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Parerga to the Stadiasmus Patarensis (17): A Correction to the Course of the Road between Xanthos and Neisa

Fatih Onur


The distance between Xanthos and Neisa in the Stadiasmus Patarensis (SP) is given as 176 stadia (ca. 32-33 km). As the results of our field surveys in 2009-2010, it is accepted that this road led through İslamlar and the Alacaışık Pass directly below Köybaşı Hill. But such a route with a length of 39-40 km is much longer than that which the SP provides. Sencer Şahin, who accepted this route as the course of the road from Xanthos to Neisa in the SP, claimed that Köybaşı, of which both eastern (Bezirgan) and western parts (İslamlar) belonged to Patara, remained within the territory of Xanthos. Therefore, it was obvious that both the difference in distances and the territorial borders around Köybaşı present some problems. The only solution to these problems was a much shorter mountain route. In our recent field observations, we found a convenient road, which led to Neisa via the shortest possible course, over Mount Dumanlı. This road reached Neisa from Xanthos through Çavdır, İtkeseri, Armutçukuru, Duman Spring, Duman Pass and the north of Lengüme. The length of this route is ca. 33 km, which conforms with the distance recorded on the SP. In consequence therefore, as the road recorded on the SP was not through İslamlar and Alacaışık Pass by Köybaşı, there remained no reason to assume that Köybaşı was within the territory of Xanthos. On the contrary, accepting Köybaşı as being within the territory of Patara removes territorial problems in the related regions. A further problem concerning this issue is the milestone found at the southwestern point of Lengüme, from where the road leads to the Alacaışık Pass by Köybaşı. On this milestone a distance of 16 MP (ca. 24 km) is given from a “metropolis”, which was accepted as Xanthos. But, since it is established that the road between Xanthos and Neisa took a mountain course passing through the norther point of Lengüme, the destination on the milestone would not have been Xanthos, but rather Patara, being the only option from the southwestern end of Lengüme. This distance of 16 MP (ca. 24 km) also conforms with the distance to Patara. The last question concerns the territorial affiliation of the land of today’s Lengüme. Unfortunately, there is no direct evidence to affiliate it with any of the three possible options: Xanthos, Patara and Neisa.  But because there is no road given between Patara and Neisa on the SP, this might have been because the territory of Xanthos lay in between, and, if this were the case, the Lengüme Plain might well have belonged to Xanthos in antiquity. However, such a road might have been omitted from the SP as well, like the absence of record on the SP of a road between Pinara and Sidyma, even though they were closer neighbours.


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