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Artemis Cults in the Territory of Termessos II: The Cult of 'Aspalos-Artemis' in the Ancient Settlement of Keldağ / Göldağ (Neapolis) An Evaluation in Light of the Epigraphical and Archaeological Data
A. Vedat ÇELGİN*

From the point of view of Artemis cults, there is one more settlement of special importance following that of Ahırtaş-Örentepe (Kelbessos) in the territory of the ancient city of Termessos (Güllük / Güldere Dagi). This second settlement is situated on a sharply pointed hill (known by various names: "Keldağ", "Göldag", "Doyranınkeldağ Tepesi", "Keltepe" or "Göltepe") about 2 kms. north of Doyran village (now a town), roughly 16 kms. (W by NW) from Antalya and 6.5 kms. in a straight line (E by NE) from Kelbessos.

The purpose of this article is to present the results of the epigraphical and archaeological data related to the cult of "Aspalos-Artemis Akraia", discovered by our research team in the settlement of Keldağ / Göldag.

This settlement is about 11 kms. in a straight line to the SE of Termessos, on the Trebenna (Caglarca) border, and is situated on the relatively less steep western and northwestern slopes of Keldağ. This settlement, quite remote from main routes and entirely lacking in any transportation facilities until the forest road was opened, remains a ruinous site unmentioned by any traveler in published accounts and has not been considered fit for any scientific research, due to its difficult situation.

Our team carrying out research in Termessos and East - Northeast Lycia, on behalf of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, conducted a substantial survey lasting fifteen days in 1997, within the scope of "The Epigraphy - Historical Geography Survey Project at Termessos and its Territory" at Keldağ / Göldag. During this survey, a total of seventeen inscriptions were recovered. These inscriptions comprise one votive offering inscription, one building inscription, three honorary inscriptions (one being a memorial), and twelve funerary inscriptions. One of the most important contributions made by the discovery of these inscriptions was in establishing the proper name of the settlement and its political, judicial and legislative status within the territory of Termessos. Three inscriptions, one for a building, one honorary and one for funerary provided the evidence. The word found in the building inscription concerning the completion of the Temple of Zeus Soter and the cult statue, and the word in the honorary inscription, enabled us to establish that the place had the status of a peripolion, similar to the settlement of Ahirtas - Örentepe. In addition to the word in the honorary inscription, the qualification used in the funerary inscription for the person who commissioned the sarcophagus, but whose name remains unknown to us as the initial part of the text is lost, clearly shows the settlement was named "Neapolis". It seems to have been founded in the Hellenistic period and constitutes, after Kelbessos, the second example of a peripolion in the territory of Termessos. From the point of view of its importance as one of the three major settlements, it is perhaps the most splendid one. Neapolis, unmentioned in any of the ancient sources, was a rural community with the attribute of a district (demos), like Kelbessos. Developing throughout the Roman period and, seemingly, gaining more importance with the strengthening of Christianity in the region, "Neapolis" fittingly has the appearance of a town, with its buildings surviving today in fairly good condition.

Following the discoveries in the Keldağ ruins that led to the identification of the settlement's name and status, the most remarkable find made by our team was to establish the existence of the Aspalos - Artemis Akraia cult. Among the inscriptions that formed the basis of this discovery, the most important was a votive inscription found among the ruins of the settlement's apparently single temple, which was built in a temenos and on the rocks near the summit of the hill occupied by the town. This inscription of four lines carved inside a tabula ansata on a block of the antae reads as follows:

This inscription proves that the temple was dedicated to Aspalos - Artemis by a person called Trokondas.

The word , synonymous with (fish) in ancient Greek, is documented in this inscription for the very first time as being used as an epithet of Artemis, as in "Fish - Artemis"; although we know that the fishermen in Thessalia worshipped a goddess named , equated with Artemis. What is of importance is that Artemis herself is explicitly called "Fish" for the first time in this votive inscription from Neapolis. As for her connection with "fish", in both literature and art, this connection has been common knowledge for a long time; it is possible to find various examples where this topic was treated in accounts by ancient authors, as well as articulated in different forms of archaeological works, both numerous and highly interesting. Artemis, being so closely affiliated with fish, was naturally the goddess of fishermen. Nevertheless, the consecration of the goddess herself as "Fish" in person and the appropriation of a cult to her in Neapolis is extremely interesting. Although it is known that some deities were characterized by means of their animal personification in Greek mythology, besides being confirmed by epithets in religious contexts and cult rituals, in this context, it must be emphasized that Artemis also had epithets concerned with wild animals and hunting, domesticated animals and farming, but none of these epithets bore the qualification of "Aspalos". The reason for this is that "Aspalos" was not an epithet like other epithets trailing behind the name of the deity to whom it belonged, but is in fact, a preceding epithet, a substantive. In other words, it functioned as another name of the goddess, i.e., "Fish - Artemis".

Apart from the votive inscription, six funerary inscriptions discovered at the site are also of importance in enabling us to establish the epithet of Aspalos - Artemis. At the end of two of them, there is a statement that the fines charged for tomb violations should be paid to the treasurer of the Artemis Akraia Temple, while at the end of the other four inscriptions, the name of the goddess Artemis is mentioned without an epithet, as the treasurer's office authorized to collect the fines. However, among the inscriptions found to date, there are no instances showing authorization to collect tomb fines by the temple of Aspalos - Artemis. That such a concession was not granted to this temple is interesting; this despite the fact that it was apparently the only temple standing in Neapolis. The possibility that Artemis was worshipped with different epithets and without an epithet in different temples located side by side in such a small community lacks any logic. This condition impels us to agree with B. İplikçioğlu's reasoning, that here there was only one cult and one temple of Artemis, which we understand belonged to Aspalos - Artemis. At the same time, the semantics of the word "Akraia" used as the epithet of Artemis in the two inscriptions seems to support this opinion, since the temple of Aspalos - Artemis' being constructed at a point near the summit of Keltepe and, its location dominating the vicinity, are in agreement with this epithet. In this case, the epithet "Akraia" must be understood as that of Aspalos - Artemis, and in consequence, we are to understand a singular Artemis, bearing an epithet such as: "Aspalos - Artemis Akraia", having one cult and one temple dedicated in her name.

In addition to the temple belonging to Aspalos - Artemis Akraia in the settlement, such theophoric personal names as Arteimas, Artemeis and Artemes mentioned in the inscriptions are representative of the veneration and devotion shown for Artemis at Neapolis. As for the qualifications given to Aspalos - Artemis Akraia, who undoubtedly had a special importance for this town, we do not have at present any evidence other than the appellation "Aspalos". Ancient authors aside, concerning this goddess even the inscriptions fail to provide any information, but the goddess is certainly an appearance of Artemis with a native character. Although the epithet "Aspalos" prefixed to the name of the goddess shows, as stated above, her affiliation with "fish" and "fishermen", a question as to what sort of a relation she could possibly have had, as a goddess consecrated to fish in a mountainous dwelling? However, it must be remembered that there are numerous streams, ponds and springs, both in and around Neapolis, and the coastline of the bay of Antalya is not far distant. These facts suggest that Aspalos - Artemis may, more than anything else, be a goddess worshipped by people making their living from freshwater fishing at Neapolis and in its surroundings. Within the territory of Termessos there is a supporting example, one of the inscriptions carved on the walls of Karain Cave near Antalya, concerning the Goddess of Mountains or Caves, Meter Oreia, provides us with information on a certain guild formed by those people who caught fish in turbulent waters from a whirlpool in the neighborhood. Likewise, Aspalos - Akraia doubtless was a goddess of nature and abundance, from whom the people living from stream and lake fishing in this settlement and its vicinity expected a bountiful catch. Although we do not have any information concerning forms of worship, religious ceremonies and votive offerings pertaining to the cult of Aspalos - Artemis, it can be thought that the fishermen invoked this goddess of fertility to bring fortune for their labors through making offerings of fish, particularly at the beginning of the fishing season, as recorded by Hegesandros of Athens.

The temple of Aspalos - Artemis Akraia was built within a temenos, at the southwestern end of Keldağ, at a point towering over the Antalya plain and the gulf of Antalya. Only the cella walls of the temple remain to a certain height intact and in situ. Its facade is oriented towards the southeast and it seems to have been severely damaged by earthquakes. The plan of the temple was templum in antis, but the order has not, as yet, been determined, and it is today impossible to comment on the cult statue of Aspalos - Artemis, as not even the smallest fragment from this sculpture survives today. The walls of the temple are constructed of rectangular stone blocks, having slightly bulged surfaces and show workmanship of good quality suggesting a Hellenistic date. As for our votive inscription, while it does not give very reliable clues on the question of dating, the forms of its lettering suggest a date in the 3rd century A.D., while the absence of the gens name "Aurelius" indicates a date prior to A.D. 212. Near to this inscription, three more were found within the same temenos. One is a list carved on the lintel of the entrance door and contains the names of persons who contributed materially to temple's construction or to its restoration. Of the other two inscriptions, the first records that a person named Tiberius Claudius Marcellus was accorded an honor by the peripolion of the Neapolitans, and the second concerns the homage paid to the deceased priest of Dionysus, Hermaios the son of Termilas by his sons and grandsons. These inscriptions suggest dates prior to A.D. 212. Using all available evidence, it can be thought that there was a temple dedicated to Artemis at this location since the Hellenistic period, when the settlement was first established. It also seems sensible in the light of the surviving evidence to suggest that, although the surviving remains of the temple were initially constructed in the Hellenistic age, the temple was damaged by earthquakes and was returned to use after repairs made in the Roman period. Thus, the inscription recording the dedication of the temple to Aspalos - Artemis should belong to this second, later period.

To date we do not possess any information concerning the personnel assigned to the cult rituals of the temple, except for the strong possibility that a priest, named Thoas, recorded in a tomb inscription, served as a member of the Aspalos - Artemis clergy.

This temple is the only one within Termessian territory, where the temple deity has been definitely identified to date, and is the sole temple dedicated to Artemis that has been located in a rural area. When Termessos is considered together with its territory, this temple carries additional importance, being the third temple to Artemis, after the temples numbered N4 and N7 at Termessos that has been clearly identified as belonging to the same goddess.

I believe that the archaeological surveys of more extensive coverage in the years ahead, planned by N. Çevik, B. Varkıvanç and their friends, shall provide new data contributing to our knowledge about Neapolis and the cult and temple of this town's magnificent goddess Aspalos - Artemis Akraia.

*Doç Dr. A. Vedat Celgin, 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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