called DIDYMI, or BRANCHIDAE, ancient sanctuary and seat of
an oracle of Apollo, located south of Miletus in modern
Turkey. Before being plundered and burned by the Persians (c. 494 BC),
the sanctuary was in the charge of the Branchids, a priestly caste named
after Branchus, a favorite youth of Apollo. After Alexander the Great
conquered Miletus (334), the oracle was re sanctified; the city administered
the cult, annually electing a prophet. About 300 BC the Milesians began
to build a new temple, intended to be the largest in the Greek world.
The annual festival held there, the Didymeia, became Panhellenic in the
beginning of the 2nd century BC. Excavations made between 1905 and 1930
revealed all of the uncompleted new temple and some carved pieces of the
earlier temple and statues.
Made a township in 1991, Didyma is a peninsula surrounded
by the provincial limits of Mugla and the Akbük cove in the east, the Aegean Sea in the
south and west and the lake Bafa and the river Meander in the north. It is located 106 km
from Aydin, 53 km from Söke, 73 km from Kusadasi, and 110 km from Bodrum. The number of
its inhabitants is 10.400 according to the census of 1990, and its area 300 km2.
Didyma possesses a bed capacity of 15.000 in 200 facilities
either certified by the Ministry or by the Municipality. There are a lot of invaluable
historical sites, ruins, ancient cities and recreational facilities by the seaside in and
around Didyma which make the region a world-known tourism center. This shows that Didyma
is a town of history, legends and nature with the Dilek peninsula on one side and the
Meander delta and the Dilek peninsula on one side and the Meander delta and the take Bafa
on the take Bafa on the other. Having a coastal line of 60 km Didyma further has hundreds
Didyma is an ideal holiday resort for those who like
aquatics. fishing, trekking, youth and student tourism, hunting, healthcare, historical
works, sea sun and nature. The colors created by the setting by the setting sun over the
sea at Altinkum are not those that can be seen elsewhere. You can enjoy with much
satisfaction that moment with a goblet of drink at any restaurant by the seaside.
Altinkum, Didyma is an excellent resort for those who would
seek for the sea, sun and sand. You can have a sun bath on on golden sandy beaches,
participate in aquatics in the coves where any kinds of such sports can be performed. When
the sun start to set. Altinkum gains a nerdish color. Later than that hour, you can have
dinner at hundreds of restaurants that serve the Turkish and various other cuisines from
all over the world. And Altinkum, which looks small and quiet awakens in the evening. As
the time goes by, you can see that people start dancing and chatting at the bars. If you
are unable to slow down in the later hours of the night, you can dance in one of the
discos which will entertain you until the morning. That is not all. You can also ride a
bicycle to see the bars. If you are unable to slow down in the later hours of the night.
You can dance in one of the discos which will entertain you until the morning. That is not
al you can also ride a bicycle to see the coves and historical sites around the place.
Besides the sea and sun on one side and the endless golden beaches on the other.
historical and artistic wonders in everywhere.
The Apollo temple of Didyma (the
Didymaion), located within the boundaries of the village of Yeni Hisar in the Söke
district of the province of Aydın, was known as a sanctuary and seat of an oracle
attached to Miletus. Recent excavations revealed remains which showed that Didyma was not
only a seat of an oracle but also the site of dense settlement.
The research concerning the origins of the names of Didyma
and Didymaion has been a subject of discussion going on for years. Along with several
other myths, it was thought that the name Didymaion which meant "twin
temples" or "temple of the twins",
was related to Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo. However, as no definite evidence could
be found, this theory also remained as a myth. With the intensification of work in recent
years on the "Sacred Road" connecting Miletus and
Didyma, and the finding of the place of the Artemis cult during the excavations however,
it was proved that this thesis was riğht. The two temples built for the twin brother and
sister, the Artemision and the Didymaion, constitute the origin of the name Didyma.
Apollo and Artemis were closely related to the mother
goddess Cybele who had, from prehistoric times, a very important place in Anatolia. The
mother goddess Cybele had various names (such as Kubaba, Isis, Hepat, Lat) and epithets
according to localities and cultures. The most widespread of these names was Dindymene
which was derived from mount Dindymus and which is remarkable for its resemblance to the
The name of Apollo is considered not to be Greek. Apollo,
who, because of the resemblance in names was identified with the god Apulunas mentioned in
Hittite written sources, represented shape given by rational perception, temperate power,
fine arts and light. Besides these, he was renowned for his ability to prophesy, and he
communicated to people through mediums and oracles his knowledge of the future.
The dependence of communities on religion increased as it
was seen that gods possessed forces to direct according to their will, all phenonema and
events relating to nature and society. As a natural consequence of the increase in
religion, belief in the power to prophesy of the gods who could foresee events and
phenomena was intensified.
In the Archaic period the oracle of Apollo had great fame.
The great number of temples erected in Anatolia as seats of oracles is evidence that
belief in gods had reached enormous proportions. The most important of the temples
dedicated to Apollo were the Temple of Apollo at Delphi in Greece, and the Didymaion in
Anatolia. These to seats were in constant rivalry with each other. A fine example of this
rivalry can be clearly seen in the following verses by the oracle of Delphi.
In the mid 7th century BC, in the oracles of Apollo, the
god could be consulted once a year for official matters, and the answers received to
questions directed would be in the form of "yes or "no". When in later
years, consulting the god also for private matters became a tradition, these consultations
became gradually more frequent. The oracles of Apollo grew very rich as a result of this,
and their fame and influence spread over large areas. They became as powerful as the state
they were in and were effective in shaping the destinies of persons and communities, and
particularly in politics where they played a very important role, they very often caused
wrong decisions to be taken.
Pausanias states that the Apollo temple at Didyma had been
built before the Greek colonization (10th century BC). It is believed in the light of this
that the existence of Didyma, like that of Miletus and Priene goes back to the 2nd
millennium BC. However according to the results of excavations and research work
undertaken up to the present day, the earliest temple remains date back to the end of the
8th century BC.
One learns from Herodotus that valuable votive offerings
were presented to the temple by King Necho of Egypt at the end of the 7th century BC, and
King Croesus of Lydia in the 6th century BC.
It is believed that the construction of the Archaic temple
was begun in the mid 6th century BC and was completed at the end of the same century. In
the 6th century BC, the Didymaion was administered by a priestly caste named Branchids.
During this period which lasted about 100 years, the temple flourished and went through
its most brilliant era.
It was completely burned and plundered by the Persians
during the battle of Lade, the priests of the temple were driven to Susa, and the cult
statue of Apollo was taken to Ecbatana. The statue of Apollo which was dated back to 500
BC, was made by the sculptor Kanachus of Sicyon and reflects Anatolian - Hittite
The construction of the Hellenistic temple was begun after
the victory of Alexander the Great over the Persians. However, it was understood from the
remains that this Hellenistic temple was not completed.
The temple of which the construction was continued under
Emperor Caligula (37 - 41 AD) who wanted to be though of as the god of the temple, and
later under Hadrian (117 - 138 AD), was never completed. With the alterations made in the
3rd century AD to protect it from plunder, the temple took on the appearance of a
fortress, and flourished under the reigns of Aurelian (270 - 275) and Diocletian (284 -
There are findings which indicate that work was done on the
temple during the reign of Emperor Julian (361 - 363).
In the beginning of the 5th century AD, Emperor Theodosius
had a church built in the sacred courtyard (Adyton - Sekos). This church, which had the
appearance of a three - winged basilica, was destroyed in an earthquake and later rebuilt
with one wing (9th century AD).
In the 10th century AD, the two - columned hall
(Chresmographeion - hall of the oracle) and the pronaos, which were used as storage areas,
were greatly damaged in a fire, and most of the marble turned into lime.
After the Seljuks and the Mongols conquered the region the
temple was completely abandoned.
An Italian traveler who visited Didyma in 1446 records that
the whole temple was standing, however at the end of the 15th century the temple was
completely destroyed by an earthquake and turned into a heap of marble. In later years the
temple was used as a quarry, and many of its architectural elements were used as building
material in the construction of dwellings and other buildings by the local people.
THE SACRED ROAD
The Delphinion is accepted as the starting point of the
Sacred Road connecting Miletus and Didyma. The road ran from the Sacret Gate of Miletus
southwards in the direction of the coast to Panarmos Harbour (above Akköy), and - bending
south - east from the port, reached the Didymaion. Within the boundaries of Yenihisar, the
Sacred Road runs close along the side of the asphalt road. A portion of the Sacred Road
has been revealed by excavations and exploratory trenches dug in recent years. However,
due to certain bureaucratic obstacles, it has not yet been possible to establish its
connection to the temple.
On either side of the road there were statues of Branchids
(priests and priestesses attached to the temple), crouching lions and sphinxes, all of
which gave the road an impressive appearance. Monumental tombs and sarcophagi belonging to
important persons were also dispersed along the road. Statues of Branchids revealed in the
excavations carried out by Newton in 1858 on the Sacred Road have been taken to the
British Museum. Some fragments belonging to the statues are in the storeroom of the house
of excavations in Didyma. Four of the Branchid statues in which Hittite influence is
apparent and which have been dated back to the 6th century BC, are on display in the
museum in Miletus. In the years 100 and 101 AD Emperor Trajan had the Sacred Road
restored. The parts of the road that had fallen down were raised to a higher level and the
other parts were repaired. Inscriptions indicate that the restoration work was completed
in a very short time.
It was understood from a milestone revealed during
excavations that the road was 16.5 kilometers long. According to the portions uncovered,
the width of the road which was made of stone blocks, changed between 5 and 7 meters. On
both sides of it were rows of shops, votive fountains, monumental tombs, baths, and the
area for the cult of Artemis. Findings indicate a dense settlement. The group of people
who set out from Miletus to join the annual celebrations and festivities which were held
in the Didymaion every spring, reached the temple after a long walk, there were therefore,
resting places on the Sacred Road. It is understood that the Terrace with the Sphinx,
uncovered during excavations carried out in 1985 about 4 kilometers to the south of
Akköy, was a halting place built for rest purposes.
THE ARCHAIC DIDYMAION (The Apollo
Temple at Didyma)
Remains of foundations of the Late Geometric period were
found during excavations carried out in 1962 by German archaeologists within the secos of
the Hellenistic temple to look for the first Apollo temple of Didyma which, according to
Pausanias, had existed before the 10th century BC. The temple which, according to the
foundations of secos walls uncovered in the north and south parts, was 10.20 meters wide
and 24 meters long and slightly narrowed towards the east, was built at the end of the 8th
century BC. The small and simple temple contained a secos (sacred courtyard), an altar, a
sacred source, a cult statue and the symbols of Apollo. The Late Geometric temple did not
have a naiscos, the naiscos is understood to have been built at the end of the 7th century
BC to protect the cult statue. Exploratory digging carried out to the south - west of the
temple revealed the remains of a columned building 15.50 meters long and 3.60 meters wide.
The remnants and ceramic findings have been dated back to the end of the 7th century BC.
Not many remains are left to the present day from the
Archaic Didymaion, as it was burned, destroyed and plundered in 494 BC (the battle of
Lade). Besides, findings relating to the Archaic temple are further limited by the fact
that the Hellenistic temple was built over the foundations of the Archaic one. However,
the construction of the plan was possible and various examples of reconstruction were made
through ancient authors, as well as architectural and sculptural fragments found during
borings and excavations.
The Didymaion became really important in the first of the
6th century BC when all Ionian cities, and especially Miletus, reached their most
flourishing era. The temple was rebuilt in 560 - 550 BC with larger proportions. The
influence of the temples of Hera at Samos and Artemis at Ephesus are apparent in the
The temple, an 87.65 meter long and 40.89 meter wide
building of a dipteral plan (having a double row of columns all around), rested on a two -
stepped crepes. The longer sides had 21 columns each, the east had 8, and the west 9,
whereas in the pronaos there were 8 columns in two rows. Together with the columns within
the peristasis (the surrounding hall), the total number of columns added up to 112.
The parts of the temple which were not visible
from the outside were made of local tufa, while those that were visible
were made of marble. The marble was provided from marble quarries on the
island of Toşoz, and in the hills above the village of Pinarcik near Bafa
lake. One can still see fragments of roughly prepared column shafts in
the quarries at Pinarcik. The party worked marble, brought from the quarry
to Latmos Harbour, was then taken by sea to Panarmos Harbor, and from
there it was carried to the temple
The bases and capitals of the 15.45 meter high columns bear
the characteristics of the Artemis Temple at Ephesus; the bases consists of tori and
double trochili, the Ionic capitals have large volutes, the column shafts have 36 flutes.
On the eastern facade, the lower parts of the columns in the front row were decorated with
reliefs; a head of a woman (Kore) from these relief is on display in the Charlottenburg
Museum in Berlin. The characteristics of all these elements indicate that they were at the
latest made in the year 550 BC, which coincides with the date of the initial construction
of the Archaic Didymaion.
The double row of columns in the pronaos indicate that it
had a roof. The architrave is quite narrow. In the corners are high reliefs of winged
gorgons and behind these are figures of crouching lions. It is believed that certain wild
animals' figures were also there besides the lions. This type of decorations is quite
unusual in temple entablature. These pieces of work which can be dated back to the end of
the 6th century BC, were probably made during restoration works which took place in the
temple at the time. On the architrave rest, in due order, a band of egg - and - dart
molding, dentils, another band of egg - and - dart moulding, a cornice and a roof.
The inner sides of the walls of the secos (sacred
courtyard) were fortified by pilasters in the form of half - columns, which brought colour
to the long, high walls. The height of the walls of the 50.25 meter long and 17.45 meter
wide secos reached 17.5 meters. Walls of this height give the imprecision that the secos
was was roofed, but the greatness of the distances between the pilasters on the walls
destroys this theory.
Within the secos stood the naiscos (little temple) where
the cult statue of Apollo was kept. However, there are not many findings belonging to this
buildings. During borings in the Hellenistic naiscos, foundation remains belonging to a
smaller building were found. It is believed that these foundations belong to the Archaic
naiscos. The bronze cult statue is known as the "Apollo Philesius" and
represents Apollo catching a deer.
In front of the temple (east) and on the same axis stands a
circular altar. This altar, of which the other diameter measures 8 meters and the inner
one 5.5 meters, had two doors. The holes for the hinges can still be seen on the
thresholds. The altar of which the inside is very well preserved, had been used in the
Archaic, and also in the Hellenistic and Roman temples as the sacred place where the
animals presented as votive offerings were burned. The great amount of ashes found in the
building during excavations is evidence of this. In ancient times, animals offered to the
gods of the sky were burned in this type of altar, and sanctification was achieved by
washing in the blood of the animals offered to the gods under the ground. To the north of
the altar is the sacred source. The masonry of the lower parts of this circular well shows
that it was constructed in the Archaic period.
3.5 meter high protective walls encircle the front part of
the temple. These walls must have been built to diminish the difference of levels in the
large area in front of the temple. In the uncovered portion of these protective walls were
five outlets with staircases, each 2.5 meters wide. The central stairs are situated just
opposite the altar, on the same axis. These stairs led to the terrace on which stood the
votive and gods' statues. The style of the egg - and - dart molding used to decorate the
upper part of the terrace wall as well as the workmanship of the wall and stairs, bear the
characteristics of the Archaic period.
On this terrace one also comes across the remains of two
long structures built of limestone. The 34.5 meter long and 7 meter wide buildings must
have been shops where visitors took shelter or shopped. These buildings also show the
characteristics of the Archaic period.
Next to the stairs along the terrace wall situate in the
direction of the south - east end of the temple are rows of benches. It is understood that
these benches extending parallel to the steps of the temple were built in the Hellenistic
period, and were the rows of benches for the stadium situated to the south of the temple,
Every four years festivities called the "Megala Didymeia" and musical shows,
were held here, and torch processions and competitions were arranged. The bases having a
hole in the center, which marked the starting points of the races, can be seen at the
eastern end of the stadium. These bases lie on the same axis as the altar.
THE HELLENISTIC DIDYMAION
What remains of the temple in the present day, through
hundreds of years of earth - quakes, fire, destruction and plunder are mostly remnants of
the Hellenistic period. The Roman characteristics witnessed in certain parts of the
temple, are elements which have reached the present day from the temple, which continued
to be built during the Roman period also.
It is known that the construction of the Hellenistic temple
was begun in 313 BC, and that it was erected over the Archaic temple which was burned and
destroyed in 494 BC. The donations of Alexander the Great and King Seleucus I of Syria
were of great help in the rebuilding of the Didymaion. Furthermore, Seleucus I had the
cult statue of Apollo brought back from Ecbatana (300 BC) and replaced in the temple.
The plan of the temple was made by Paionius of Ephesus and
Daphnis of Miletus. These two renowned architects had also worked on the Artemision at
Ephesus (one of the seven wonders of the world) and the Heraion at Samos, which were
considered to be the largest and the most magnificent temples of the Hellenistic period.
The Didymaion emerges as the third largest edifice of the Hellenistic period, following
The plan, as a requisition of the cult, had to provide an
open air space to hold the Sacred Fountain, the Altar, the Laurel Grove, considered to be
the sacred tree of Apollo, and it had also to shelter the cult statue. All these elements
had to be arranged in a way not to disturb the covered spaces. The architects constructed
on ostentatious example of architecture, by the perfect use of the local characteristics
of the cult of the oracle and of the spaces of different levels. This temple differed from
a normal temple plan in that it was also the seat of an oracle. Teh edifice consisted of a
long pronaos, a rectangular hall with two columns in the centre (the oracle
hall-Cresmographeion), a sacred courtyard surrounded by high walls (Secos-Adyton), and in
this courtyard a small temple sheltering the cult statue of Apollo (the naiscos), all set
on the same axis but at different floor levels.
The temples, situated over the Archaic one and of Larger
proportions, had necessitated an ucommonly high lower structure. The temple rested on a
3.5 meter high and 7 - stepped platform (crepis), and had in the center of the front
facade a 14 - stepped stairway of which both sides were limited. The width of these stairs
was equal to that of the temple. This characteristic is also visible in the Classical
Artemision. The temple, 109.34 meters long and 51.13 meters wide, was built on a dipteral
(having a double row of columns all around) plan. It had 21 columns each on its longer
sides, and 10 each on the shorter ones. Together with the columns within the peristasis
and the ones in the pronaos and cresmographeion, the total number of columns added up to
122. The cost of the columns of which only three stand today, was very high. Excavations
have revealed a great number of inscriptions showing the calculation of construction costs
prepared during the building of the temple. It is understood from these documents that the
cost of one column was 40,000 drachmae and that the daily wages of a labourer was only 2
drachmea. This means that one laborer would have to work for 20,000 workdays to put a
column in its place, or to adapt it to the present day, by assuming that the minimum daily
wage of a stone workman be 10,000 TL, the construction cost of a column could be
calculated to amount to 200 million TL. It is also known, from these inscriptions that,
from 250 BC onwards, 8 architects and 20 construction companies worked for the temple.
Such a large and costly building could certainly not have
been finished in a short time. It is understood that the construction went on in the 3rd
and 2nd centuries BC, and that some of it was completed during the Roman period. Although
a great portion of the columns were prepared and set in their places, it can be seen that
those in the outer row of the peristasis and especially those in the rear facade were
The height of the columns was first determined in 1873 by
A. Thomas as being 19.71 meters. The accuracy of the measurement was evidenced by recent
research work also. The lower diameters of the columns vary between 1.96 and 2 meters.
This conforms to the rule that, in the Ionic order lower diameters of columns are equal to
1/10th of their height.
A von Gerkan has calculated the total height of the temple,
including the 19.71 meter high columns, the stepped lower structure and the entablature,
as 29.40 meters. This measurement gives an idea of the magnificence of the temple before
it was destroyed.
The double row of columns round the temple gave the
building a very impressive appearance as well as depth. Of the 108 columns in the
peristasis (the peripheral hall) about 80 are standing in their original places. The
letters seen in the upper and lower parts of the fragments of column shafts were written
by the workmen to avoid any mistakes during the placing of the columns in their places.
This is also an indication that the columns had entasis (a swelling of column shafts).
Of the three Hellenistic columns still standing, the
workmanship of two are complete and they carry the entablature. The third column which
carries a capital has no fluting in its shaft. According to the characteristics of the
capitals, the columns were built in the first half of the 2nd century BC.
The bases of the columns in the peristalsis display
different characteristics; whereas some consist of plinthus, torus and double trochilus,
the column bases in the central part of the other row in the front facade show Early Roman
characteristics. One of these bases is divided in to 12 rectangular panels decorated with
motifs of sea creatures, palmettoes and other plants. On another base there are double
meander and palmento motifs. These bases were built between the years 37 and 41 BC by
Emperor Caligula who wanted to identify himself with Apollo.
The capitals situated at the outer corners of the
peristasis and ornamented with busts of gods and bulls' heads as well as the heads of
Gorgons on the architrave, show the baroque characteristics of the 2nd century AD.
The columns on the north side of the temple, of which the
workmanship is complete, are all standing in their places, whereas those on the west side
were set in their places, although their workmanship was incomplete, the latter now lie on
the ground, fallen in earthquakes. Most of the columns on the south side are missing, and
it is understood that they were never completed.
In the front of the temple, after the double row of
columns, was the pronaos. Also mentioned as the 12- columned hall in archaeological
literature, the pronaos had a total of 12 columns in three rows of four columns each,
which carried the roof (Dodecastylos). The marks left by the fire of the Middle Ages can
be seen on the Attic styl, scale motifs are carved on the upper parts of the antae walls
are profiled in the same form. This is the first time that this characteristic, of which
an example is in the Porthenon, is seen in a Ionic temple.
There were three doors in the rear wall of the pronaos. The
central door of monumental appearance was 5.63 meters wide and 14 meters high. The fact
that its threshold was placed 1.46 meters higher than the floor of the pronaos shows that
there was no entrance from here to the oracle hall. The prophecies of Apollo were
communicated by his pronouncers to the people through this door. It is therefore named the
"Oracle Door". The marble blocks on either side of the door weigh 70 tons each
are known as the heaviest elements of antiquity.
The two other doors, one on either side of the monumental
door, were each 1.20 meters wide and 2.25 meters high, and provided the entrance to the
inner part of the temple. These doors were connected to the sacred courtyard by vaulted
and sloping narrow corridors. In the lower parts of the corridors which opened onto the
Adytum were small divisions which had coffering in their ceilings. Doric elements seen on
the doors are characteristics which remind one of the propylaea of the Athenian Acropolis.
Only persons working in the temple and priests could enter the inner part of the temple.
These people would reach the Adytum through the dark and mystic corridors mentioned above.
To the east of the Adytum, between the doors at the end of
the corridors, was a 15.24 meter wide stairway consisting of 24 steps. These stairs led to
a 14.01 meter long, 8.74 meter wide and 20 meter high hall with three doors and two
columns. This hall which had no entrance from the pronaos was Cresmographeion (the hall of
the oracle) which together with the pronaos the first completed sections of the temple.
Only priests and mediums could enter this hall, and they communicated the prophecies to
the people through the above mentioned monumental door. Therefore, the Cresmographeion and
the pronaos, which constituted an entity, were considered the most important divisions of
the Didymaion. The two columns in the center of the oracle hall had Corinthian capitals
and carried the roof. Understood to have been built in the beginning of the 3rd century BC
on the evidence of their characteristics, these capitals are considered to be among the
earliest examples of Corinthian capitals.
The doors the north and south sides of the Cresmographeion
open onto stepped passages mentioned as Labyrinths in inscriptions. On the ceiling of the
better preserved southern corridor meander motifs can be seen. These passages played an
important role in acoustics during cult ceremonies accompanied by the chorus. The roof of
the temple was also reached by these passages.
The 21.71 meter wide and 53.63 meter long Adytum is of a
very striking appearance with its 25 meter high walls and its top open to the sky. The
lower part of the Adytum walls which are at the same level as the Cresmographeion have the
appearance of a high podium. Their base is profiled and the upper end is finished with a
row of egg - and - dart molding. The podium which is made of smooth marble blocks displays
a fine workmanship. In the central parts of the walls are pilasters in the form of half -
columns. Over the pilasters were pilaster capitals ornamented with motifs of griffins or
vaulted plants, on the frieze between the capitals were reliefs representing winged lions
holding Apollo's lyre between their paws, and on top of it all was the cornice ending in
the cymatium. All these elements brought color to the long and excessively high walls. The
decorations on the walls of the Adytum bear the characteristics of the Early Hellenistic
period. These elements indicate that the Adytum was built in the first half of the 2nd
century BC. It has also been proven by an inscription that the Adytum had been completed
at that time.
One of the most important findings of recent years in the
Didymaion are the drawings on the lower parts of the walls of the Adytum. These drawings
which can be seen with great difficulty and only under certain lighting condition, first
attracted attention in 1979 and work was begun on them in 1980. The work is being carried
out by Lother Haselberg who was the first to see the drawings. These were worked onto the
smooth marble walls of the Adytum by making about half a millimeter deep incisions in the
surface of the marble by a very thin and sharp point, and they represented the plants of
various elements and divisions of the Didymaion. In order to obtain accurate drawings, a
grid consisting of horizontal lines with 1.8 - 1.9 centimeter intervals cut at regular
intervals by perpendicular lines, was prepared beforehand to serve as a scale. This grid
facilitated the making of the actual drawings. It is understood that these drawings which
are extremely accurate, were done by the architects who worked on the construction of the
The plans cover an area of 200 square meters. Some of the
drawings were made horizontally, whereas others are perpendicular. In general, the
horizontal drawings are on a 1 to 1 scale, and the perpendicular ones on a 1 to 6 scale.
Besides the drawings of elements like column bases and
shafts, the drawing of o portion of the entablature of the niscos was also discovered on
the rear wall of the Adytum. These drawings, believed to involve all the parts of the
temple, will throw a light upon many an unsolved problem on the Didymaion, thus adding new
proportions to the work.
To the west of the Adytum stood the naiscos which sheltered
the cult statue. The temple, of which only the remains of the foundations can be seen
today was 14.43 meters long and 8.24 meters wide. The plan of the naiscos, reconstructed
from discovered fragments, was a pro-style. The temple was a small building with antae
obtained by the projection of the two side walls of the naos and four Ionic columns in
front. Column bases were of the Ephesus type. The Ionic capitals, antae capitals and
entablature ornaments, all show Early Hellenistic characteristics. Wall bases were
profiled in the Attic style like the Adytum walls. The edifice, which looked like the Zeus
temple at Priene, was the first Anatolian temple built in the Hellenistic period under
Attic influence. In contrast with the smooth, ornament less walls, the entablature was
very richly decorated. The coffering of the ceiling in the front hall and the soffits of
the lower part of the architrave, were decorated with flower motifs polychrome in various
colors. It is accepted, according to the ornamentation of the entablature, that the
naiscos was completed in 270 BC and that the cult statue of Apollo which was brought from
Ecbatana, was put in its place in the naos in 300 BC.
The reconstruction model of the naiscos, constructed by
putting together the discovered architectural fragments, is kept in the storeroom of the
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF
Besides being for centuries a very important oracle seat,
the Didymaion was also renowned for its sacred water, sacred grove, the many sacred
elements it housed, and its wealth. The riches of the temple had its source in donations
and votive offerings made in varying forms. The very valuable offerings of King Necho of
Egypt, King Croesus of Lydia and King Seleucus II of Pergamum, had an important place
among the donations made to the Didymaion. The donation of various sacrificial animals,
1,000 in number, and 12 rams by Lysimachus, was also one of the interesting offerings.
The fact that Miletus attempted to build a fleet with the
treasury of the temple before the battle of Lade, shows how rich the Didymaion was.
One other feature of the Didymaion was that it had the
right to shelter. This right which was termed "the Right of Asylum", was the
recognition of the right of inviolability to people who took refuge in the temple. The
right of asylum, which therefore created many problems, had given rise to many a
discussion. The boundaries of the right of asylum, however, were gradually enlarged and
were increased to 3 kilometers by Emperor Augustus Trajan enlarged the boundaries even
more and wanted them to be recognized from the beginning of the Sacred Road.
It is understood from inscriptions that the festivities and
ceremonies held every year in spring went on even after the Didymaion was completely
destroyed in 494 BC. The journey from Miletus to the Didymaion was made by sea or by the
Sacred Road. The group of people who set out from Miletus with ceremonies begun in the
Delphinion where they received the sanctification of Apollo and were sent forward by the
Delphins, came from the Lions' Harbour to the Panarmos Harbour, and from there reached the
Didymaion on foot. First, sacrificial beasts and votive offerings were presented to the
god, then, after ceremonies to the accompaniment of music and chorus, the important
persons entered the temple, and after that, the questions asked by inquires were answered
by the oracle. The ceremonies were directed by the Stephanephors. It was shown by
inscriptions that the Emperors Augustus and Trajan took the title of Stephanephor and
carried out this position. In the Roman period, the Sacred Road gained in importance as
the harbors filled up with alluvial mud and travel by sea became unfeasible.
The reason for this extremely impressive and magnificent
temple's not being considered among the seven wonders of the world is related by the
authorities to its not having been completed.