Aphrodisias (/æfrəˈdɪsiəs/; Ancient Greek: Ἀφροδισιάς, romanized: Aphrodisiás) was a small ancient Greek Hellenistic city in the historic Caria cultural region of western Anatolia, Turkey. It is located near the modern village of Geyre, about 100 km (62 mi) east/inland from the coast of the Aegean Sea, and 230 km (140 mi) southeast of İzmir.
Aphrodisias was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, who had here her unique cult image, the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias. According to the Suda, a Byzantine encyclopedic compilation, before the city became known as Aphrodisias (c.3rd century BCE) it had three previous names: Lelégōn Pólis (Λελέγων πόλις, "City of the Leleges"), Megálē Pólis (Μεγάλη Πόλις, "Great City"), and Ninóē (Νινόη).
The ruins of Aphrodisias
Shown within Turkey
|Location||Geyre, Aydın Province, Turkey|
|Associated with||Alexander of Aphrodisias, Chariton|
|Excavation dates||1904–1905, 1962–present|
|Archaeologists||Paul Augustin Gaudin, Kenan Erim, Christopher Ratté, R. R. R. Smith|
|Website||Aphrodisias Archaeological Site|
|Includes||Archaeological Site of Aphrodisias and Ancient Marble Quarries|
|Criteria||Cultural: ii, iii, iv, vi|
|Inscription||2017 (41st Session)|
|Buffer zone||1,040.57 ha|
White and blue grey Carian marble was extensively quarried from adjacent slopes in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, for building facades and sculptures. Marble sculptures and sculptors from Aphrodisias became famous in the Roman world. Many examples of statuary have been unearthed in Aphrodisias, and some representations of the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias also survive from other parts of the Roman world, as far afield as Pax Julia in Lusitania.
The city had notable schools for sculpture, as well as philosophy, remaining a centre of paganism until the end of the 5th century. The city was destroyed by earthquake in the early 7th century, and never recovered its former prosperity, being reduced to a small fortified settlement on the site of the ancient theatre. Around the same time, it was also renamed to Stauropolis (Greek: Σταυροῡπολις, "city of the Cross") to remove pagan connotations, but already by the 8th century it was known as Caria after the region, which later gave rise to its modern Turkish name, Geyre. In Byzantine times, the city was the seat of a fiscal administrative unit (dioikesis).
The site is in an earthquake zone and has suffered a great deal of damage at various times, especially in severe tremors of the 4th and 7th centuries. An added complication was that one of the 4th century earthquakes altered the water table, making parts of the town prone to flooding. Evidence can be seen of emergency plumbing installed to combat this problem.
Aphrodisias never fully recovered from the 7th century earthquake, and fell into disrepair. Part of the town was covered by the modern village of Geyre; some of the cottages were removed in the 20th century to reveal the older city. A new Geyre has been built a short distance away.
The Temple of Aphrodite was a focal point of the town. The Aphrodisian sculptors became renowned and benefited from a plentiful supply of marble close at hand. The school of sculpture was very productive; much of their work can be seen around the site and in the museum. Many full-length statues were discovered in the region of the agora, and trial and unfinished pieces pointing to a true school are in evidence. Sarcophagi were recovered in various locations, most frequently decorated with designs consisting of garland and columns. Pilasters have been found showing what are described as "peopled scrolls" with figures of people, birds and animals entwined in acanthus leaves.
The character of the temple building was altered when it became a Christian basilica. The building is believed to have been dismantled in c. 481-484 by order of Emperor Zeno, because the temple had been the focus of Pagan Hellenic opposition against Zeno in Aphrodisias, in support of Illus, who had promised to restore Hellenic rites, which had been suppressed during the Persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire, to the temples that where still standing. 
A monumental gateway, or tetrapylon, leads from the main north-south street of the town into a large forecourt in front of the Temple or Sanctuary of Aphrodite. The gateway was built ca. A.D. 200.
The bouleuterion (council house), or odeon, is centered on the north side of the North Agora. As it stands today, it consists of a semicircular auditorium fronted by a shallow stage structure about 46 m wide. The lower part of the auditorium survives intact, with nine rows of marble seats divided into five wedges by radial stairways. The seating of the upper part, amounting to an additional twelve rows, has collapsed together with its supporting vaults. The plan is an extremely open one, with numerous entrances at ground level and several stairways giving access to the upper rows of seats. A system of massive parallel buttresses shows that the building was originally vaulted. The auditorium would have been lighted by a series of tall, arched windows in the curved outer wall. Seating capacity can be estimated at about 1,750.
The available evidence indicates a construction date in the Antonine or early Severan period (late 2nd or early 3rd century AD). The scaenae frons (stage front) was certainly put up at this time, as the style of both sculpture and architectural ornament suggest. Statue bases terminating the retaining walls of the auditorium bore the names of two brothers, senators in the early Severan period, and two inscribed bases placed symmetrically against the exterior facade held statues of Aphrodisian benefactors, Claudia Antonia Tatiana and her uncle Lucius Antonius Dometinus, who were active at the end of the 2nd century. Tatiana is known to have had close ties with Ephesus, and it is possible that the striking similarities between this building and the bouleuterion on the civic agora there, dated by inscription to the mid-2nd century, are due to some initiative on her part. We do not know what stood here before the 2nd century AD, but it is likely that the present building replaced a smaller one contemporary with the laying out of the agora in the late 1st century BC.
The bouleuterion at Aphrodisias remained in this form until the early 5th century, when a municipal official had it adapted as a palaestra, recording his achievement in an inscription on the upper molding of the pulpitum (stage). Palaestra usually refers to a wrestling ground, but in the 5th century it could be used to describe a hall for lectures, performances, and various kinds of competitive displays, as suggested by a number of factional inscriptions carved on the seats. Numerous additional cuttings in the surviving seats, probably for poles supporting awnings, suggest that by this time the building had lost its roof. The orchestra was lowered and provided with a marble pavement, reused, perhaps, from the earlier phase.
The Sebasteion, or Augusteum, was jointly dedicated, according to a 1st-century inscription on its propylon, "To Aphrodite, the Divine Augusti and the People". A relief found in the ruins of the south portico represented a personification of the polis making sacrifice to the cult image of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, venerated as promētōr, "foremother" or "ancestral mother". "Aphrodite represents the cosmic force that integrates imperial power with the power of local elites," a reader of Chariton romance has noted. This connection between the goddess and the imperial house was also a particularly politic one at the time, as the Gens Julia - the family of Julius Caesar, Octavian Augustus, and their immediate successors - claimed divine descent from Venus/Aphrodite.
The stadium was used for athletic events until the theatre was badly damaged by a 7th-century earthquake, requiring part of the stadium to be converted for events previously staged in the theatre.
The stadium measures approximately 270 m (890 ft) by 60 m (200 ft). With 30 rows of seats on each side, and around each end, it would have had a maximum capacity for around 30,000 spectators. The track measures approximately 225 m (738 ft) by 30 m (98 ft).
As the stadium is considerably larger and structurally more extensive than even the stadium at the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi, it is probably one of the best preserved structures of its kind in the Mediterranean.
The quality of the marble in Aphrodisias has resulted in an unusually large number of inscribed items surviving in the city. As many pieces of monumental quarried stone were reused in the Late Antique city walls, many inscriptions could and can be easily read without any excavation; the city has therefore been visited and its inscriptions recorded repeatedly in modern times, starting from the early 18th century.
Upwards of 2000 inscriptions have been recorded by excavators under the aegis of New York University. Many of these inscriptions had been re-used in the city walls. Most inscriptions are from the Imperial period, with funerary and honorary texts being particularly well represented, but there are a handful of texts from all periods from the Hellenistic to Byzantine.
Excavations in Aphrodisias have also uncovered an important Jewish inscription whose context is unclear. The inscription, in Greek, lists donations made by numerous individuals, of whom several are classed as 'theosebeis', or Godfearers. It seems clear through comparative evidence from the inscriptions in the Sardis synagogue and from the New Testament that such Godfearers were probably interested gentiles who attached themselves to the Jewish community, supporting and perhaps frequenting the synagogue. The geographical spread of the evidence suggests this was a widespread phenomenon in Asia Minor during the Roman period.
A frieze discovered in 1980 showing a bare breasted and helmeted female warrior labelled BRITANNIA writhing in agony under the knee of a Roman soldier with to the left and below the inscription TIBERIUS CLAUDIUS CAESAR is assumed to depict Britain subjugated by Rome.
The cult image that is particular to Aphrodisias, the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, doubtless was once housed in the Temple of Aphrodite. She was a distinctive local goddess who became, by interpretatio graeca, identified with the Greek Aphrodite. Her canonical image, typical of Anatolian cult images, shows that she is related to the Lady of Ephesus, widely venerated in the Greco-Roman world as Artemis of Ephesus.
The surviving images, from contexts where they must have been more civic than ritual, are without exception from the late phase of the cult, in Hellenistic and Roman times. They are rendered in the naturalistic style common to their culture, which gave the local goddess more universal appeal. Like the Lady of Ephesus, the "Aphrodite" of Aphrodisia wears a thick, form-disguising tunic, encasing her as if in a columnar box, always with four registers of standardized imagery. Her feet are of necessity close together, her forearms stretched forward, to receive and to give. She is adorned with necklaces and wears a mural crown together with a diadem and a wreath of myrtle, draped with a long veil that frames her face and extends to the ground. Beneath her overtunic she wears a floor-length chiton.
The bands of decoration on the tunic, rendered in bas-relief, evoke the Goddess's cosmic powers: the Charites, the Three Graces that are the closest attendants of Aphrodite; heads of a married pair (the woman is veiled), identified by Lisa Brody as Gaia and Uranos, Earth and the Heavens, over which this goddess reigns, rather than as Zeus and Hera; Helios and Selene separated by a pillar; the marine Aphrodite, riding a sea-goat, and at the base a group of Erotes performing cult rituals.
The first formal excavations were undertaken in 1904-5, by a French railroad engineer, Paul Augustin Gaudin. Some of the architectural finds (mostly friezes, pilasters and capitals) he discovered at the site are now in the British Museum.
The most recent, ongoing excavations were begun by Kenan Erim under the aegis of New York University in 1962 and are currently led by Professor R. R. R. Smith (at Oxford University) and Professor Katharine Welch of the NYU Institute of Fine Arts. The findings reveal that the lavish building programme in the city's civic center was initiated and largely funded by one Gaius Julius Zoilus, a local who was a slave of Gaius Julius Caesar, set free by Octavian. When Zoilus returned as a freedman to his native city, endowed with prestige and rich rewards for his service, he shrewdly directed it to align with Octavian in his power struggle against Mark Antony. This ensured Octavian's lasting favor in the form of financial privileges that allowed the city to prosper.
In September 2014, drones weighing about 0.5 kg were used to 3D map the above-ground ruins of Aphrodisias. The data is being analysed by the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Vienna.
In March 2018, an ancient tomb has been unearthed in an area where illegal excavations were carried out. The tomb was taken to the Aphrodisias Museum.
Adrastus of Aphrodisias (Greek: Ἄδραστος ὁ Ἀφροδισιεύς; fl. 2nd century) was a Peripatetic philosopher who lived in the 2nd century AD. He was the author of a treatise on the arrangement of Aristotle's writings and his system of philosophy, quoted by Simplicius, and by Achilles Tatius. Some commentaries of his on the Timaeus of Plato are also quoted by Porphyry, and a treatise on the Categories of Aristotle by Galen. None of these have survived. He was a competent mathematician, whose writings on harmonics are frequently cited by Theon of Smyrna in the surviving sections of his On Mathematics Useful for the Understanding of Plato. In the 17th century, a work by Adrastus on harmonics, Περὶ Ἁρμονικῶν ("On Harmonics"), was said by Gerhard Johann Vossius to have been preserved, in manuscript, in the Vatican Library, although the manuscript appears to be no longer extant, if indeed this was not an error on Vossius' part.Adrastus of Philippi is also reported by Stephanus of Byzantium, as a peripatetic philosopher, he is presumably the same philosopher, unless there was a different, earlier, disciple of Aristotle.Alexander of Aphrodisias
Alexander of Aphrodisias (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Ἀφροδισιεύς; fl. AD 200) was a Peripatetic philosopher and the most celebrated of the Ancient Greek commentators on the writings of Aristotle. He was a native of Aphrodisias in Caria, and lived and taught in Athens at the beginning of the 3rd century, where he held a position as head of the Peripatetic school. He wrote many commentaries on the works of Aristotle, extant are those on the Prior Analytics, Topics, Meteorology, Sense and Sensibilia, and Metaphysics. Several original treatises also survive, and include a work On Fate, in which he argues against the Stoic doctrine of necessity; and one On the Soul. His commentaries on Aristotle were considered so useful that he was styled, by way of pre-eminence, "the commentator" (ὁ ἐξηγητής).Aphrodisias (Cilicia)
Aphrodisias (Ancient Greek: Ἀφροδισιάς), sometimes called Aphrodisias of Cilicia to distinguish it from the town of the same name in Caria, was a port city of ancient Cilicia whose ruins now lie near Cape Tisan in Mersin Province, Turkey.Aphrodisias (Thrace)
Aphrodisias (Ancient Greek: Ἀφροδισιάς) was a town of ancient Thrace on the Thracian Chersonese, inhabited during Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine times. During Roman times, it received a Roman colony under the name of Colonia Flaviopolis.Its site is located on the Gallipoli Peninsula in European Turkey.Aphrodisias (bug)
Aphrodisias is a Central American genus of bugs in the subfamily Fulgorinae and tribe Fulgorini Latreille, 1807.Aphrodite
Aphrodite is an ancient Greek goddess associated with love, beauty, pleasure, passion and procreation. She is identified with the planet Venus, which is named after the Roman goddess Venus, with whom Aphrodite was extensively syncretized. Aphrodite's major symbols include myrtles, roses, doves, sparrows, and swans.
The cult of Aphrodite was largely derived from that of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, a cognate of the East Semitic goddess Ishtar, whose cult was based on the Sumerian cult of Inanna. Aphrodite's main cult centers were Cythera, Cyprus, Corinth, and Athens. Her main festival was the Aphrodisia, which was celebrated annually in midsummer. In Laconia, Aphrodite was worshipped as a warrior goddess. She was also the patron goddess of prostitutes, an association which led early scholars to propose the concept of "sacred prostitution", an idea which is now generally seen as erroneous.
In Hesiod's Theogony, Aphrodite is born off the coast of Cythera from the foam (aphrós) produced by Uranus's genitals, which his son Cronus has severed and thrown into the sea. In Homer's Iliad, however, she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Plato, in his Symposium 180e, asserts that these two origins actually belong to separate entities: Aphrodite Ourania (a transcendent, "Heavenly" Aphrodite) and Aphrodite Pandemos (Aphrodite common to "all the people"). Aphrodite had many other epithets, each emphasizing a different aspect of the same goddess, or used by a different local cult. Thus she was also known as Cytherea (Lady of Cythera) and Cypris (Lady of Cyprus), because both locations claimed to be the place of her birth.
In Greek mythology, Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus, the god of blacksmiths and metalworking. Despite this, Aphrodite was frequently unfaithful to him and had many lovers; in the Odyssey, she is caught in the act of adultery with Ares, the god of war. In the First Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, she seduces the mortal shepherd Anchises. Aphrodite was also the surrogate mother and lover of the mortal shepherd Adonis, who was killed by a wild boar. Along with Athena and Hera, Aphrodite was one of the three goddesses whose feud resulted in the beginning of the Trojan War and she plays a major role throughout the Iliad. Aphrodite has been featured in western art as a symbol of female beauty and has appeared in numerous works of western literature. She is a major deity in modern Neopagan religions, including the Church of Aphrodite, Wicca, and Hellenismos.Apollonius of Aphrodisias
Apollonius of Aphrodisias (Ancient Greek: Απολλώνιος ὁ Ἀφροδισιεύς) in Cilicia is described in the Suda as a high priest and a historian. He is said to have written a work on the town of Tralles, a second on the mythological figure Orpheus and his mysteries, and a third on the history of Caria (Καρικά), of which the eighteenth book is mentioned, and which is often referred to by Stephanus of Byzantium.Cape Tisan
Cape Tisan is a headland on the Mediterranean sea coast of Mersin Province, Turkey.Erytheia
Erytheia (Ancient Greek: Ἐρυθεία) ("the red one"), part of Greek mythology, is one of the three Hesperides. The name was applied to the island close to the coast of southern Hispania, that was the site of the original Punic colony of Gadeira. Pliny's Natural History (4.36) records of the island of Gades: "On the side which looks towards Spain, at about 100 paces distance, is another long island, three miles wide, on which the original city of Gades stood. By Ephorus and Philistides it is called Erythia, by Timæus and Silenus Aphrodisias, and by the natives the Isle of Juno." The island was the seat of Geryon, who was overcome by Heracles.Homonoia
Homonoia (Greek: Ὁμόνοια) is the concept of order and unity, being of one mind together or union of hearts. It was used by the Greeks to create unity in the politics of classical Greece. It saw widespread use when Alexander the Great adopted its principles to govern his vast Empire.Kenan Erim
Kenan Tevfik Erim (13 February 1929 in İstanbul – 3 November 1990 in Ankara) was a Turkish archaeologist who excavated from 1961 until his death at the site of Aphrodisias in Turkey.List of World Heritage Sites in Turkey
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972. Turkey accepted the convention on 16 March 1983, making its historical sites eligible for inclusion on the list. As of 2018, there are eighteen World Heritage Sites in Turkey, including sixteen cultural sites and two mixed sites.The first three sites in Turkey, Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, Historic Areas of Istanbul and Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, were inscribed on the list at the 9th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Paris, France in 1985. The latest inscriptions, Aphrodisias, was added to the list in 2017, and Göbekli Tepe in 2018.Mylae (Cilicia)
Mylae or Mylai (Ancient Greek: Μυλαί), also called Mylas (Μύλας) or Myle, was a town of ancient Cilicia, located on a promontory of the same name, between Aphrodisias and Cape Sarpedon (modern Incekum Burnu).Its site is located near Manastır in Asiatic Turkey.New York University Institute of Fine Arts
The New York University Institute of Fine Arts is dedicated to graduate teaching and advanced research in the history of art, archaeology and the conservation and technology of works of art. It offers Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Art History and Archeology, the Advanced Certificate in Conservation of Works of Art, and the Certificate in Curatorial Studies (issued jointly with the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
The IFA is one of the world’s leading graduate schools and research centers in art history, archaeology, and conservation. Since the Institute awarded its first PhD in 1933, more than 2000 degrees have been conferred and a high proportion of its alumni hold international leadership roles as professors, curators, museum directors, archaeologists, conservators, critics, and institutional administrators. The IFA’s doctoral program was ranked among the best in the United States by the National Research Council’s 2011 study.Problems (Aristotle)
The Problems (Greek: Προβλήματα; Latin: Problemata) is an Aristotelian or possibly pseudo-Aristotelian, as its authenticity has been questioned, collection of problems written in a question and answer format. The collection, gradually assembled by the peripatetic school, reached its final form anywhere between the third century BC to the 6th century AD. The work is divided by topic into 38 sections, and the whole contains almost 900 problems.
Later writers of Problemata include Plutarch, Alexander of Aphrodisias, and Cassius Iatrosophista.Sosigenes the Peripatetic
Sosigenes the Peripatetic (Greek: Σωσιγένης) was a philosopher living at the end of the 2nd century AD. He was the tutor of Alexander of Aphrodisias and wrote a work On Revolving Spheres, from which some important extracts have been preserved in Simplicius's commentary on Aristotle's De Caelo.Theophrastus
Theophrastus (; Greek: Θεόφραστος Theόphrastos; c. 371 – c. 287 BC), a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death, he attached himself to Aristotle who took to Theophrastus his writings. When Aristotle fled Athens, Theophrastus took over as head of the Lyceum. Theophrastus presided over the Peripatetic school for thirty-six years, during which time the school flourished greatly. He is often considered the father of botany for his works on plants. After his death, the Athenians honoured him with a public funeral. His successor as head of the school was Strato of Lampsacus.
The interests of Theophrastus were wide ranging, extending from biology and physics to ethics and metaphysics. His two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on Renaissance science. There are also surviving works On Moral Characters, On Sense Perception, On Stones, and fragments on Physics and Metaphysics. In philosophy, he studied grammar and language and continued Aristotle's work on logic. He also regarded space as the mere arrangement and position of bodies, time as an accident of motion, and motion as a necessary consequence of all activity. In ethics, he regarded happiness as depending on external influences as well as on virtue.Xenocrates of Aphrodisias
Xenocrates (Greek: Ξενοκράτης; fl. 1st century) a Greek physician of Aphrodisias in Cilicia, who must have lived about the middle of the 1st century, as he was probably a contemporary of Andromachus the Younger. Galen says that he lived in the second generation before himself. He wrote some pharmaceutical works, and is blamed by Galen for making use of disgusting remedies, for instance, human brains, flesh, liver, urine, excrement, etc. One of his works was entitled On Useful Things from Living Beings (Greek: Περὶ τῆς ἀπὸ τῶν Ζώων Ὠφελείας). He is several times quoted by Galen, and also by Clement of Alexandria; Artemidorus; Pliny; Oribasius; Aëtius; and Alexander of Tralles. Besides some short fragments of his writings there is extant a synopsis of a work on marine creatures, (Greek: Περὶ τῆς ἀπὸ τῶν Ἐνύδρων Τροφῆς) preserved by Oribasius.Yeşilovacık Fishing Port
Yeşilovacık Fishing Port is a small port in the town of Yeşilovacık, Turkey.
The economy of Yeşilovacık is partially based on fishing. It is a part of Silifke ilçe (district) of Mersin Province at 36°11′06″N 33°39′37″E. The 250-small boat capacity harbor was constructed in 1997. It is situated to the east of a small bay named Ovacık Bay, north of the ancient site Aphrodisias of Cilicia and the south of the town. The length of the breakwater (against south west) is 525 metres (1,722 ft). It is equipped by a harbor launch for small vessels.
1 Shared with other regions