Saturday, May 26, 2012


Lâtife Summerer, Askold Ivantchik, Alexander von Kienlin (ed.), Kelainai-Apameia Kibotos: développement urbain dans le contexte anatolien. Actes du colloque international, Munich, 2-4 avril 2009 / Stadtentwicklung im anatolischen Kontext. Akten des internationalen Kolloquiums, München, 2.-4. April 2009. Kelainai, 1. Bordeaux: Ausonius, 2011. Pp. 410. ISBN 9782356130433. €35.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Andreas Klingenberg, Universität zu Köln (

Version at BMCR home site


Kelainai was an important city in ancient Asia Minor, which served as residence to the satrap of Greater Phrygia. The myth of Marsyas and his skinning after he had challenged Apollo is situated at Kelainai. It was here that Cyrus the Younger mustered his army and started his expedition against his brother Artaxerxes II, widely known from Xenophon's account. In the Hellenistic period, the city was refounded by Antiochos I Soter who named it Apameia, after his mother Apama. In 188 BC the peace treaty between Rome and the Seleucid Empire after the battle of Magnesia was signed in Apameia that is thus known as the 'Treaty of Apameia'. Considering the role Kelainai/Apameia played in myth and history, it is astonishing that before 2008 no major archaeological field work had been done in this area apart from trial excavations in the 1980s in the modern city of Dinar, which is built over the ancient site.1 This changed when the research project 'Kelainai – Apameia Kibotos', a German-French cooperation under the direction of the Museum of Afyonkarahisar, began at Dinar. The book under review here collects the proceedings of a conference held in Munich in April 2009 and is the first volume of a new series in which the results of the continuing research are to be published, as the editors state in their short but concise introduction. 2

In the first section of the volume, Kelainai and its surroundings are described from a historical perspective, starting with Astrid Nunn's paper on the history of the area prior to the Achaemenid conquest (p. 17-32). She demonstrates that the area was probably settled from the seventh millennium BC. L. Summerer collects the literary and material evidence for the Persian military presence at Kelainai (p. 33-54). Her main interest centers on the painted wood panels from a grave found in Tatarlı near Kelainai that shows fighting scenes as well as the depiction of a convoy.3 In her opinion, the latter is not to be interpreted as a military convoy but rather as a funerary procession. This point is taken up by Catherine M. Draycott who more convincingly argues for a military convoy as the likeliest interpretation (p. 55-61), based on the depiction of fighting people on the other paintings from the grave. Lada Sementchenko attempts to locate the sources of the rivers Marsyas and Maeander (p. 63-70). The rivers are also covered by Christopher Tuplin (p. 71-92) who analyzes Xenophon's description of the city and its buildings (Anab. 1,2,7-9). Next, Nicole Zwingmann in an interesting article examines Kelainai/Apameia as a memorial landscape (p. 93-116). She investigates in particular the legend of Noah who, according to one tradition, landed at Kelainai. Scenes from the Noah story are depicted on imperial coins, which demonstrates the importance of this tradition in Kelainai (Apameia's rather enigmatic epithet 'Kibotos' (ark), first referred to by Strabo (12,6,4), was in antiquity sometimes explained in this way). In the following paper Claire Barat describes how travel accounts from the 18th and 19th centuries lead to the rediscovery of the ancient site.

The second and main part of the volume is dedicated to reports of the field research and the treatment of archaeological finds. Askold Ivantchik, Andrei Belinskiy and Alexei Dovgalev summarize the results of their geoprospection in the territory of Kelainai and explain technical issues concerning the geographic information system (GIS) used (p. 137-177). Likewise, Frédéric Maffre, assisted by Claire Barat, covers prospections in Dinar where some archaeological remains from antiquity (and later times) are still visible (p. 179-203). A preliminary account of the ancient city's topography and architecture is given by Alexander von Kienlin (p. 205-219). Though the identification of the ancient remnants in Dinar with Kelainai is beyond dispute, the location of many buildings known from literary sources remains unclear. Further research, especially excavation, is likely to change that situation. In any case, geophysical investigations in and around Dinar using magnetic and electromagnetic prospection methods as well as electric resistivity measurements revealed built structures underground. These investigations are described by Vivien Mathé, Marion Druez and Rémy Chapoulie (p. 221-228) and by Krzysztof Misiewicz (p. 229-247). The ceramic finds are then discussed by Pierre Dupont and Vasilica Lungu (p. 249-275). The rich material ranging from the Bronze Age onward through the Ottoman period allows some insight into the everyday life and the significance of Kelainai through the ages.

About 145 inscriptions from Kelainai have already been published, though in scattered editions, to which several dozen new texts can be added that were found in the recent archaeological campaigns. Some preliminary conclusions based mainly on the published texts are drawn by Alain Bresson (p. 295-308). A corpus of all the inscriptions seems to be in preparation and is eagerly awaited, especially for the unpublished texts. Meanwhile, two examples are treated in this volume. Thomas Drew-Bear and Jean-Marie Fillon present an honorary inscription for a gymnasiarch, one of the few Hellenistic examples (p. 277-280). Drew-Bear and Fillon with Askold Ivantchik comment on an honorary text for Proclus Manneius Ruso, of which three copies are already known from Kelainai/Apameia (p. 281- 293). In 1991, road workers found a coin treasure. According to Melih Arslan and Ülkü Devecioğlu (p. 309-315) the treasure consists of 5946 late Hellenistic coins all bearing the name of the same magistrate, Antiphon, son of Menekleos, which were never in circulation.

The last section of the volume collects contributions treating wider themes and also other places in neighboring regions, thus putting Kelainai/Apameia in the context of western Anatolia with special regard to the Achaemenid period. Margaret Miller deals with the 'archaeology of empire' (p. 319-344) discussing which evidence might be characteristic for the presence of Persians. In the next paper Francesco d'Andria (p. 345-358) explains the methods used for the reconstruction of the topography of Hierapolis in Phrygia and its territory. Jacques des Courtils contests the assumption that there have been major political, let alone cultural, changes in Xanthos due to the Persian conquest. Furthermore, in his opinion the Xanthian palatial system dates back to pre-Persian times (but could one not consider the blossoming of Xanthos in the Achaemenid period a significant change due to the altered political circumstances?) Anne Marie Carstens asks whether the concept of 'polis' is really helpful when dealing with Caria in the Archaic and in the Classical age. Few Carian sites were hellenized enough to be called poleis. Carstens takes a closer look at the palatial structures and enquires if there are any architectural and functional relations between Carian and Persian palaces. She is somewhat reluctant to offer a conclusion on that point. The question is taken up by Winfried Held who argues in the case of Labraunda4 that the mixed architectural orders reflect the double legitimation of the Hecatomnids as Carian dynasts and as Persian satraps. In the last paper (p. 391-410) Florian Knauß addresses the architecture of the satrapal residences that are commonly assumed to follow the forms of the royal palaces, as is indicated by Xenophon (Cyr. 8,6,10-14). For Anatolia no conclusion for this question possible, as none of the residences has been excavated yet. However, there is some evidence from the Caucasus region, that is from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, yielding the preliminary conclusion that the assumption is true for the satrapal residences built after the Persian conquest.

Regrettably, there are no indexes whatsoever, which would have been very useful for the reader. Some concluding remarks might have been helpful as well. But these are minor quibbles that do not affect the positive impression left by the instructive and finely produced volume which serves as a good starting point for further research. It will be interesting to see what results from the ongoing field work at Kelainai further volumes in the series have to offer.


1.   See A. Topbaş, "Dinar Tiyatro Kazısı", Müze Kurtarma Kazıları Sonuçları 1 (1991), 309-328.
2.   A second conference was held at Bordeaux in October 2010 (the conference program is is found here), the proceedings of which are probably going to be published as the second volume of the series.
3.   Cf. Lâtife Summerer, Alexander von Kienlin (ed.), Tatarlı: renklerin dönüşü / The return of colours / Rückkehr der Farben. Istanbul, 2010 (BMCR 2012.02.24).
4.   Cf. Lars Karlsson, Susanne Carlsson (ed.), Labraunda and Karia. Proceedings of the international symposium commemorating sixty years of Swedish archaeological work in Labraunda. The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm, November 20-21, 2008. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Boreas, 32. Uppsala, 2011 (BMCR 2011.11.41).

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