Before we explore some of the fantastic Lycian sites in our area, let’s set the scene with a bit of background..
Lycia was first mentioned in ancient Egyptian records which noted that ‘the Lycians were allies of the Hittites’. Lycia, known as ‘Luqqa’ in those days is mentioned in the archives of the Assuwa league as early as 1250 BC.
Lycia was frequently mentioned by Homer as an ally of Troy. Herodotus wrote this description of a Lycian naval crew in 480 BC:
“They wore greaves (shin protectors) and corselets (body armour); they carried bows of cornel wood, cane arrows without feathers, and javelins. They had goatskin slung around their shoulders, and hats stuck round with feathers. They also carried daggers and rip-hooks.”
Lycia came under the control of the Persian Empire in 546 BC. Harpagos, the Persian general who conquered Anatolian, including Lycia, and his descendants, went to rule until 486 BC when Athens took over the region. The Persians snatched it back in 412 and hung on to Lycia until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 334 – 333 BC.
After Alexander’s death Lycia was ruled by one of his generals, Antigonus, who was followed by another military leader until, by 240 BC, Lycia was part of the Ptolemaic kingdom based in Egypt. Then as part of a peace treaty following a war, Lycia was awarded to Rhodes in 188 BC only to be granted independence b y Rome in 168 BC, twenty years later. Finally in 43 AD it became a Roman province.
As most readers will know, today the most famous feature of Lycia still visible are its ubiquitous rock tombs. The ones in the photo are in Dalyan, and you’ll be seeing lots more examples before this series concludes.