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‘Europe in the Antalya Vilayet’ Western and Eastern Mythology on the Lycian Coast

This article studies to what degree the ancient mythologies in ancient Lycia should be considered seriously and how true they are as Turkey takes the step forth to join the EU.

The region has been the target of derogatory blames by the western culture-bringers for centuries. For example, the Lycian king Bellerophontes, who was sceptic of the existence of the Greek deities, was tried curiously enough as a mad man. The farmers in the Xanthos valley were accused by the westerners of animosity against strangers and of having inhumane traditions as they refused to give water to a young mother with children. Such derogatory blames on the inhabitants of the Lycian-Pamphylian coasts by the westerners increased in the Middle Ages culminating in incredible accusations of necrophilia saying that Antalya was raged to the ground just like Sodom and Gomorra had been by the God, who got angry with the disgusting and against-the-customs necrophiliac intercourse. However, we are aware that the Lycian coasts were partially sunken due to tectonic movements, not by the wrath of the gods. The claim by the politician Herakleides Pontikos that the Lycians did not abide by any laws and lived as plunderers in a matriarchal society was just a biased and ill-thought western propaganda and led to the loss of Lycia unconsciously. This attitude culminated in Lycia's break-away from the Attic-Delian Sea League in the Classical period and their getting closer, under the leadership of their rulers to the Achaemenid Kingdom. Besides, the monarchy in Lycia was an unacceptable way of administration for the western thought.

However, it must be borne in mind that the Lycian language, which belongs to the Luwian-Hittite branch of the Indo-European language family, and the Lycian art had significant contributions to the formation of the European atmosphere, political events, and historical process.
The political skills of the Lycians inspired Charles de Monstequieu and George Washington in the 18th century and contributed to the formation of both the monarchic and republican laws.

In the field of archaeology, the Archaeological-Philological Corpus of Lycian Inscriptions undertaken jointly by Austria and Turkey, supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Directorate General of Museums and Cultural Heritage, and financed by the Scientific Research Fund in Vienna, sets an exemplary work against such biased and ill-thought attitudes by showing the that the Lycians had a well-developed culture with its own language, script and architecture.
Besides the Austrian researches, the studies undertaken by the university and other scientific institutions in Antalya will definitely yield positive results shedding light unto the region.

The concept of Europe has displayed itself in the provinces of Antalya and Muğla for a long time and according to the author, it is the time that this wonderful country with a rich cultural history from the Hittites to the Ottomans becomes a member of the EU.

*Prof. Dr. Jürgen Borchhardt, Rennweg 89.5 A-1030 Wien - Österreich.

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