Labraunda (Ancient Greek: Λάβρανδα Labranda or Λάβραυνδα Labraunda) is an ancient archaeological site five kilometers west of Ortaköy, Muğla Province, Turkey, in the mountains near the coast of Caria. In ancient times, it was held sacred by Carians and Mysians alike. The site amid its sacred plane trees [1] was enriched in the Hellenistic style by the Hecatomnid dynasty of Mausolus, satrap (and virtual king) of Persian Caria (c. 377 – 352 BCE), and also later by his successor and brother Idrieus; Labranda was the dynasty's ancestral sacred shrine. The prosperity of a rapidly hellenised Caria occurred in the during the 4th century BCE.[2] Remains of Hellenistic houses and streets can still be traced, and there are numerous inscriptions. The cult icon here was a local Zeus Labrandeus (Ζεὺς Λαβρανδεύς), a standing Zeus with the tall lotus-tipped scepter upright in his left hand and the double-headed axe, the labrys, over his right shoulder. The cult statue was the gift of the founder of the dynasty, Hecatomnus himself, recorded in a surviving inscription.[3]

In the 3rd century BCE, with the fall of the Hecatomnids, Labraunda passed into the control of Mylasa. The site was later occupied without discontinuity until the mid Byzantine period.

Λάβρανδα (in Ancient Greek)
Лабранда. Терраса
Labraunda was built on artificial terraces
Labraunda is located in Turkey
Shown within Turkey
Alternative nameLabranda
LocationOrtaköy, Muğla Province, Turkey
Coordinates37°25′8″N 27°49′13″E / 37.41889°N 27.82028°ECoordinates: 37°25′8″N 27°49′13″E / 37.41889°N 27.82028°E
Satellite ofMylasa

Labraunda and labrys

Labraunda, tomb of Idrieus
Tomb of 4th century BCE Carian Dynast Idrieus in Labraunda.

The first occurrence of "labrys" in English noted by the OED concerns this sanctuary:[4]

It seems natural to interpret names of Carian sanctuaries like Labranda in the most literal sense as the place of the sacred labrys, which was the Lydian (or Carian) name for the Greek πέλεκυς, or double-edged axe.

The same root labr- appears in the labyrinth of Knossos, which is interpreted as the "place of the axe." The double-headed axe was a central iconic motif at Labraunda. The axe cast of gold had been kept in the Lydian capital Sardes for centuries. The Lydian king Gyges awarded it to the Carians, to commemorate Carian support in a battle. This is the mythic anecdote: the social and political reality may have been more complicated, for such ritual objects are never lightly passed from hand to hand or moved from their fixed abode. Upon receiving this precious, purely ritual axe, the Carians kept it in the Temple of Zeus at Labraunda.

The figure of a double-sided axe is a feature of many coins of Halicarnassus. Coins at the museum at Bodrum bear the head of Apollo on the obverse and on the reverse the name of the reigning Carian ruler inscribed next to the figure of Zeus Labraunda carrying the double-bladed Carian axe.


The Royal Swedish Institute at Athens has been in charge of archeology at Labraunda, notably in a series of campaigns in 1948-53, initiated by Axel W. Persson and taken up, after the latter's sudden death, by Gösta Säflund, has published its findings in a long series, grouped as four volumes, from 1955 onwards. The hieron, one of the best-preserved and most complete series of 4th century BCE structures, contained a series of buildings of unusual construction, ranged on several formal terraces. In its synthesis of Achaemenid and Ionian features it foreshadowed Hellenistic style.

The sacred precinct was entered through one of two marble Ionic propylea at the southeast corner of the site. The Ionic temple of Zeus[5] bore a dedicatory inscription of the brother of Mausolus, Idrieus (351-44 BCE);[6] it had a simplified, two-part architrave, and a low ceiling to the small cella.

The site is currently being excavated by an international team led by archaeologists Olivier Henry and Ömür Dünya Çakmaklı.[7]


  1. ^ Herodotus, v.119
  2. ^ The cultural background is presented in S. Hornblower, Mausolus (Oxford: Clarendon Press) 1982.
  3. ^ Alfred Westholm, Labraunda I.2 The Architecture of the Hieron, inscription no. 6 (1963).
  4. ^ quoting Journal of Hellenic Studies XXI. 108 (1901).
  5. ^ Published by Pontus Hellström and Thomas Theime, Labraunda I.3, The Temple of Zeus Labraunda: Swedish Excavations and Researches) 1982. ISBN 91-970338-2-0
  6. ^ Fragmentary inscriptions on the propylea are also restored as dedications of Idrieus.
  7. ^ "Team_eng". Retrieved 14 April 2018.


  • Karlsson, Lars; Carlsson, Susanne, eds. (2011). Labraunda & Karia. Proceedings of the International Symposium Commemorating Sixty Years of Swedish Archaeological Work in Labraunda. The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm, November 20-21, 2008. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis: Boreas. Uppsala Studies in Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Civilizations. 32. Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet. ISBN 978-91-554-7997-8.

External links


Ariassus or Ariassos (Ancient Greek: Άριασσός) was a town in Pisidia, Asia Minor built on a steep hillside about 50 kilometres inland from Attaleia (modern Antalya).


Arlissos (Ancient Greek: Ἀρλισσός) was a town of ancient Caria. It was a member of the Delian League since it appears in tribute records of Athens in the year 445/4 BCE, where it paid a phoros of 600 drachmae. It also appears in a list of names in an inscription of Labraunda of the 4th century BCE. A herald of the city is cited in a treaty between Mylasa and Cindye of the 4th century BCE. It also appears from this decree that the native population of Anatolia probably abounded in the city, and the city's membership in the Greek world is debatable.Its site is unlocated.

Axel W. Persson

Axel Waldemar Persson (June 1, 1888 – May 7, 1951) was a Swedish archaeologist.

Born at Kvidinge, he was professor of classical archaeology and ancient history at Uppsala University from 1925 to 1951. He excavated sites in the Argolid in Greece, including Asine, Dendra and Midea, as well as other sites in Asia Minor including Milas and Labraunda, searching for the origins of the Linear B writing system.


Caloe was a town in the Roman province of Asia. It is mentioned as Kaloe or Keloue in 3rd-century inscriptions, as Kalose in Hierocles's Synecdemos (660), and as Kalloe, Kaloe, and Kolone in Parthey's Notitiæ episcopatuum, in which it figures from the 6th to the 12fth or 13th century.

Carian Trail

The Carian Trail is an 820 km long-distance footpath exploring the South Western corner of Turkey through the modern provinces of Muğla and Aydın. The trail is new and winds through some of the lesser known regions of Turkey.

The trail was explored and mapped beginning in 2009 was opened by Yunus Özdemir, Altay Özcan and Dean Livesley. It was opened for travel in 2013.The trail is named after the Carian civilization, indigenous people of Asia Minor. It passes through an area with many ancient ruins. Stone paved caravan roads and mule paths connect villages from the coast to a mountainous hinterland. There are pine forest covered mountain slopes, olive terraces and almond groves which are an important part of the region's economy.

The trail is signed and waymarked allowing both independent and group travellers to hike and enjoy the scenic beauty and cultural treasures of Caria.


Cestrus was a city in the Roman province of Isauria, in Asia Minor. Its placing within Isauria is given by Hierocles, Georgius Cyprius, and Parthey's (Notitiae episcopatuum). While recognizing what the ancient sources said, Lequien supposed that the town, whose site has not been identified, took its name from the River Cestros and was thus in Pamphylia. Following Lequien's hypothesis, the 19th-century annual publication Gerarchia cattolica identified the town with "Ak-Sou", which Sophrone Pétridès called an odd mistake, since this is the name of the River Cestros, not of a city.


Cotenna was a city in the Roman province of Pamphylia I in Asia Minor. It corresponds to modern Gödene, near Konya, Turkey.


Idrieus, or Hidrieos (Ancient Greek: Ἱδριεύς, romanized: Hidrieús; died 344 BC) was a ruler of Caria under the Achaemenid Empire, nominally a Satrap, who enjoyed the status of king or dynast by virtue of the powerful position his predecessors of the House of Hecatomnus (the Hecatomnids) created when they succeeded the assassinated Persian Satrap Tissaphernes in the Carian satrapy.

Ionian Revolt

The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis, Doris, Cyprus and Caria, were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart of the rebellion was the dissatisfaction of the Greek cities of Asia Minor with the tyrants appointed by Persia to rule them, along with the individual actions of two Milesian tyrants, Histiaeus and Aristagoras. The cities of Ionia had been conquered by Persia around 540 BC, and thereafter were ruled by native tyrants, nominated by the Persian satrap in Sardis. In 499 BC, the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, launched a joint expedition with the Persian satrap Artaphernes to conquer Naxos, in an attempt to bolster his position. The mission was a debacle, and sensing his imminent removal as tyrant, Aristagoras chose to incite the whole of Ionia into rebellion against the Persian king Darius the Great.

In 498 BC, supported by troops from Athens and Eretria, the Ionians marched on, captured, and burnt Sardis. However, on their return journey to Ionia, they were followed by Persian troops, and decisively beaten at the Battle of Ephesus. This campaign was the only offensive action by the Ionians, who subsequently went on the defensive. The Persians responded in 497 BC with a three pronged attack aimed at recapturing the outlying areas of the rebellion, but the spread of the revolt to Caria meant that the largest army, under Daurises, relocated there. While initially campaigning successfully in Caria, this army was annihilated in an ambush at the Battle of Pedasus. This resulted in a stalemate for the rest of 496 BC and 495 BC.

By 494 BC the Persian army and navy had regrouped, and they made straight for the epicentre of the rebellion at Miletus. The Ionian fleet sought to defend Miletus by sea, but was decisively beaten at the Battle of Lade, after the defection of the Samians. Miletus was then besieged, captured, and its population was brought under Persian rule. This double defeat effectively ended the revolt, and the Carians surrendered to the Persians as a result. The Persians spent 493 BC reducing the cities along the west coast that still held out against them, before finally imposing a peace settlement on Ionia which was generally considered to be both just and fair.

The Ionian Revolt constituted the first major conflict between Greece and the Persian Empire, and as such represents the first phase of the Greco-Persian Wars. Although Asia Minor had been brought back into the Persian fold, Darius vowed to punish Athens and Eretria for their support of the revolt. Moreover, seeing that the myriad city states of Greece posed a continued threat to the stability of his Empire, according to Herodotus, Darius decided to conquer the whole of Greece. In 492 BC, the first Persian invasion of Greece, the next phase of the Greco-Persian Wars, began as a direct consequence of the Ionian Revolt.

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World

The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World is an interdisciplinary center for research and teaching of archaeology, particularly archaeology and art of the ancient Mediterranean, Egypt, and the Near East, at Brown University.


Labrys (Greek: λάβρυς, lábrus) is, according to Plutarch (Quaestiones Graecae 2.302a), the Lydian word for the double-bitted axe called in Greek a πέλεκυς (pélekus). The relation with the labyrinth is uncertain.

List of ancient settlements in Turkey

Below is the list of ancient settlements in Turkey. There are innumerable ruins of ancient settlements spread all over the country. While some ruins date back to Neolithic times, most of them were settlements of Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Ionians, Urartians, and so on.


Lyrbe (spelled Lyrba in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia; Ancient Greek: Λύρβη) was a city and episcopal see in the Roman province of Pamphylia Prima and is now a titular see.


Mausolus (Greek: Μαύσωλος or Μαύσσωλλος; Carian: 𐊪𐊠𐊲𐊸𐊫𐊦 Mauśoλ “very dear”[1]) was a ruler of Caria (377–353 BC), nominally a satrap of the Achaemenid Empire. He enjoyed the status of king or dynast by virtue of the powerful position created by his father Hecatomnus (Carian: 𐊴𐊭𐊪𐊳𐊫 K̂tmño) who had succeeded the assassinated Persian Satrap Tissaphernes in the Carian satrapy and founded the hereditary dynasty of the Hecatomnids.

Pixodarus, son of Mausolus

Pixodarus was a dignitary of Caria circa 500 BCE, son of a man named Mausolus (not to be confused with the later ruler of Caria named Mausolus), who was from the city of Cindys. Pixodarus led the Carians fighting on the Ionian side during the Ionian revolt in 490 BCE, but was defeated twice by the Achaemenids (in the Battle of the Marsyas and the Battle of Labraunda in 495 BC).He also married the daughter of Syennesis, ruler of Achaemenid Cilicia. Syennesis was a contemporary and tributary of Darius the Great, and possibly the same man whom Herodotus mentions as one of the most distinguished of the subordinate commanders in the fleet of Xerxes I.

Sacred grove

A sacred grove or sacred woods are any grove of trees that are of special religious importance to a particular culture. Sacred groves feature in various cultures throughout the world. They were important features of the mythological landscape and cult practice of Celtic, Baltic, Germanic, ancient Greek, Near Eastern, Roman, and Slavic polytheism, and were also used in India, Japan, and West Africa. Examples of sacred groves include the Greco-Roman temenos, the Norse hörgr, and the Celtic nemeton, which was largely but not exclusively associated with Druidic practice. During the Northern Crusades, there was a common practice of building churches on the sites of sacred groves. The Lakota and various other North American tribes consider particular forests or other natural landmarks to be sacred.

Ancient holy trees remain in the English and Estonian countryside and are mentioned often in folklore and fairytales.

Stratonicea (Lydia)

Stratonicea – (Greek: Στρατoνικεια, or Στρατονίκεια) also transliterated as Stratoniceia and Stratonikeia, earlier Indi, and later for a time Hadrianapolis – was an ancient city in the valley of the Caicus river, between Germe and Acrasus, in Lydia, Anatolia; its site is currently near the village of Siledik, in the district of Kırkağaç, Manisa Province, in the Aegean Region of Turkey.


Tyana (Ancient Greek: Τύανα; Hittite Tuwanuwa) was an ancient city in the Anatolian region of Cappadocia, in modern Kemerhisar, Niğde Province, Central Anatolia, Turkey. It was the capital of a Luwian-speaking Neo-Hittite kingdom in the 1st millennium BC.

Üçayaklı ruins

The Üçayaklı ruins are in Mersin Province, Turkey.

Black Sea
Central Anatolia
Eastern Anatolia


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