Inspired by his research into the ancient and antique history of southern Turkey, local author Birol Ganioğlu has written the Soothsayer of Thelmessos trilogy of novels. Originally published in the Turkish language, Fethiye Times is pleased to announce that the first book of the series, Mother Syessa is now available to read in English.

Mother Syessa
Mother Syessa

Mother Syessa is a Historical and Mythological novel set in the Lycian Civilisation in the first century BCE.

The Turkish trilogy
The Turkish trilogy

Where was Lycia?

Lycia was a federation of independent cities in Anatolia (southern Turkey) in what are now the provinces of Antalya, Muğla and Burdur. The largest city in Lycia (meaning ‘The Land of Light’) was known as Telmessos, which is now the site of modern-day Fethiye. It is here in Telmessos that Birol Ganioğlu’s historical novel begins.

This is a time of disturbance for the Lycians. The recent assassination of Julius Caesar in the neighbouring Roman Empire has cast factions across the Mediterranean against one another. The Lycians can no longer rely on their peace and trade treaties to keep them safe. Some ready themselves for battle, while others prepare to flee for their safety.

Meanwhile, an enigmatic and prophetic figure, the Soothsayer of Thelmessos, looks down from his cave home, to the people in the city below, and tells tales of gods and goddesses, men and women.

As the story unfolds, we are taken on an epic journey across ancient Lycia; visiting people and places where now only monuments and ruins remain.

About the author

Mother Syessa: a novel take on Anatolian historyNow living in Üzümlü near Fethiye (and close to the ruined Lycian settlement of Cadianda/Kadyanda), Birol Ganioğlu once ran a local travel agency business. He is a passionate expert on this region’s history. He was inspired to write a guidebook especially for the tour guides in the Lycian area, but after realising his potential audience might only number around 500 tour guides, the idea morphed into a historical novel which not only lends vast knowledge about the history of this part of Turkey, but also leads the reader on a journey of adventure and mystery.

Mother Syessa is the first book in the Soothsayer of Thelmessos trilogy.The second instalment, Apollonides is currently being translated into English for publication next year, and the third book of the series Nicholas (a tale of the Anatolian origins of Saint Nicholas – better known as Father Christmas) will be translated thereafter.

How to pick up your copy

Birol Ganioğlu will be selling signed copies of all his books at the Cadianda Restaurant in Üzümlü, as part of the Animal Care Üzümlü Christmas Fair on Saturday 10th December, and also at the 3C’s Çalış Christmas Fair (Çalış beach promenade) on Sunday 11th December.

Birol at a book signing in Fethiye
Birol at a book signing in Fethiye

The book will shortly be available to buy from the Keçi Kitabevi bookshop, and the office of FETAV (Fethiye Tourism Promotion Education Culture and Environment Foundation) – both in central Fethiye. 

From The Soothsayer of Thelmessos: Mother Syessa, by Birol Ganioğlu

Soon after I came to this cave the people of the city below became aware of my existence. I don’t know what they were expecting but they started coming to the cave one by one and watch me with curiosity. At first they were just waiting and watching from far away but then when they began to feel comfortable enough they would come to the entrance and call me. The people of Thelmessos which, in my opinion, was the most mysterious city of Lycia now considered me the mysterious one.

For more information visit Birol Ganioğlu’s Mother Syessa Facebook page by clicking here.

Cadianda theatre
Cadianda theatre

Anthony Gerard Cooke is an actor from the UK, working under the stage name Gerard Cooke. Living in Fethiye since 2014, he founded ‘Mediterranean Theatre’ with the aim of producing professional theatre in South Turkey.