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Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Our journeys across the history and through the cities of Caria continue. This month we are in Lagina, the center of paganism and the most mystical city in Caria. Located about a kilometer from the Turgut Village of Yatağan, t...his antique city was home to Full Moon rituals of pagan goddess Hekate. Currently under the heavy fog of Yatağan Hydroelectricity Plant, the magical powers represented seem to be seeking the glories of the by-gone. However, marble columns pierce through the fog thanks to fast increasing archeological excavations. Profoundly effective with sacred elements of symbolism, Pagan culture defines a wide spectrum of belief systems interconnecting various rituals with idol worship prior to authoritarian religions. The name of pagan capital Lagina is necessarily mentioned in relation to Carian King Hekate in the stage of history. Throughout history, Hekate is famed for its patronage of witches, sorcerers, magicians, soothsayers and fortune tellers and is known as a goddess holding the key to the underground world of Hades. Although it is not regularly referred to in the Greek Pantheon, mythology says that she is the daughter of Zeus or a Titan. She is not included amongst the 12 gods of Olympus and is very mystical but the most important point is that this god is indigenous to Anatolia. Homeros does not mention it but Hesiodos talks about it a great deal in Theogonia. According to Hesiodos, Hekate is of the heritage of gods known as Sun Gods amongst the Titans. The results of research by Prof. Dr. Ahmet A. Tırpan, head of Lagina excavations and his assistant Asst. Prof. Dr. Bilal Söğüt shows that Kaios and Phoibe had two daughters. One of these girls was Leto (Apollo and Artemisia were born following coalescence with Zeus) and the other was Asterie. Hekate was born to Asterie and Perses. Form time to time, Hekate is especially connected with Artemis and Demeter also. According to Bean, she was referred to as Ompnia in an inscription and this is precisely a name attributed exclusively to Demeter. Hesiodos has a 46 line eulogy dedicated to Hekate. Just like it is in the eulogies for Moses; it is said that this goddess was supreme over the others in the eyes of Zeus and has granted authority to Hekate on land, in the seas, under the ground and in the skies when distributing honors to gods. Osman Hamdi Bey excavates in Lagina First excavations of inspection purposes on the site, history of which dates back to 3rd Century BC., were carried out by Richard Pockockein 1743. Later in the 19th Century, W.M Leake and W.A Waddington began excavations on the site. Tens of travelers and archaeologists continued to excavate in Lagina throughout time and in 1891 Osman Hamdi Bey, the Creator of Turkish Museums, carried out excavations for about two weeks on the site. He discovered 17 friezes; collected the new and the previous finds and placed them under protection in a room of the mansion he stayed at Turgut village, about a kilometer away. Today, following restorations, this mansion is known as Osman Hamdi Bey Mansion. The dark side of Hekate Hekate the goddess represents the evil in human dreams and it is the one who dispatches ghosts amongst the living. However sometimes, contrary to common, it dispatches protectors against the spirits. In summary, life on earth and the underground was under the control of Hekate. In addition, Hekate accompanied travelers and helped those who are stranded whilst journeying, the traders, the thieves and especially the fortune tellers. Most of the time, dogs accompanied the Goddess and it is known that people sacrificed dogs in honor of her. Mainly used as a sacrifice at the time of Carians, the dogs were also seen as a creature of the underground life. Again, warden of the dead and owner of the riches underground in the Greek Pantheon, Hades had a dog called Kerberos. Hekate the Moon Goddess On the other hand, Hekate is the moon goddess; she is depicted in Lagina as carrying a torch in her left hand and a plate in her right hand. She wears a head cover called polos and seems to stand over a dog and a crescent moon. She wanders about the main roads and road crossings at nights. The Carians presented such offerings as cookies, fish, eggs and cheese to her when the moon entered into its last phase. Hekate has been depicted in different forms throughout history. The earliest one in Lagina depicts her as having either a single torso or triple torso or single torso with three heads. Her main symbols are torches, daggers, whips, snakes and keys. Once more, according to Bean, it is determined that goddesses sometimes prophesized in rituals held in the temple in Lagina. The sacred site, temple and the altar dedicated to Hekate in Lagina are the largest of their kind in Anatolia. Naturally, Lagina had become the center of fortune telling due to the fame and function of Hekate. In line with the information provided by archaeologists Prof. Dr. Ahmet Tırpan and Asst.Prof. Dr. Bilal Söğüt, who have been excavating in Lagina antique city since 1993, we discover that there were more than one feasts held in Lagina sacred site and that amongst those were Hekatesia, Key Carrying, Birthday Celebrations and Secret Religious Rituals. In addition, the most important of the feasts held at Hekate sacred site was the Hekatesia-Romania Feasts, which became regular after 81st Century B.C. This had been the largest of the feasts held at the sacred site and was held every four years. Key Carrying Feasts went on for a few days and various games were staged. A girl, in company of (kleidophoros) a procession carried a key brought from Stratonikeia. This ritual showed that the key to underground was held by Hekate and this ritual center was controlled by Stratonikeia. Secret religious rituals were also carried out in the Temple Naos. It is not certain how such rituals were carried out. Such secret rituals had begun to be regularly practiced after 2nd Century AD. A bodros trench has been discovered in the Naos of the Temple. This section is connected to the underground and had been used for liquid offerings. The Naos of the Temple is not a place where ordinary beings can easily enter into and observe the rituals. As such, such secret rituals as has been described above may have been held in this place. Depiction of the goddess in the friezes when offering sacrifices in Bodros should be related to the rituals held in the temple. The ceremonies held in the sacred site were held in a specified order and program. Visitors who came to observe this ritual entered the stoa through the door just before the entrance to Propylon on the North West and the stairs leading down and took their seats. The attendants of various cults stood on the spots provided for them on the sacred site. Sacrifices were made for gods or goddess determined prior to the rituals and the fattiest part of the sacrifice was burnt on the altar. As the smoke of burnt fat rose, the most important part of the ceremony had been considered to be held. The meat from the sacrificed animals was eaten by the participants and presents for Hekate and other gods or goddesses were offered. The value of presents differed depending on the wealth of the person offering them. Throughout the rituals, the rich and generous earned the tolerance of the layperson with the money and food distributed. European Pagans Discover Lagina A similar ritual was re-enacted at Lagina Sacred Site by the European Pagans. Flocks of Pagan groups in Europe flew into Lagina as an outcome of the effect of an informative web site on the internet platform. About 5 thousand of European pagan worshippers organized a Full Moon Ritual for Hekate after about 5 thousand years of its beginnings. Held as Witches Festival, those Europeans, who are interested in magic, fortune telling and similar metaphysical subjects, and most importantly are pagans, reenacted the beliefs of thousands of years ago in this event in Lagina. A GENERAL OUTLOOK ON LAGİNA The Hekate Sacred Site covers an area of 142x150 m in size. One finds a considerably ostentatious entrance (Propylon), a sacrificial and ritualistic altar, a temple that is the home to the goddesses, a stoa which protects the participants from the rain in winter and the rays of sun in summer, and a seating area for the onlookers. Different from the ordinary sacred sites, the seating areas can only be found in front of the South west side of the stoa. In addition, the statues of those who have done good deeds for human beings, column bases, column studded structures and other monuments as well as homes, where the priests lived can be discovered on this site. The researches carried out until today shows that the earliest of the finds are the ceramics of Geometrical Period, sections of a terracotta figurine dated back to 5th Century B.C, and coinages. At this stage it is not known what kind of structures existed back then. However, a wall construction discovered and other archaeological finds suggest that there were at least a peribolos, a Propylon, an altar and a temple existing in 4the Century BC. PROPYLON Inscriptions about the Propylon use the term “Propylon and entry structure”. As such, this section was not just a Propylon but an entry gate at the same time. This was the Ceremonial gate out of three entrances. Apart from the triple Propylon, it is suggested that there was at least one small entrance on the peribolos, the walls defining the periphery of the sacred site. Surface excavations were carried out by Osman Hamdi Bey and the inscriptions found were separated. The most detailed excavations began in 1993 and today the structure has been re-erected down to the orthostatic blocks. There are many large inscriptions on the Propylon side walls. The inscriptions contain the names of key carriers and priests as well as priestesses, who worked in the Lagina Hekate Temple. Propylon is connected to the Stoa via an entrance on the Northwestern side. Ten flights of stairs on the Eastern side of the Propylon leads down to a stone paved path, which takes you to the Altar. Research suggests that there was another Propylon here, which dated back to earlier times. Inscriptions on the door transom as well as the decorations leave no doubt that this had been constructed after 27th Century BC. at the time of Emperor Augustus. STOA A Dorian style, single story Stoa surrounds the inner section of the peribolos. There are seating areas for the audience at the front of the Southwestern side of the Stoa. There has been excavations carried out on the section close to the Propylon and the marble back wall of the Stoa, the base where the columns stood, the foundations of Stoa made out of pressed earth and marble chippings as well as components of a Dorian style superstructure were discovered. The marble chippings found on the site indeed suggest that the fine works on the marble blocks were carried out on the stoa. The lower sections of Dorian columns are smooth and the upper sections are finely grooved. The wall construction technique on the Northern corner of the Peribolos dates the construction to 4th Century BC. It is understood that there were changes to the architecture of the Stoa throughout the Hellenistic era. A greater part of the stoa must have been completed after 27th Century BC at the time of Emperor Augustus, when largest of public improvements was carried out. However, there is information that the stoas were rebuilt in 2nd Century AD. When such information is considered, the stoa had somehow been demolished and was re-built in 2nd Century AD. THE TEMPLE OF HEKATE Built on a point facing northwest-southeast about the center of the sacred site, the temple has been constructed in the pseudodipteros planning style that was the most important in the Hellenistic Era. Erected on a platform of about five flights high, the temple is about 29mx22 m. in size. There are 8 columns on the narrow side and 11 columns on the wider side. The columns between the antes of the temple are erected on Ephesus type bases and have Ionian style tops. The columns surrounding are Attic-Ionian based and have Corinthian style tops. The Architrave Beams over the temple walls and the column tops have anthemion decoration works on the sides facing one another. However, the decorations are non-complete. Research carried out until today determined from the friezes covering the external facade above the columns of the temple that there are four main themes depicted. The frieze on the Eastern side of the temple depicts the birth and life of Zeus. Here, Hekate is carrying a Stone in order to offer to Kronos, father of Zeus, who ate children. A moment of peace and friendship between the Amazons and the Greeks is depicted on the Northern side. Here, Hekate pours sacred drink on the ground in honor of peace. Moments of war between Gods and (Gigantomachia) is carved on the eastern side and Hekate is depicted as taking part in the war with the torch in her hand. Although the interpretations on the Southern side are not completely defined, it is thought that the figures represent the Carian Gods and their cities. Remains of the offering ditch on the Naos floor suggest that offerings were made for bodros in the temple. This must be certainly closely related to Hekate being the goddess of the underground. A similar offering session is depicted in the Northern friezes. It can be claimed that this particular session is related to the ceremonies held in the temple Naos. According to the senate decree, approving the sacrosanct nature of the Sacred Site, inscribed on the Temple of Hekate, the temple definitely existed in 81st century BC. However, the definite date of construction is unknown. The researchers generally agree that it was built either in the last quarter of the 2nd Century BC. and the beginning of the 1st century BC. The Corinthian style column tops exhibit characteristics of the beginning of the 1st Century BC. The excavations carried out on the temple Naos and some architectural features suggest that the Naos and pronaos of the temple and the surrounding persistasis colonnade may have been constructed at different times. Carving of decorations on the temple seems to have continued for a long time. Despite being included in the initial planning of the temple, some decorations must have been completed at the time of Emperor Augustus. Research on Architectural details of the temple, stages of construction and dating continue. ALTAR One of the most important features of offerings and religious rituals are the altars. The altar is surrounded by a colonnade and the extreme outer section is surrounded by a parapet. It is understood form the remains of the parapet that that there were smaller offering altars on the outer side of the parapet. A set of steps on the Northwestern side leads up to the platform of the altar. The ceiling deck is constructed of block on the inner section of the podium and the central section is filled with debris and Stones. A couple of fault cracks on the altar suggest that the structure had collapsed as a result of an earthquake. No repairs were carried out on the temple following this earthquake. Some of the architectural blocks of the altar have been reused in Early Byzantium structures. Full or partial relief blocks were recovered from the ruins of these structures. The structure can be considered to be the most protected altar structure in Anatolia because of the rich ruins and architectural blocks spread about. The architectural decorations and archaeological data point out to the fact that the altar had been constructed at the time of the Emperor Augustus. PRIEST RESIDENCES We learn from the inscriptions that there were residential structures for the priests on the sacred site. Surface excavations carried out suggest that such residences were built over on the southeastern section of the sacred site. A drilling activity carried out on this section unearthed an inscribed door frame, which is thought to have been part of a priest’s house. Since full excavations have not been carried out on this section, architectural planning of the homes is unknown. NAİSKOSLAR Inscribed or non-inscribed superstructure elements collected from the previous structures have been discovered at the excavations carried out on the section called Chapel and Byzantium Structure, located somewhere between the altar and the temple. Accordingly, it is determined from the blocks used that there were at least three structures with saddle roof on this spot. It is shown in the inscriptions that a structure belonging to Rhodes and Helios had been constructed at the time of the Rhodes dominion between 188th Century and 167th Century BC. The inscription on one of the pediments shows that the pediment had been a part of a naikos made in honor of Emperor Augustus. Another pediment, found on a relief in tympanon may be said to refer to Serapis the Egyptian God. CHAPEL AND THE BYZANTIUM STRUCTURE Remains of a Chapel on the southwestern side of the altar and a Byzantium structure at a point between the chapel and the temple are other details of interest. The podium of the altar has been used as the northeastern wall of the Chapel. Walls of both the chapel as well as the Byzantium structure have been constructed out of the marble and limestone elements collected from the sacred site. A statue has been used as part of the wall construction of the Northwestern wall of the chapel and a frieze block from the temple has been used as part of the wall construction on the southwestern section of the Byzantium Structure. The stonemasonry on the western wall of the chapel is considerably deficient. The coinage and archeological finds suggest that the chapel had been constructed after 325th Century AD., when Christianity was officially recognized and must have been demolished in an earthquake in the third quarter of the same century. Initial evaluations show that this structure had been enclosed by walls on three sides and there was a colonnade on the elevated stylobat in front of the wall on the southwestern side. There is an entry point on the southwestern side. The flooring of the structure consists of Stones on the sides and square bricks in the inner section. This structure seems to have been built on a level marble section between the altar and the temple. SACRED POOL The sacred pool is located at approximately 300 m southwest of the Lagina Hekate Sacred Site. Water is carried through stone carved channel works from a spring laying 50 m to the South of the pool. Today, there are travertine formations on the southwestern side of the pool. Inside of the pool is covered with 3 to 4 cm. thick sand and there is a blockage consisting of vertically placed small rocks. The pool walls are constructed using small and medium sized rocks and lime mortar. The surface of walls is plastered with a 1 to 1.5 cm thick tile chippings and lime mortar. Findings suggest that the pool was originally built in the Hellenic era. The pool had been used throughout the Roman era and later. YAYALAR NECROPOLIS The necropolis located in the Yayalar region between the Hekate Sacred Site and Koranza contains many different samples of dromos style tombs, rock tombs and two chamber hypogeum style tombs. Three different tombs from the Classical era and a ceremonial site have been excavated as part of evaluations and the finings prove that the necropolis site had been in use since 5th Century BC. and that there are more tombs from 4th Century BC. than any other era. In addition, existence of 4th Century BC. tombs in the area are confirmed in the inscriptions discovered in Koranza. It is understood that there was a different section within the necropolis compound, where ceremonies were held. KORANZA Located at about 1 km. northeast of Turgut in the Taşlı Yol Region, Koranza is about one km. northwest of Hekate Sacred Site. Prof. Dr. Yusuf Boysal has carried out archaeological excavations in the Apollo and Artemisia Sacred Site as well as the Necropolis of this settlement and discovered artifacts belonging to Archaic and Classical eras. In addition, inscriptions dated back to 4th Century BC, have been found and contents published. The finds show that there had been a sacred site here at least since 6th Century BC. SACRED ROAD There exists a sacred road of about 9.5 km. in length between the administrative center Stratonikeia and the religious center Lagina Hekate Sacred Site. The road begins at the Propylon in Hekate Sacred Site and connects to the Grand city Gates of Stratonikeia in the northern walls of the city. Providing passage between two centers, the sacred road has been used for ceremonies at Hekate Feasts. However, today this road is within the land borders of Lignite Corporation and is closed to visitors and salvage excavations are carried out by Archaeology departments of the University of Selçuk and the University of Pamukkale. When there were ceremonies at Hekate Sacred Site, a singing chorus of young girls used to leave Lagina and bring the keys to Hekate from Stratonikeia. The doors to the sacred site would be opened with this key and the ceremonies would begin on the site. This road was very important in the antiquity both in terms of its normal function and in terms of religious purposes. There existed various tombs, water wells, fountains, small and large settlements dating back to Geometrical era and related workshops and ateliers on both sides of the sacred road starting from the city Gates of Stratonikeia. The road surface had been repaired many times and used up until today. From what we understand of the protected sections, the road was about 3, 30 to 3, 50 m. in width and is stone paved. On the sides of the roads are cisterns, still full of water and fountains, still usable. Börükçü, Beybağı, Bozukbağ and Emirler settlements on the side of the sacred road between Stratonikeia and Lagina and the antique settlements of Turkish castle, Infidel’s castle, Taşkesik and Gibye are other attractions to be seen. These settlements generally date back to geometrical era and later periods. The oldest settlement near Lagina is dated back to pre-historic Bronze Age and is located at approximately 1 km. south of the sacred site in Yarbaşı Region. References: Works of Lagina head of excavations Prof. Dr. Ahmet A. Tırpan and Asst. Prof. Dr. Bilal Söğüt published on AND web site.

DICTIONARY Altar: Place where offerings were presented. The stone used for placing sacrificial offerings and votive offerings in antique religions. Ante: The plaster located on the corners of Naos side walls in a temple. Antemion: A type of carved decoration consisting of Lotus and palmet lines, similar to honeysuckle flower in appearance Arris: The sharp sides of columns Architrave: The beam over the columns in Greek and Roman architecture. Dromos: Trench like entrances added in front of the underground or rock tombs. Hipoje Tomb: Underground tomb chamber mostly for Kings. There may be one or four chambers in the tomb and the entrances are hidden. Lentos: A massive block placed on the top section of Windows and doors in masonry structures. Naıskos: Small Temples in ancient Greece. Naos: Cella- The sacred section in a temple where statues of gods would be placed. Necropolis: Graveyard Orthostatic: Massive stone blocks forming the lower part of a wall. Peribolos: Periphery walls of sacred site Peristasis: The colonnade surrounding the temple. Pronaos: Usually placed on the eastern side of the temple, the ante chamber to cella (or Naos). Propylon: Monumental doors in Roman and Greek architecture. Stoa: Covered and columned galleries located next to an agora or another structure or on the side of a road. Stylobat: Column bases in a temple. Terracotta: Terracotta Tympanon: The triangular surface of a pediment in antique architecture

(Translation Published in Bmagazine)

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