History of Lycia

The antique area Lycia on the beach part of the Teke Peninsula which is between the bay of Antalya and Fethiye, coincides with the part of the Lukka country in the Hittite writings and goes all the way down to 9 B.C. They call themselvesas the Trmmili and with this the give trail that their motherland was what is known today as the Dirmil Plateau. The common name “Lycia” coming from the Hellen Language, is an adaptation of “Lukka” which is from the Hittite language.

The Lycians are an important branch of the Indian-European origined Luvians who are related to the Hittite and are in fact the closest to. According to Heredotos, their “some of their customs being close to the Cretans, and some others being close to the Carians” originates from all of them being from the Luvian relative circles. Their “matriarchal structure being like no one elses”, even though argued about in the old times sciences, can be interpreted as their believing in a Mother God differing from the beliefs of the Hittites. All these scientific writings written by Heredotos, says that the motherland of the Lycians is Cretan and from there they migrated to Anatolia, but this contradicts with the myth of the Sarpedon/Minos. In this story it is true that they called themselves Termiller. It also comes across us in the Sarpedon that the supreme commander of the Lycians Homeros in the Ilias epopee was the most powerful ally of Hektor against the Hellens in Troia.

It is understood from their being in the first place between the 22 in the Assuva Confederation made against the Hittites that the Lycians had a national power in 2000 B.C. It is seen that they had a big role in Anatolia’s freedom, being sided with the Hittites against the Egyptians in Kadesh, and fighting bravely against the Hellens in Troy. It is because of this that when the Persians invaded Anatolia in 540 B.C. they did not interfere with any of Lycia’s interior laws but only made them pay taxes. When they were passed to the Athenas, this time when the Hellens came to collect their taxes they were defeated heavily. The Lycia Alliance going against the Rodos in 168/167 B.C. is because of the same reasons.

The French intellectual Montesquieus description of the first Lycia democratic rules used in history is also important in this way; because it is argued that the United States based their laws upon the Lycian laws. The Lycian Union is a national Union, and the amount of countries and cities that join or leave are all Lycian. The Union’s capital is Patara, and the other cities which had the 3 rights to vote were Ksanthos, Pinara, Olympos, Myra and Tlos. Within time Limyra replaced Olympos, and Telmessos replaced Pinara. While places in the Union Congress like Kadyanda and Phellos represented 2 votes, places like Arykanda represented only one. Areas like Teimiussa, Simena, Aperlai, and Apollonia which are small neighbor areas join with one vote. The Lycian Parlamento would determine the representatives by how big and populated the cities were. The Lycian law system was much more complicated and unique than the law systems used nowadays. Because of this their law system was restored by the Turkish Congress and patara was recommended to become an antique heritage within the UNESCO.

The Lycian language is nearest to Luvian language. It consists of 29 letters and 19 of them were taken from the Anatolian people of Ionia’s language. It is seen for the first time in 400 B.C. on their coins. Philologists believe that during 400 B.C. Lycian was totally turned into Hellen language due to the Macedonian Great Alexander. But even though that happened, Opramoas from Rhodiapolis and Torquatos from Trebenna or Trokondas who were known Lycians were able to keep their Lycian name even during the Roman times.

The Lycians, unlike the new Hittites or Ionians were ruled by their own cities, and never established the Lycian Alliance or when they were under the Roman Empire. And because of this reason, the fourth king of Hittite Tuthaliye named his expedition in 1300 B.C. the “Lukka Expedition” but he only took over places that were near Lycian areas. They were called Dalava (Tlos), Pina/Pinale (Pinara), Avarna/Arnna (Ksanthos) and Patar/Pttara (Patara). Unlike when Lycia was under Persian control, when they were under the control of Athena, who had huge victories against the Persians, their relations were always hostile. We can tell this is because the cities were forced to act upon Athena’s demands. After the Peloponnes wars, Lycia returns to Persian control, but this time, around 380 B.C., with Perikle from Limyra, Lycia has a successful victory against the Persians and even if for a short time they become a “state”. Perikle is named the first and last Lycian King. However during 360 B.C. with the Satrap Uprise which fails, they are handed over to Karia Satrap Muassolos by the Persians.

The land which Alexander took from the Persians in 334 B.C., was under the macedonian control during 300 B.C. it is in the control of the Sleucus, and in 188 B.C., the land is given to the Roman Empire under the control of Rhodes.When the Lycians uprised against this decision in 167 B.C., the Roman Empire decide to leave the country alone and with that Lycia Union is mad. With the continuing plundering against Roman states, and the pirates in cities like Olympos and Phaselis, the Roman Emperor Claudius turns Lycia into a Roman state in 43 B.C. and merges Vespanianus and its neighboring area Pamphylia and makes them one part of the Empire. During the “Roman Peace” era, just like the other Anatolian areas Lycia goes through a bright era.

During the 4th century, with the new religion Christianity, and the new country East Rome, Lycia is one of the areas where this religion is seen most. Two of the most important saints of the Orthodox world Methodius and Nikolaos are from here. In the 7th century, with the Arabian incursion, the Lycian people decide to move to the mountains and leave the coastal areas.

When the Turks lead by the Teke Sons came into the area in the 13th century, the Turks also mostly lived in the mountains instead of coastal areas and lived togother with the Lycians. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire will open their lands to the Greek people to live. During This continuum the archaic areas of Lycia like Kas (Antifellos) changes its name to Andifli; so does Phellos to Felen, Kombe to Gombe, Kandyba to Gendive, Kalamaki to Kalkan, Phonikos to Firnaz, Podamia to Bodamya and Kalamos to Gelemis.

Lycia Road is Turkey’s first long distance hiking spot which presents its visitors great beauties of nature. Starting from Fethiye reaching to Antalya and called Lycia in history, this route is made by pinpointing locations on map of Teke Peninsula’s trails. Parcour constructions begun on 1992 and finished on 1999. Until 2015 this road is 509 km long with Citdibi and Geyikbayırı stages then ending on Geyikbayırı area reaching 535 kilometers long. To feel the mystery of Ancient Lycia and beauty of Antalya hiking on this road will makeyou visit many creeks and barren mountain villages. This path presents its visitors a change to get to know the culture of Mediterranean and witness majestic natural views. On the road from east to west, respectively Idyros, Phaselis,, Korykos, Olympos, Posidarisus, Melanippe, gagai, Phoinikos, Andriake, Simena, Teimussa, Aperlai, Antiphellos, Kalamaki, Phoinike, Patara, Pydnai, Arymnessos/Perdiiai, Kalabantia, Telmessos, Krya, Lissa, and Lydia Ancient Cities are lined.

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