Oinoanda / Oenoanda

Ruins of Oinoanda is located near the village of İncealiler in the Seydikemer district of Muğla. It is one of the four major cities in the Kibyratis (Kabaris) region (the others are Kibyra, Balboura and Bubon). Although the city is associated with Wiyanawanda mentioned in Hittite inscriptions, this remains highly debated. According to Hellenistic period inscriptions the city was founded by colonists from Termessos, a Psidian city. For this reason, it is often called Termessos by Oinoanda or Termessos Minor. In the dynastic period, during Perikle’s rule, it is thought that Oinoanda, as well as Balboura and Bubon, were located within the borders of Lycia. However, due to their conflicts with other Lycian cities, these four cities (Oinoanda, Kibyra, Bubon and Balboura) established a tetrapolis. This alliance was ended after the army of Mithridates, which was supported by the tetrapolis army, were defeated by Rome. Oinoanda, like every city of the dispersed tetrapolis, joined the Lycian League with two voting rights in 81 BCE.
The city was established on a ridge between two mountains in a position to facilitate defense. The oldest dated structure in the city is the Hellenistic period city walls, which date back to the 2nd century BCE. Most of the other building remains belong to the Roman period and later. Apart from some structures whose functions have been defined such as two baths, theatre, aqueduct and temple, there are many building remains. Oinoanda was first identified in the modern era by R. Hoskyn and E. Forbes in 1841. The city is particularly rich in epigraphic data. The most important of these is the Diogenes inscription. Apart from the epigraphic studies carried out since the 19th century, the detailed researches in the city started in 1968 and continued intermittently until today. The only excavation work was carried out in 1997 in the monumental square defined as the “esplanade”, where the Diogenes inscription was located.

Diogenes Inscription of Oinoanda

The inscription contains the teachings of the Epicurean philosopher Diogenes who lived in Oinoanda. It was inscribed on the back wall of a stoa to the south of the Hellenistic agora, known as the “esplanade” which is named by the French team researched in Oinoanda at the end of the 19th century. It is estimated to cover an area of 60 meters in length and 3.65 meters in height. It is the longest known Ancient Greek inscription on stone. Parts of the inscription, which was understood to have been destroyed in the 4th century CE, were used as spolia in later periods. To date, more than 300 fragments have been found. The inscription is a copy of the teachings of Diogenes which was already known from texts on papyrus found in the city of Herculaneum near Naples.

Bachmann, M. 2016. ‘Oinoanda: Diogenes’in Şehrindeki Araştırmalar’, Colliquium Anatolicum 15, 294-315.
Bachmann, M. 2016. ‘Northern Lycia: Oinoanda, Balboura, Elmalı’, in From Lukka to Lycia: The Land of Sarpedon and St. Nicholas, eds. H. İşkan & E. Dündar, 350-361, İstanbul.
Coulton, J. J. 1983. ‘The Buildings of Oinoanda’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 209, 1-20.
Çevik, N. 2021. Lykia Kitabı: Arkeolojisi, Tarihi ve Kültürüyle Batı Antalya, Türk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara.

Image sources:
J. J. Coulton, 1983
Procopius, 2010.
Odoxo, 2012.
Bora Bilgin, 2022
Tayfun Bilgin, 2022
Reha Özer, 2022