nereid monument



"The Persians entered the plain of Xanthos under the command of Harpagos and did battle with the Xanthians. The Xanthians fought with small numbers against the superior Persian forces with legendry bravery. They resisted the endless Persian forces with great courage but were finally succumbed and forced to retreat within the walls of their city. They gathered their womenfolk, children, slaves and treasure into the fortress. This was then set on fire from below and around the walls, until all was destroyed by the conflagration. The warriors of Xanthos made their final attack on the Persians, their voices raised in their battle cries, until every last man from Xanthos was killed." tells us from the past centuries, Heredotus of Halicarnassus.

Illiad also mentioned about Sarpedon who had come from Xanthos, Lycians as ally of the Trojans. Xanthos fought against Greeks for centuries, but this magnificient city was burnt completely between 475 and 450 BC. 30 years later, Lycia united against Greek Melasandros, Athenian Satrap to resist the taxes imposed by him.

During a long period, Lycia and Xanthos were ruled by Persians. Alexander fought against Persians to release Lycia from Persian control. After his death, Xanthos had fallen to the hands of Antigonus, Roman. Ptolemy I claimed that Xanthos belonged to its lands and Xanthos had been under control of Egyptians.

Xanthos took its place in the history as the first city state that committed suicide instead of surrender to its enemy. During the Roman civil wars Xanthians were again destroyed dramatically by Roman Brutus. When Lycians resisted against him, Brutus besieged the city and slaughtered the inhabitants.

In the history of Xanthos, the year 1838 had also taken an important place, when it was surveyed by English Archaelogist Charles Fellows, when Ottoman Empire rulers and responsible did not know the importance and value of the artifacts standing in ancient city.

4 years later, many artifacts including the reliefs on Harpies Monument and the Nereid Monument itself had been transported in 70 wooden boxes to London with use of a warship anchored in Patara Bay.

Today, original parts are on show in British Museum, whereas the original Harpies monument is completed with fake plaster imitations. Nereid Monument lacks the complete upper structure, only basement stones remain.


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