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S U M M A R Y

Artemis Cults in the Territory of Termessos I: The Cult of 'Artemis Kelbesis' in the Ancient Settlement of Ahırtaş-Örentepe (Kelbesos) A review of the Contributions of Recent Epigraphic Research
A. Vedat ÇELGİN*

Despite being well acquainted with the centers of ancient cities in Asia Minor in general, our knowledge concerning their polis territorium (city territory) is as yet very limited. However, the territory of Termessos, the largest city of antiquity in the region of Pisidia, is an exception. The surrounding land (the area of domain or sovereignty), described as and by Termessians, is an ancient city territory about which we know quite a lot. The primary reason for this is the accumulation of epigraphic material into a sizeable volume. Since the territory under discussion is a rural region, the majority of inscriptions uncovered consist of funerary inscriptions, the rest being records of a different type and nature, such as votive offerings, records of honors, building inscriptions and lists of priests. Firstly, documents with a rural character enable one to identify the boundaries for the territory of Termessos rather accurately, and secondly, they shed light on the socio-cultural history of their times by providing us with important information on such subjects as settlements (i.e., peripolions) affiliated with the city, their administrative organizations, religious beliefs and influential families, etc.

The inscriptions found in Termessos and its territory to date, indicate that Artemis occupied an exclusive position in the religious beliefs of both urban and rural populations. It appears that the goddess shared the first rank in divinity with Zeus Solymeus, the national god of Solymians throughout the region of Milyas (Beydaglari, Candir Valley and the environs), and she came second in the order of importance after him. According to the inscriptions in the city area, Artemis was consecrated as the Hellenic Artemis without an epithet, besides having the epithets of "Philoparthenos", "Tauropolos" and "Potnia Theron". Apart from these, there was in all probability the mystery cult of Artemis Ephesia. The inscriptions recovered in the territory have disclosed that Artemis was worshipped as "Artemis Kelbessis" in Ahırtaş - Örentepe (Kelbessos) settlement; while she had her own cult and temple as "Aspalos - Artemis Akraia" in the settlement of Keldag / Göldag (Neapolis). It is thought that the cult of Artemis Agrotera may have existed in the settlement where Yukankaraman village stands today (which might have been called "Anydros" in antiquity and "Eudokias" in the Byzantine period), and the presence of a cult and a temple for Artemis in the settlement at the Karabel / Asardağı location (Typallia).

The purpose of this article is to present -through the contributions of our team and the evaluations I have made, based on data provided by the documents acquired to date the results of the investigation into the subject of "Artemis Kelbessis", who appears to have been consecrated in Kelbessos, being one of the three large settlements with a special status in the territory of Termessos, and its surroundings.

The Ahırtaş-Örentepe settlement, one of the places that yielded the largest number of inscriptions concerning Artemis cults in the territory of Termessos, lies near the Ahmpmari quarter on the road to Sakhkent, about 23 kms. in a straight line to the west of Antalya. On a hilly ground in the valley of Karaman Çay, about 10 kms. south of Termessos, and dominating the gulf of Antalya, this settlement was first discovered by R. Paribeni and P. Romanelli in 1913. The inscriptions discovered here were published by the Italian team and were later revised by R. Heberdey. As these inscriptions from the settlement were not subjected to any epigraphic project of significance to date, a concentrated epigraphical study was carried out in 1996. Twenty-one new inscriptions were discovered by B. İplikçioğlu (Marmara University), G. Celgin (Istanbul University) and the author and their assistants, within the scope of "The Epigraphy - Historical Geography Survey Project at Termessos and its Territory", conducted under the auspices of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 1989. In addition, six inscriptions previously published by Paribeni and Romanelli, and later revised by Heberdey with corrections, were re-evaluated.

The above-mentioned study has proved very fruitful, providing data that made it possible, first of all, to ascertain the proper name of the settlement and its political, judicial and legislative status within the territory of Termessos. Five inscriptions, one honorary and four funerary, establish the fact that this place was called "Kelbessos" in antiquity. In addition to the phrase in the honorary inscription, the word encountered in the other five inscriptions two of which were published by the Italians and three discovered by our team show that this place had the status of a peripolion. This settlement, unmentioned by ancient authors, is today understood to have been founded in the Hellenistic period, on the Trebenna (Caglarca) border and it had the status of a district (demos), much like the other peripolion, lying to the east-northeast, at a distance of 6.5 kms. in a straight line, situated on Keldağ near Doyran village, with a name our team identified as "Neapolis". Although rural settlements that closely resemble these places under consideration are also found in the Lycian region (i.e., the peripolions Tyinda of Kyaneai and Asarönü of Limyra), the factors that played a part in their establishment and their legislative organizations are unknown. However, according to evidence from inscriptions, their inhabitants seem to have maintained the limited independence they won in the Hellenistic period, throughout the Roman Imperial period.

The three funerary inscriptions we discovered in the northern necropolis, not only helped us to ascertain the proper name of the settlement, but also constitute the basis of our primary conclusions in relation to Artemis worship. In these inscriptions, the temple of Artemis Kelbessis is specified as the cashier's office authorized to collect those fines charged for tomb violations. The records clearly indicate that the goddess worshipped here was "Artemis Kelbessis". In addition to the inscriptions showing that the proper name for this settlement served as an epithet of Artemis, they also provided the clue to that deity's name, "Bessis" (... ...), which appeared in Paribeni and Romanelli's publication, was a result of their misreading a tomb inscription (TAM III/1. 904) and this name was not repeated anywhere else and should be corrected to "Artemis Kelbessis" (... ). In addition to these four inscriptions, the name of Artemis is mentioned without an epithet in four other inscriptions (three honorary and one votive) published by Paribeni and Romunelli. But. since an additional cult and temple for an Hellenic Artemis without an epithet cannot be thought to exist in such a minor settlement, there can be no doubt that the deity mentioned in these inscriptions was also Artemis Kelbessis.

Theophoric names such as Arteimas, Artemeis and Artemon mentioned in the inscriptions are indicative of the veneration and devotion shown to the goddess. The deity referred to as "Megalou Theou" in the three honorary inscriptions must have been Artemis Kelbessis herself, as B. İplikçioğlu suggested. The inscriptions do not provide any information on the attributes of Artemis Kelbessis, who seems clearly to possess a special importance for Kelbessos. The goddess must have been a deity of nature, hunt and abundance, with attributes fitting the mountainous and forested aspects of the region, and consecrated in a rather restricted area, namely Kelbessos and its environs. The location of the temple of this rural goddess, undoubtedly an appearance of Artemis in a completely native character, has not as yet been determined, although it must be sought in a significant part of the settlement. Furthermore, the foundation date of the cult of Artemis is also uncertain, but it is probable that the cult's beginnings date to the first establishment of the settlement in Luwian times. The presence of the cult and worship of Artemis, since the establishment of the peripolion in the Hellenistic age, is proven.

Our knowledge of the cult officials is today limited to the names of four priests: Aurelius Artemon, Trokondas son of Trokondas, Moles son of Hermaios and Moles son of Molesis. The gens name of "Aurelius" for the first priest indicates that he had the right to Roman citizenship in A.D. 212 and lived around this date. Since the other three priests do not carry the gens name "Aurelius", they are thought to have lived before A.D. 212, and were not Roman citizens. Thus, we can surmise that these three priests served the Artemis Kelbessis cult before Aurelius Artemon. Also, we possess at present only one specimen of the votive offerings made to Artemis of Kelbessos. This offering is a fragment of a stone vessel, found amongst the rubble of a building that the Italian researchers identified simply as "a little temple", without providing any detailed information on the find's location. An inscription of three lines appears on the edge of the fragment, decorated by a wreath of laurels on the underside. The inscription declares that this stone vessel was dedicated to Artemis by a person called Trokondas. This vessel is an interesting discovery, as it shows that objects of this nature were presented as votive offerings to the temple of Artemis Kelbessis.

The author of this article believes that archaeological surveys, of a more extensive coverage in forthcoming years, planned by N. Cevik, B. Varkivanc and their friends, will provide new data contributing both to our understanding of Kelbessos and to redress the present lack of information concerning the cult and temple of Artemis Kelbessis.


*Doç. Dr. A. 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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