Teos - Site of Hermogenes' masterwork "Temple of Dionysus"

Teos - Site of Hermogenes' masterwork

The Ionian city of Teos was located directly on the Bay of Sığacık, only about 35 kilometers away, at that time a day's journey from the gates of ancient Smyrna.

Today, comfortably by car, you leave Izmir following the coast via Balcova to Güzelbahce and then turn onto the 505 road in the direction of Seferihisar. After about 18 kilometers you will reach Seferihisar and turn right to the village of Sığacık and follow the signs for another 2 kilometers to Teos.

According to the evaluations of the excavations available so far, it is assumed that the first settlement was between 1,050 and 1,000 BC. In the year 545 BC the city of Teos became very well known, since the port city of Abdera in Thrace / Greece was resettled from here. There were two main reasons for this action at the time:

- the strategically favorable location of Abdera on the trade route from Rome to Constantinople, a route which was later developed by the Romans into the Via Egnatia

- the location of the city of Abdera on the shipping route to the Black Sea

Teos - a member of the Ionian League

teos 1As a member of the Ionian League, Teos took part in the uprisings against Persian supremacy that ultimately led to the Persian Wars of 490-479 BC. After a short, peaceful period, conflicts broke out again, which ended in the Peloponnesian War of the years 431 - 404 before Christ. In the course of this war, the Spartan kingdom was able to conquer the city of Teos in 407/406 after a fierce naval battle off the city of Notion (about halfway between Teos and Kusadasi). However, only 12 years later the kingdom of Sparta lost this claim in the battle of Cnidus to Athens, which had allied itself with the Persian satrap Pharnabazos, and Teos was again assigned to the Persian kingdom in the royal peace of 387/386. This only changed again with the conquest campaigns of Alexander the Great.

Since there are a large number of inscriptions in the ruins of Teos, some of which are very legible, a large number of details about the city's history are known today, especially from the third century BC. The Macedonian king Antigonos I, called the one-eyed (Monophthalmos) tried to unite the city of Teos with the city of Lebedos between 306 and 301. But since his decisive competitor Lysimachus was able to conquer Ionia, there were new plans. So Lysimachus, for whatever reason, did not move the inhabitants to Teos but to Ephesus.

teos 2About 20 years later, Lysimachus died during the battle of Kouroupedion, allowing the Seleucids to extend their influence to Teos. During this time, the rulers of Pergamum became more and more powerful and expanded their territorial claims, so they were also able to conquer Teos and oblige it to pay tribute in 229 BC. A series of raids by pirates followed, taking prominent citizens of the city hostage and demanding large ransoms. These events are also reported in the inscriptions.

First Cretan War - involved was Teos

teos 3In the years 206 - 201 BC the First Cretan War broke out, which also involved Teos. The Seleucid king Antiochus III was able to win against Pergamon and entered Teos as the victor in 204/203. In the meantime, the Romans had also been able to greatly expand their sphere of influence and had plundered as far as the gates of Teos. Now the inhabitants of Teos sided with Antiochus III and refused to hand over their supplies to the enemy Rome. Pergamon had meanwhile become a partner of Rome and after Antiochus III lost the war against Rome and had to withdraw from Asia Minor, Teos became part of the kingdom of Pergamon again through the treaty in the Peace of Apamea.

As early as the second half of the 3rd century BC, Teos was also the home town of countless scholars and planners who lived in Teos despite the constant political changes. This group of scholars was responsible for enabling a group of musicians, actors and poets to form an "association" called the Dionysian Technites. Among others, the poet Anakreon and the book collector Apellikon lived in Teos. The most important god worshiped in cult celebrations was the main god Dionysus. Dionysos was worshiped so much in the form of festivals and musical competitions that a monumental temple building had to be planned. For years Teos had tried to get to the holy and inviolable city (polis hiera kai asylos). With the architect Hermogenes, who lived in Teos, a planner and builder was then able to follow this desire for a Dionysus temple and in 220 BC construction began. About 30 years later, the temple was completed in 190 BC, making it the largest temple of Dionysus in Asia Minor. Almost at the same time, an 11-row Odeon and a Hellenistic theater were built on the slope of a small acropolis.

Turkish Media reports

teos 4Despite some damage caused by earthquakes in the city, the Romans quickly started to rebuild again and again in the centuries to come. Unfortunately, today the picture of this once important city is rather bleak. Although the amateur archaeologist will also find a large number of the inscriptions and ruins mentioned, the entire area is very neglected and overgrown with grass, so that you really have to look closely to discover the ruins.

It is so contradictory and just too irresponsible if you follow the currently again very aggressive type of Turkish media reports (see Göbekli Tepe and the publications of a columnist Fatih Cekirge in the "Hürriyet") in which European archaeologists for their activities, in which a lot of work and effort and even more foreign money flows, being discredited and insulted in this way instead of being grateful for the help and support, when you see how neglected and destroyed these monuments are being treated on the other side by the Turkish side. The preservation and care of the monuments, which by the way are mostly not of Turkish origin, should be in the interest of all peoples.

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