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date: 27 January 2021


, a city of Lycia
  • Stephen Mitchell
  •  and Antony Spawforth


Xanthus was called the largest city in *Lycia by *Strabo (14. 3. 6, 666), a claim borne out by its extensive remains; prosperity was based on the fertile plain of the river Xanthus, with access to the sea at *Patara. The city was known to Homer, and *Herodotus(1) describes its capitulation to Persia in the famous siege of 545 bce (1. 176); in the 5th cent. it was ruled by a line of Persian client-dynasts (the self-styled ‘genos of Karika’). There are impressive and highly distinctive tombs of the 5th and early 4th cents., notably that of the dynast Gergis, with a trilingual (Greek and two types of Lycian) inscription detailing Xanthian involvement in the *Peloponnesian War (ML 93; c.410 bce), and the famous Nereid Monument (see art, funerary, greek (4)), thought to be the heroon of the dynast Arbinas (c.

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