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Lagina was a town in the territory of Stratonicea, in ancient Caria. It contained an important temple of Hecate, at which every year great festivals were celebrated. Tacitus, when speaking of the worship of Trivia among the Stratoniceans, evidently means Hecate. Its site is located near Turgut, Asiatic Turkey.

Recent studies have shown that the site had been inhabited and/or employed in an uninterrupted manner during a time span stretching back to the Bronze Age. Seleucid kings conducted a considerable reconstruction effort in the sacred ground of Lagina and transformed it into a foremost religious center of its time, with the nearby (at a distance of 11 kilometers) site of Stratonicea becoming the administrative center. The two sites (Lagina and Stratonikeia) were connected to each other in antiquity by a 'sacred path' which began at the north gate of the town.  Before the foundation of Stratonicea in the mid-3rd century BCE, the sanctuary of Lagina was governed by the town of Koranza nearby.

Category:         Ancient City

Civilisation       Caria /Asia Minor


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The propylaea_(monumental_gateway), a stairway with ten steps  led from the propylaea to a paved way and then to the altar,_ Sanctuary of Hecate in Lagina 

Hecate or Hekate is a goddess in ancient Greek religion and mythology. She is variously associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, night, light, magic, protection from witchcraft, the Moon, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, graves, ghosts, necromancy, and sorcery. Her earliest appearance in literature was in Hesiod's Theogony in the 8th century BCE as a goddess of great honour with domains in sky, earth, and sea. Her place of origin is debated by scholars, but she had popular followings amongst the witches of Thessaly and an important sanctuary among the Carian Greeks of Asia Minor in Lagina. Her oldest known representation was found in Selinunte, in Sicily.

Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, "she is more at home on the fringes than in the centre of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition."

The Romans knew her by the epithet of Trivia, an epithet she shares with Diana/Artemis, each in their roles as protector of travel and of the crossroads (trivia, "three ways")

Relief triplicate Hekate

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Lagina Propylon

Lagina was the only site of a monumental temple to Hecate, and therefore the rituals carried out were unique. Part of these rituals included a "Key-Carrying" ceremony in which a choir of young girls would walk from Lagina to Stratonicea to declare their devotion to the city. On their return, the gates would be opened by the girl carrying the key, and the religious festivities would begin. The goddess Hecate was so important to the area around Stratonicea that coins were made showing her likeness.

The archaeological research conducted in Lagina is historically significant in that it was the first to have been done by a Turkish scientific team, under the direction of Osman Hamdi Bey and Halit Ethem Bey. In 1993, excavation and restoration work was resumed under the guidance of Muğla Museum, by an international team advised by Professor Ahmet Tırpan.

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