Skip to main content Accessibility help

New Votive Reliefs from Oinoanda

  • N. P. Milner and Martin F. Smith


The votive reliefs presented here are previously unpublished. No. 3 was discovered by M. F. Smith in 1981, when he was participating in the epigraphical and topographical survey of Oinoanda conducted by the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara (B.I.A.A.) under the direction of the late Alan S. Hall. The fountain (if that is what it was) bearing four reliefs and inscriptions (no. 4) was also discovered by Smith, who recorded it in 1968 and 1972. The other reliefs (nos. 1 and 2) were seen almost a hundred years ago, in June 1895, by Rudolf Heberdey, whose notes, with a sketch of no. 2, are preserved in his Skizzenbuch Lykien III/1895 (referred to hereinafter as Heb.) in the archives of the Kleinasiatische Kommission of the Austrian Academy in Vienna. Inaccuracies and omissions in his records suggest that he did not view the reliefs in the most favourable of lights. The two were rediscovered and photographed by Smith in 1968 and re-examined and rephotographed by him in 1972 and 1981.



Hide All

1 It is a pleasure to express gratitude to the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums in Ankara for granting permission for the survey, and to the British Academy for giving it financial support. We are also grateful to Dr. J. J. Coulton who constructively criticized a draft of this paper. For additional abbreviations see end of article.

2 For the plan, see Hall, A.S., AS XXVI (1976) 191–7 fig. 1; for an updated version of it, see Coulton, J. J., PCPS n.s. XXIX (1983) 3 fig. 1.; Smith, M.F., Prometheus VIII (1982) 195 fig. 1 and Diogenes of Oinoanda: The Epicurean Inscription (Napoli 1993) figs. 3–4.

3 The panel is somewhat wider at the bottom than at the top.

4 Smith's measurements are only approximate, because they were taken with an extending tape-measure held high above the head.

5 Cf. Chapouthier, F., Les Dioscures au service d'une Déesse, Bibl. Éc. fr. Athènes et Rome vol. 137 (Paris 1935), nos. 20 and 22 (from Sparta).

6 On autopsy, Smith decided that Heberdey was “deceived by natural marks on the rock”.

7 Robert, L., “Les Dioscures et Ares”, BCH CVII (1983) 553–79. Dioscuri reliefs are found across most of the eastern Mediterranean world, and in Italy and Gaul, but the origins of the cult seem to lie in Anatolia and the Near East; see Chapouthier, op. cit. They also appear in Vedic mythology as the shining horse-owning brothers, the Asvin; cf. Burkert, W., Greek Religion, tr. Raffan, J. (1985) 212. Cf. also Frei, P., “Die Götterkulte Lykiens in der Kaiserzeit,” ANRWW 18.3 (1990) 1784–6, and LIMC III i 577–8 no. 123, 588 no. 242, 593.

8 Cf. Chapouthier nos. 26, 29, 30, 32–9, etc. and Metzger, H., Catalogue des monuments votifs du Musée d'Adalia (1952) 23 no. 9 (Termessus Major).

9 At Macun Asarı, Robert 560 no. 10, Pace, B., Annuario VI–VII (19231924) 445 no. 155. Cf. Robert 588 fig. 1 = Metzger 35 no. 16 for a relief of Artemis with the Dodeka Theoi. The relief, from Komba, is dedicated “to Artemis and the Twelve Gods and their father”, though the father is not represented.

10 Cf. W. Burkert, loc. cit., describing them as the divine representatives of the body of young men of military age grouped around the Anatolian Great Goddess, an interpretation which also has resonances for the reliefs to the “Dodeka Theoi” (shown as identical foot-soldiers) grouped around the same goddess, and now too for the triads: cf. our no. 2.

11 See Chapouthier 305, with ref. to coins of Apamea, (BMC Phrygia 74), Laodicea (ib. 300), Syrian Antioch (BMC Syria 154), Euromos, , Caria, (BMC Caria 99).

12 Metzger 23 no. 10, with comm. 27.

13 Sanders, J.M., “The Dioscuri in Post-Classical Sparta”, in Palagia, O. and Coulson, W. (edd.), Sculpture from Arcadia and Laconia, Procs. of an International Conference held at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1992, Oxbow monogr. 30 (1993) 217–24.

14 Sanders, J.M., “The Early Lakonian Dioskouroi Reliefs”, in Sanders, J.M. (ed.), ΦΙΛΟΛΑΚΩΝ. Lakonian Studies in Honour of Hector Catling (Oxford 1992) 205–10.

15 Cf. the sixth century B.C. painted sarcophagi from Klazomenai, in Chapouthier, 199, 214 ff., 227, fig. 23, and Cook, R.M., Clazomenian Sarcophagi, Kerameus III (Mainz 1981), pl. 82 no. G35, cf. comm. pp. 121–2 nn. 92 and 95. Both Chapouthier and Cook are sceptical of the alleged parallel. But the Anatolian goddess appears here as a potnia theron, a known prototype of Artemis and the Great Mother.

16 Coulton, J.J., AS XXXVI (1986) 82.

17 Hellenica III (1946) 75–6; Hellenica VII (1949) 50–4; Hellenica X (1955) 511; BE 1972, 450; Journal des Savants 1978, 44; BCH CVII (1983) 572.

18 Heberdey, R. and Kalinka, E., Bericht über zwei Reisen im südwestlichen Kleinasien, Denkschr. Akad. Wien, phil.-hist. Kl. XLV (1896) 41.

19 Petersen, E. and von Luschan, F., Reisen in Lykien, Milyas und Kibyratis II (1889), 183, Coulton, J.J., “Balboura Survey 1987”, VI Araştırma Sonuçları Toplantısı, Ankara 1988 (Ankara 1989) 230 fig. 1. J.J. Coulton's survey of the Balbouratike has discovered a notable concentration of eight rock-cut votive reliefs of the triads in the Yazır Gölü basin north of Balboura, though at three sites: cf. AS XLIII (1993) 5; compare the concentration in one place of Dioscuri reliefs at nearby Kızılbel, on which see Robert, , BCH 1983, 557.

20 Petersen and von Luschan, 173; Naour, C., Tyriaion en Cabalide (Zutphen 1980) 83 no. 36, pl. xvi, 87 no. 41, pl. xvi.

21 Pace, B., Annuario III (19161917) 65 no. 66; Bean, G.E., Journeys in Northern Lycia 1965–67 (1971) 27 no. 47.

22 Duchesne, Collignon, BCH I (1877) 365, at Horzum (Gölhisar), so probably a portable piece.

23 Pace, B., Annuario III (19161917) 71 fig. 36, Robert, L., Hellenica X (1955) pl. II. 1. This piece was portable, and was seen by H. Metzger in Rome in 1950: see Metzger, op. cit., 65 n. 1.

24 Robert, L., Hellenica X (1955) 511, pl. I.

25 H. Metzger, 45–8 no. 21, pl. VIII; Robert, , Hellenica X, 911, pl. II.2.

26 Viz., on the piece from Idebessos (see next note) and that seen by Duchesne and Collignon at Kibyra.

27 Snakes are found in the reliefs at Dont (Heberdey and Kalinka, Bericht 41, could not decide between snakes and sticks), Güğü (so Pace), and Idebessos. In the Idebessos relief the figures actually hold the snakes at one end, hanging down between their right hand and the ground (so, rightly, Robert, , Journal des Savants 1978, 44, and BCH 1983, 572, but not Hellenica X, 56, pl. II. 1, where he followed Pace in thinking they were cudgels; in fact, the serpentine contour of what is held by the figure on the right is seen clearly in the photograph). Other cases are more difficult to determine because of the weathered state of the reliefs.

28 Cf. Robert, L., “Les Douze Dieux en Lycie,” BCH CVII (1983) 587–93, Frei, P., “Die Götterkulte Lykiens in der Kaiserzeit,” ANRW II 18.3 (1990) 1830 ff., Weinreich, O., Lykische Zwölfgötter-Reliefs, Sitzungsber. der Heidelberger Akad. der Wiss. phil.-hist. K1. 4. V (1913).

29 Robert, , BCH CVII (1983) 592–3.

30 Naour 87 no. 41, pl. XVI.

31 Plut., De defectu orac. 21 (421 D). σκληρούς; and σκιρ(ρ)ούς are variant readings there.

32 Cf. Robert, L., Hellenica VII, 50–8; Journal des Savants 1978, 44–8.

33 Polyhistor, Cornelius Alexander, in Jacoby, F., Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker III A (1940) 106 no. 273 F 58, from Steph. Byz. s.v. Κράγος. Cf. the description of the triad as ὀλοοὸ παῖδες, by Panyassis of Halikarnassos, writing in the fifth century B.C., Panyassis fr. 18 K, in Matthews, V.J., Panyassis of Halikarnassos, Mnemosyne suppl. XXXIII (1974) 100 ff., from Steph. Byz. s.v. Τρεμίλη. Matthews argues that Xanthos was not named as a brother. There is every reason to think that, just as τοὺς περὶ τὸν Ἄρσαλον mentioned by Plutarch loc. cit. were Dryos, Trosobios and Arsalos, so τοὺς περὶ τὸν Κράγον mentioned by Alexander were Tloos, Pinaros and Kragos. Their caves were known to Alexander Polyhistor to lie in the Mt. Kragos region, around Sidyma, which suggests their chthonic character.

34 Cf. Steph. Byz. s.v. Βουβών, referring to the eponymous founders Balbouros and Boubon: Οὖτοι δὲ λῃσταὶ πόλεις ἕκτισαν ὁμωνύμους.

35 Hesychios A 802 (Latte), cited by Höfer, , in Roscher, W. (ed.), Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie V (19161924) 618–22 s.v. Theoi Agreis, Theoi Agrioi.

36 E.g. Steph. Byz. s.v. ”Αδανα, founded by Adanos and Saros. Adanos was a son of Ge and Ouranos.

37 TAM II 130, 3 (first–second century A.D.), and TAM II 148, 5 ff. (imperial).

38 AA XXX (1915) 222.

39 Roscher 622.

40 Hicks, E.L., JHS XI (1890) 238 no. 4 (second century A.D.), a dedication to Zeus, Hera Gamelia and Ares, dated by the priest of the θεοὸ ἄγριοι. Id. X (1889) 56 compares Plut. Amat. 14 (757 D) on (Artemis) Agrotera and Apollo Agreus who assist and are prayed to by hunters.

41 See Höfer in W. Roscher, and Jacoby III C (1958), no. 790 Philo of Byblos, pp. 808–9, F2 (11–13), mentioning Άγρεύς, the inventor of hunting, and Άλιεύς, of fishing, and also Άγρός and Ἀγροῦ ἥρως ἢ Ἀγρότης (the last held to be the greatest of the gods by the people of Byblos); sons of Τεχνίτης and Гήïνος Αὐτόχθων, they were of the race called Άλῆται and Τιτᾶνες, and developed farmsteads and hunting. Furthermore, cf. ibid. p. 812 (35), where it is stated that Kronos gave the city of Berytos to Poseidon and the Καβείροις Ἀγρόταις τε καὶ Ἁλιεῦσιν. Note that the Kabeiroi are identified with the Dioscuri at p. 809 (14), and that Kronos founds Byblos, p. 810 (19). The Titans also have links with Bronze Age Hittite and Mesopotamian traditions; cf. Burkert, W., “Oriental Myth and Literature in the Iliad,” in Hägg, R. (ed.), The Greek Renaissance of the Eighth Century B.C.: Tradition and Innovation (Stockholm 1983) 51–6, at 54.

42 Cf. the dedicant of no. 4, Licinnius Hyakinthos, and remarks on his name; also cf. n. 64.

43 IGR III 500. The Licin(n)ii of Oinoanda are discussed by Jameson, S., “Two Lycian Families,” AS XVI (1966) 125–37.

44 The fountain(?), which had been illegally excavated and damaged by treasure-hunters, was seen and photographed by Smith in July 1968. At that stage, the four reliefs and inscriptions in the centre and on the right were intact. In May 1972, when Smith re-examined the structure, rephotographed it, and made a squeeze of the two inscriptions on the right, the central relief, of the Dioscuri, had suffered damage and the pediment above it had gone. By July 1974, when the B.I.A.A. survey began, the whole structure had disappeared, having been broken up and/or buried.

45 For these astral devices, cf. Chapouthier 48 ff. nos. 26–59 and Robert 555 fig. 1 (Seki).

46 Identical to the type of three Roman statuettes collected by Reinach, S., Repertoire de la statuaire grecque et romaine II (Paris 1897), 154.8, 156.2, 157.6.

47 Larfeld, W., Handbuch der griechischen Epigraphik I (1907) 428, II (1902) 564.

48 Cf. Petersen, E., “Der Dioskuren Bezug zum Wasser im Allgemein,” Röm. Mitt. XV (1900) 341 ff., Chapouthier 302 and nos. 17 (Alifahrettin) and 18–19 (Yazır, nr. Balboura), Bean, G.E., BSA LI (1956) 150 no. 45 (Osmankalfalar), id.AS X (1960) 47–8 and 50 (Kaynarkalesi, NW of Lake Kestel), Robert, , BCH CVII (1983) 553–6 (Seki), 561 no. 20 (Kırkpınar), 562 no. 22 (Çivgalar).

49 Chapouthier 38–40 no. 17, 302, Petersen and von Luschan II 168 no. 207, Robert 558 no. 6.

50 LSJ s.v. δᾳδοῦχος.

51 Robert 558 no. 5. See the lamp from the Fayum, Egypt, in Chapouthier 68 no. 60.

52 The famous Hyakinthos was the youth from Amyklai, near Sparta, accidentally killed by Apollo with a discus; from his blood grew the flower of the same name; cf. Nicander, Ther. 901 ff., Paus. 3.19.4 ff., Ovid, Met. 10.162 ff.

53 Cf. Coulton, J.J., AS XXXVI (1986) 81–2, and Burkert, W., Greek Religion (1985) 19.

54 IGR I 198 (Rome). His freedman Eutyches erected his grave marker. Both individuals are representative of upward social mobility among provincials under the Empire, and the coincidence of names with Licinnius Eutyches and Licinnius Hyakinthos suggests the same processes at work in their background too.

55 Roscher, W., Lexikon V 1254 s.v. Soter (Dioskuren) (Höfer), RE V.I (1903) 1094 §7 “Dioskuren als Σωτῆρες” (Bethe).

56 Diamantaras, A.S., BCH XVIII (1894) 328 no. 16 (second century A.D.). CIG 4042 (cf. add. p. 1110) = IGR 3.155 (Ancyra), a dedication of images of the Dioscuri to Zeus Helios the Great Serapis and the σύνναοι θεοί for the sake of the Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, as well as their whole house and the local boule and demos, by a privated individual, dated perhaps to A.D. 176, has some similarities to our ensemble.

57 Coulton, J.J., AS XXXVI (1986) 76, pl. VIII (b and c).

58 CIG 4380 n2, carved on a relief showing an altar, with a niche for a lamp above it and a ledge for more lamps beside it. As the name Chromatis is not Aurelian, it is perhaps earlier than A.D. 212.

59 SEG XXVII (1977) 933; Hall, A.S., ZPE XXXII (1978) 263–7, Taf. xi–xiii. Of earlier discussions the most important is that of Robert, L., “Un oracle gravé à Oenoanda,” CRAI (1972) 597619, reprinted in his Opera Minora Selecta V (Amsterdam 1989) 617–39.

60 Merkelbach, R., Mithras (1984) 24–5; Strabo 15.3.13 (732 C), Curt., Q.H.A. 4.13.48 (12).

61 Beck, R., “Mithraism since Franz Cumont,” ANRW II 17.4 (1984) 2002–115, esp. 2018.

62 Gordon, R.L., “The Date and Significance of CIMRM 593 (British Museum, Townley Collection),” Journal of Mithraic Studies, II 2 (1978) 148–74. Pace Gordon, the dat. Mithra does not imply an indecl. nom. Mithra, as opposed to Mithras, in the Anatolian koine; cf. Brixhe, C., Essai sur le grec anatolien au dèbut de notre ère (Nancy 1987)272.

63 Cf. J., and Robert, L., La Carie II (1954) 79, id. in J. des Gagniers et al. (edd.), Laodicée du Lycos (Québec–Paris 1969) 333–4.

64 RE VIII 1 (1912) 771.60 ff. (Eitrem). The freedman C. Pompeius Trimalchio, of Petronius, Sat. 29.46, had a fresco showing himself being whisked to a lofty tribunal by Mercury, accompanied by Fortuna with a cornucopia, and the Fates spinning gold threads, representing the moment when he made good, having got his freedom as a slave dispensator and become one of the propertied classes.

65 TAM III.1 (1941) 922. Heberdey follows Woodward in linking this term to the mysteries of Hermes, also attested at Termessus Major (TAM III.1 910, 911), but the ancient poet of the epigram on the sarcophagus interprets it as denoting the conducting of souls to Hades (line 4). See, generally, Raingeard, P., Hermès Psychagogue (Paris 1935) 458 ff., 472.

66 It has also been suggested that kindred titles such as ἀγήτωρ and ἡγεμόνιος must have once meant “the leader of the host” to war; cf. Farnell, L.R., The Cults of the Greek States V (1909) 22.

67 TAM II 188.

68 Cf. Robert, L., Études Anatoliennes (1937) 23–7; J., and Robert, L., La Carie II (1954) 226 n. 12; Malkin, I., Religion and Colonization in Ancient Greece (Leiden 1987) 24.

69 Cf. a coin of Balboura (Caligula) which has a rev. with Hermes standing 1. with kerykeion (caduceus) and purse: see Burnett, A. et al. (edd.), Roman Provincial Coinage I (1992), 529 no. 3357; and five coins of Termessus Minor (= Oinoanda), BMC Lycia, Pamphylia and Pisidia 276, nos. 1–2 (first century B.C.) having an obv. with a bust of Hermes, no. 3 ((first century B.C.) having a rev. with a nude male (probably Hermes), standing, no. 27 having a rev. with Hermes standing (Antonine), and no. 28 having an obv. with a bust of Hermes (Caracalla to Elagabalus). On the Pisidian character of the population of Oinoanda and Balboura, see Coulton, J.J., “Termessians at Oinoanda,” AS XXXII (1982) 115 ff., and Hall, A.S. and Coulton, J.J., “A Hellenistic Allotment List from Balboura in the Kibyratis,” Chiron XX (1990) 109–58.

70 Burkert, 158.

71 Frei, P., 18391840, on TAM II. 1. 25 (Telmessos, 240 B.C.); Roscher, W., Lexikon V 1263 s.v. Soter (Zeus) (Höfer).

72 J., and Robert, L., BE (1972) 443.

73 Petersen and von Luschan, II 187 nos. 246–8.

74 Robert, , BCH CVII (1983) 544 figs. 1–3.

75 Robert, 531 fig. 3, 533 fig. 4, 536 fig. 8 and 10, 537 fig. 9 and 11, 538 fig. 12 and 13.

76 Robert, 527 fig. 1–4.

77 Drew-Bear, T. and Naour, C., “Divinités de Phrygie,” ANRW II 18.3 (1990) 2014–18, pl. IX no. 22, 24a, pl. V no. 10.

78 Robert, 539 n. 24; Rodenwaldt, G., “Zeus Bronton”, JDAI XXXIV (1919) 77 fig. 1.

New Votive Reliefs from Oinoanda

  • N. P. Milner and Martin F. Smith


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed