenic deities. The high number and variety of evidence for Artemis within the city and its territory places her as the second chief deity after Zeus Solymeus and, in fact, shows that she shared the chief position together with him. The inscriptions studied by previous scholars showed that this Goddess was venerated and wrorshiped as Hellenic Arterhis without an epithet. In addition, Artemis Ephesia, considered as the continuation of the ancient Anatolian Goddess of Nature and Fertility, had a cult of mysteries.

The present article examines three inscriptions recovered in the city in 1993 and 1994 showing that Artemis was worshiped or honored also with three epithets: "philoparthenos", "tauropolos", and "potnia theron". We aim only to present these inscriptions to the world of science, as we are still working on their full publication. A preliminary evaluation comprising the initial data acquired from these inscriptions and our personal comments are here presented for the perusal and interest of our colleagues.

One of the three above mentioned inscriptions was discovered near the upper, western entrance of the theatre (O1). The inscription is on the base of a votive statue erected by the city for the blessing of Artemis Philoparthenos and is dated to after 212 AD. This find is important as it provides the first evidence for the "philoparthenos" title given to Artemis at Termessos; however, one inscription is not sufficient evidence to prove the goddess had a cult of this title in the city.

The second inscription was found in the remains between the upper gymnasium (I) and the agora (K). It tells of a priest called Italiens presenting the city with a statue of Artemis Tauropolos procured from his own resources. This offering is dated to the ISO's AD and provides the first evidence for the cult of Artemis Tauropolos. However, it is not possible today to locate the site of the temple of Artemis Tauropolos.

The last inscription comes from a sarcophagus in the northwest necropolis (E5). It records that this sarcophagus was made for Masas and Musaios by their mother, whose name cannot be accurately read due to damage (but should probably be Artemeis/Artemis) who was in charge of the cult at the temple(s) of Demeter and Artemis. The letters ?? just before the damaged part in the first line suggest the existence of the words "potnia theron" as the epithet of Artemis here. Along with providing the first evidence for this epithet of the Goddess Artemis at Termessos, the first word of the inscription "pyrukhos" is encountered here for the first time. This inscription is important as it points to the existence of the cult of Artemis Potnia Theron. It is also noteworthy for it suggests a cultic association between the cult of Artemis Potnia Theron and the cult of Demeter, the existence of this cult and of the temple are already proved by other inscriptions from the city.

Due to the lack of written or other evidence, it is not possible to locate the temple(s) belonging to the cults of Artemis Potnia Theron - Demeter. Yet, N4 whose identification as an Artemis Temple is certain, based on the dedicatory inscription in situ, and N6 whose dedication is so far unclear, can be suggested as possibilities.

*Doç. Dr. Ahmet Vedat Çelgin, İstanbul Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Eskiçağ Dilleri ve Kültürleri Bölümü, Eski Yunan Dili ve Edebiyatı Anabilim Dalı, Fen P.T.T. 34459 İstanbul.

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