Home >> New International Encyclopedia, Volume 20 >> Wittekind to Yttrium >> Xanthus


sculptures, lycia, tomb, date and represent

XANTHUS, ziin'thus (Lat., from Gk.:Z=400c). The capital of ancient Lycia. It lay at the south west corner of Asia Minor, its site being near the modern village of (hnk. When the Persians under Harpagus invaded Lycia, after the conquest of Crcesus and the Lydians, the inhabitants resist ed with desperation, and filially burned their city and fell themselves in a last sally. only eighty families surviving the catastrophe. Though their country was reduced to a Persian satrapy, the Xanthians seem to have remained tinder their own princes, who waged petty wars against tribes resisting their authority. Xanthus was captured by Alexander and shared the fate of Lycia during the wars of his successors and under the Romans. In B.C. 43 the city resisted Brutus, and few sur vived. It suffered severely by an earthquake in the reign of Tiberius. The site is now occupied only by a few wretched huts. The ancient ruins were first fully described by Sir Charles Fellows (q.v.), and later English excavations resulted in the transfer of an interesting series of sculptures to the British .11.1seuni. One is the Harpy Tomb, so called from figures which were once interpreted as the Harpies with the daughters of Pandarus. It is now recognized that they represent the carry ing away of souls to the other world. The other reliefs seem to represent offerings either to the heroized dead or to the powers of the lower world. The sculptures, evidently Greek in origin, are good examples of Ionian art of the sixth century B.C. The other striking monument belongs to a later date. it was a tomb in the form of a lofty

pedestal, on which was a cello, surrounded by an Ionic colonnade, with four columns in front and six on the sides. .Around the base ran two friezes, another decorated the cella. and a fourth was carved on the architrave of the peristyle. The pediments also contained sculptures, and in the mtercolumniations stood the statues of so called Nereids, which have given the monument its name. The friezes represent battles, the storm ing of a city. sports, and banquets. it has been supposed that the monument was the tomb of Pericles and that the sculptures refer to his wars and especially the capture of Telmessus. As to the probable date, there is 11111(.11 difference of opinion. It was formerly commonly held that the art belonged to the early part of the fourth cen tury me., but recent opinion inclines to a date not many years after n.c. 125. The other sculptures in London as well as the remains in situ are chiefly connected with tombs: but there is a fair ly well-preserved theatre, now much overgrown, remains of the Boman gate, and Acropolis walls of various dates. Of importance for the Lycian is the inseriplion on the 'Ilarpagus stele,' sometimes called the column(' Xonlhiacq, which seems to relate to the exploits of a ruler in the fifth century B.C. A Greek epigram seems to indicate that he regarded his victories as in some way revenging the Persian defeat at the Eurymedon. See LYCIA.