Lycian Civilisation in Anatolia,
General Information & Brief History
Lycia is one of the oldest civilizations in the history of Anatolia and, unlike many misunderstandings and information, it is not a Greek or Roman civilization extension, but a civilization created entirely by the peoples of Anatolia. The earliest historical sources of Lycian civilization are found in ''Egyptian'' and ''Hittite'' documents. In these sources, which date back to 2000s B.C., the names ”Luka'' and ''Lukka'' are mentioned. Hittite King Suppliluliuma states that in the 14th century BC he conquered the Lycian States. It is known by the first written agreement in the history between the Egyptians and the Hittites that Lycians joined in the war as allies with Hittites. In the Homer's epic ''İliad'', it is mentioned that Lycia sent troops to Troy in order to join in the war as allies with Trojans (which is another Anatolian civilisation) against Greeks during the Troja war. while the Troja war is being told, it is also written that, Sarpedon, the legendary king of Lycia who is known as the son of Zeus was also killed during the war.
Therefore, the name Lycian is a word pointing the people of Anatolia. The biggest misrepresentation while talking about the ancient period is that all the mythological gods on the Anatolian lands were the Gods of Greek and Roman civilisations . It is an indisputable fact that Greek and Roman civilizations are also influenced by the gods of Anatolia, Mesopotamia and even Egypt, while the civilizations in Anatolia are influenced by Greek mythology and Gods. The real thing is that the peoples who are in contact with each other in close geographies created interactive forms of worship with each other when there is not heavenly religions yet.
Ancient Lycian Civilization Cities are located in the Teke Peninsula in the Mediterranean Region. Ancient Lycia, the Mediterranean in the south, the ancient Caria in the west and the ancient Pamphylia in the east. In the middle of the 1st century B.C. the Lycian Union was consisting of 23 cities. This union is known as the first democratic unity in history and has been a source of inspiration for the modern democratic systems. The important cities of this federation are Patara, Xanthos, Pinara, Olympos, Myra and Tlos. Phaselis was added later. There are smaller cities belonging to the Lycian union in the Teke Peninsula named; Andriake, Sura, Kyaenai, Limyra, Theimmusa, Simena, Istlada, Trebende and Aperlae.
The Lycians fought alongside the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh which occured between the Egyptian and Hittite civilizations. Since the first half of the 7th century BC, they established a local kingdom. The peoples of the Lycian region have fallen under Persian rule in the mid-6th century and during this period many important cities were destroyed. They took part in the Delos Union formed against the Persians in the 5th century. The region, which had been freed from the Persian yoke by Alexander the Great, than entered under the dominance of Alexander's generals as a result of the sharing of power and authority after the death of Alexander. The region, which was under the influence of Roman civilization in 167 BC, was liberated by a privilege granted by Rome. In these years, the port cities of Lycia such as Olympos and Phaselis were looted by the pirates who used them as bases. Lycian civilization, which was heavily damaged by earthquakes in AC 141 and 240, lost their importance after the Arab invasions started in the 7th century AC.
The Lycians had their own language. This language was written with the Lycian alphabet similar to the Western Greek alphabet. The Lycian alphabet, consisting of six letters, six of which were vocals, had some sounds not shown in the Greek alphabet. For a long time the Lycian language was considered to be a close relative of Greek or Persian, but in 1945 Holger Pedersen, a linguist from Denmark, refuted this view by revealing that the Lycian language was connected to the Anatolian languages. Today, many linguists argue that the Lycian language emerges from a western Luvi dialect. The Lycian language could be partially solved by the Xsantos stele exhibited at the Museum of Fethiye in Antalya.
The archaeological and epigraphic studies conducted in recent years, about the Lycians ın early 2000 BC, discovered that they were indo-Germen origined ''Lukka'' tribes who came from caucasia & settled in the Mediterranean region.
The Lycian Union and its cities did not lose their importance after entering under the dominance of the Roman Empire and reached the highest level of abundance and prosperity. The avarage population of big cities was around 5,000 and the population of the whole region was around 200,000. The borders have been extended to include Kaunos (Dalyan) in the northeast. İn 5th century It is reported that there are 34 cities in the province of Lycia. The region between the modern cities ''Demre'' and ''Kaş'' is the most densely inhabited part of Lycia in terms of the number of cities, but the cities such as Patara, Xantos and letoon, where there are dense settlements, are located between t today's cities Fethiye and Kaş.
Lycian people encounter Christianity in the third missionary journey berween the years 53-57. The process begins with the visit of Paulus to Patara and Myra. Methodius from Olympos is the first known bishop of Lycia and was executed in Patara in 312. The Byzantine period was the period in which Christianity was more comfortable, settled and widespread in the region. Many churches were built during this period.
Lycian port cities from east to west are; Idyros, Phaselis, Korykos, Olympos, Posidarisus, Melanippe, Gagai, Phoinikos, Andriake, Simena, Teimussa, Aperlai, Antiphellos, Kalamaki, Phoinike, Patara, Pydnai, Arymnessos / Perdikiai, Kalabantia, Karmylessos, Telmessos It is listed as Krya, Lissa and Lydai. The most important ones are the ports of Patara and Andriake
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