Xanthus - Encyclopedia

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XANTHUS (mod. Gunuik), an ancient city of Lycia, on the river Xanthus (Eshen Chai) about 8 m. above its mouth. It was besieged by the Persian general Harpagus (546 B.C.), when the acropolis was burned and all the inhabitants perished (Herod. i. 176). The city was afterwards rebuilt; and in 42 B.C. it was besieged by the Romans under M. Junius Brutus. It was taken by storm and set on fire, and the inhabitants perished in the flames. The ruins lie on a plateau, high above the left bank of the river. The nearest port is Kalamaki, whence a tedious ride of three to four hours round the edge of the great marsh of the Eshen Chai brings the traveller to Xanthus. The whole plan of the city with its walls and gates can be discerned. The well-preserved theatre is remarkable for a break in the curve of its auditorium, which has been constructed so as not to interfere with a sarcophagus on a pedestal and with the " Harpy Monument " which still stands to its full height, robbed of the reliefs of its parapet (now in the British Museum). In front of the theatre stands the famous stele of Xanthus inscribed on all four sides in Lycian and Greek. Behind the theatre is a terrace on which probably the temple of either the Xanthian Apollo or Sarpedon stood. The best of the tombs - the " Payava Tomb," the " Nereid Monument," the Ionic Monument " and the " Lion Tomb " - are in the British Museum, as the result of Sir Chas. Fellows's expedition; only their bases can be seen on the site. A fine triple gateway, much polygonal masonry, and the walls of the acropolis are the other objects of most interest.

See O. Benndorf and G. Niemann, Reisen in Lykien uud Karien (1884). (D. G. H.)

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