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A Sanctuary of Apollo?

 In the area on the Zephyrion Peninsula, which has the presumed remains of the Palace of Maussollos there are also a number of column drums and other architectural members not originating from the Palace. A great number of column drums are re-used in the walls of the Italian tower on top of the Zephyrion Peninsula (fig. 33).

Fig. 33. The Italian Tower. The west front. Notice the great number of re-used column drums inserted in the masonry.

From here various architectural pieces as well as two important inscriptions spread fan-like down the southwest side of the rock partly covering the same area as the presumed remains of the Palace of Maussollos. The architectural pieces are of a good quality of marble, which look different from what is normally found in Halikarnassos. The drums have no fluting but are otherwise of good workmanship. The column bases are of Samian type (fig. 34), and there is also an Ionic capital and a fragment of a roof-tile of marble (fig. 35). A beautifully decorated column necking (fig. 36) looks much like the well-known and much larger columns of the Temple of Polycrates on Samos. The remains from Halikarnassos should probably be dated to late-Archaic or early Classical times.

Fig. 34. Column drum and Ionic speira of samos type re-used in room belov the French Tower of Bodrum castle.

 Fig. 35. Roof-tile (5th century BC) found in Turkish-American excavation inside the Crusader Chapel.

 Fig. 36. Samian speira and ornamented column-necking (5th century BC) in the new exhibition in room below the French Tower of Bodrum Castle.

Based on epigraphical evidence Maiuri suggested already in his article from 1920/21 that there was an important sanctuary of Apollo somewhere on the Zephyrion Peninsula. As some of the epigraphical evidence is from the fifth century and thus before the great building époque of the Hecatomnids, it seems very probable that the fine pieces of early architecture on the Zephyrion Peninsula can be attributed to this sanctuary of Apollo, which should then be of Archaic or early Classical origin.  

Signe Isager assisted in recovering two inscriptions in the excavation area related to the sanctuary of Apollo and will re-study these. They have been published respectively by Maiuri and Sahin and as they are without number and provenance they probably was in this area before the museum was established. The first one is a Hellenistic border stone of the Sanctuary of Apollo telling that no one should go to the top - the "akra" - unless they have legal business to do there (fig. 37). The other one once carried a statue and has a dedication of the fifth century BC mentioning the beautifully paved yard and the Altar of the Sanctuary of Apollo (fig. 38).

Fig. 37. Border stone of the Sanctuary of Apollo.

 Fig. 38. Statue base with dedication mentioning the sanctuary of Apollo and its courtyard and altar.

I believe therefore that we have strong evidence for the existence of sanctuary of Apollo and even some indication of how it was embellished. It is known that official decrees were put up in this sanctuary. Perhaps some Ionic votive capitals in the castle and maybe even the late Archaic Lion in the English Tower may come from here (fig. 39 & 40). The crusaders did not normally bring capitals and sculptures to the Castle from outside as these are not suited as building stones.

Fig. 39. Ionic capital in Museum of Bodrum. Votive monument in the sanctuary of Apollo?

 Fig. 40. Lion re-used in the English Tower of Bodrum castle. Perhaps from the Sanctuary of Apollo?

In other words there are very strong indications that Apollo was on the Castle peninsula long before 370 BC when Maussollos started building his palace here. Apollo may have become a tutelary god of Maussollos at Halikarnassos and as Dr. Koray Konuk has pointed out Apollo becomes a standard motive on the coins of Halikarnassos from about 370 BC.


Last Updated 21.02.2024