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Lycia :: Trysa


This site is remote and not easily accessible; it lies on a crest in the eastern part of the plateau near the village of Golbasi about six kilometers north-east of Cyaenai. Some of its monuments are among the earliest in Lycia.

The discovery of Trysa, and in particular of its remarkable heroum, was among the most exciting events in Lycian archaeology. For the present-day traveler, the site has lost much of its interest : principal sculptures have been carried off to Vi but it still has quite a lot to offer. Trysa i mentioned anywhere in ancient literature; the na known only from the inscriptions. Coins of League type inscribed 'TR' may well be of Trysa alternative is Trebenna, away in the northeast corner of Lycia.

Most of the sarcophagi are plain, or bosses in the form of busts or animals' heads; but on in particular is very handsomely decorated. On one side of the lid are two gorgons' heads with a lion between them, and above this a man in a chariot four between crowns and masks; he is likely to 1 owner of the tomb, the crowns implying that he 1 city magistrate. On the other side of the lid are two oxen, or rather cows' heads, and on the short dolphins and other fishes. There are further relit the crest of the lid; on the left an enormous goose a man on its back, on the right a galloping rider between these a number of men and women; unfortunately the figures are much worn an scene is hard to interpret.

In another place is a rock -cut stele wit representation of a large dog; apparently the dog protects the grave as he once protected the h Another relief, which also may be from a tomb, shows on ox, a boy, and a man in a long robe raising right hand; it has been suggested that the sacrificial and the man is a priest.

But the great glory of Trysa is, or was, undoubtedly the heroum. This stands at the I east end of the site and consists of a sarcophagu from the living rock, in the middle of an encl some 20 square meters. The wall, about three 11 high, was covered on its inner face on all four sides of the enclosure, and on its outer face also on the south side, with a frieze in two horizontal bands representing scenes from mythology. Among these are episodes from 'The Iliad and the Odyssey', from the exploits of Theseus, from the Seven against Thebes, battles of Greeks and Amazons and of Centaurs and Lapithae, as well as many other figures of doubtful attribution. On the other side are battle scenes.

The bottom row of the inner surface of the friezes, on the wall where the door is, depicts a death scene, whereas the row on top explains about a wild boar hunt scene with the famous mythological Greek hero of Meleagros. His uncles die during this hunt whereas his mother caused him to die in a very unforgiving manner.

On the other side of the door, one finds Bellerophontes and a chariot pulled by four horses. The Bellerophontes legend has to do with the plume of natural gas that burns on its own at a place called Cirali, near Olympos.

The reliefs related with Theseus on the east wall of the heroum continue along the length of the wall in two friezes. While he was on his way to Athens to be with his father, Theseus, the son of the King of Athens, killed all the giant and wild anin1als that blocked his way. He becomes the most famous hero of Greece by killing the terrible Minotaur on the island of Crete. In addition, one also finds another hero, that of Perseus, on these friezes. Among the heroic deeds of Perseus, who was the son of Zeus and Diana, was the cutting off the head of the Medusa.

On the western half of the north walls of both the upper and lower sarcophagi deal with the subject of abduction. As for the other half, one can see a hunting scene with the Centaurs on two friezes. On the west wall decorations of the upper and lower sarcophagi, one sees up to a certain point, eight scenes of besiege with a struggle against the Amazons, followed by a battle scene.

After all we have explained, it is sad that we have left here is a few rocks we are sitting Inside the garden next and opposite the heroum other tombs. The incredibly beautiful view a heroum from here ushers us away from our sad even only for a little while.

The ruins extend over an area more than 550 meters in length, partly terraced and enclosed o north and west by a wall of irregular masonry patched in places, but not later than the 5th century B.C. On the other sides, the wall has disappeared. On the high ground at the west end stood a pillar -1 now overthrown and broken, but originally standig some 4 meters high and 1.25 square meters in The grave-chamber is at the top as usual; below a frieze of warriors and horses, most of which i1 Standing around are sarcophagi of later date.

The only recognizable ruins of the temple situated in the western point are a few columns which have survived. Numerous pieces found on the spot of an inscription honoring a c who served as priest of Zeus and Helios; we believe it belongs to the Sun God, Helios as this was Lycia land of sun and light.

Otherwise, apart from a number of cisterns the monuments are sepulchral. Most o sarcophagi are plain, or have bosses in the form of busts or animals' head; but one in particular is very handsomely decorated. On one side of the lid are two gorgon heads with a lion between them.

The temple may accordingly have dedicated to one or both of these deities.

A sarcophagus belonging to the so Parnos, Deremis and Aischylos, which shows a depicting a war chariot, dates back to 380 B.C. ; in the Vienna Museum. Another sarcophagu was taken from Trysa belongs to the 2nd century and is currently in the Istanbul Museum of Archaeology.


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