Patara - Marcia Temple-tomb

Patara - Marcia Temple Tomb

The backside of this large tomb of Patara, the Marcia temple-tomb, can be seen from the road just after the ticket office (see photo below).  It is reachable, but it is advisable to wear trousers as one has to walk through some scratchy bushes.  The tomb dates to the second quarter of the third century AD.

This is another temple-tomb, slightly larger than the neighboring Akdam temple-tomb (though not as well-preserved), with a square burial chamber measuring 7.5 x 7.6 metres.  Like the Akdam temple-tomb it also faces west overlooking what was the harbor (now a marsh) and looked like a contemporary Roman prostylos (columns only in front) temple with a four-columned porch.  The two tombs are most likely related, especially since the sarcophagi found at both tombs are of excellent quality and come from Athens.

Inscriptions found at the tomb indicated that it was built by a wealthy Pataran woman, Marica Aurelia Chryion (Iasonis) and indicate the possible strong position of women in Lycian society.

"I, the third daughter of Alchimos III, a Lyciarch, the citizen of Patara and Sydyma, mother and woman, Marcia Aurelia Chryion, Iasonis, which is my second name, who lived only with her husband, had this entire heroon and the entire temenos built completely and with my own money for myself and for the sake of all the people that I loved: for Alchimos III, who was in the past my father and Lychiarch, and Dionysios, his son, the Archiphlax of the Lycians and for my husband Alchimos who was the grandchild of Alchimos II and for the god Apollo.  No one is allowed to place their dead ones in my two sarcphagi that I had the workers build under any circumstance.  The sarcophagus across the one holding my husband Alchimos is reserved for me alone, in the second are the bodies of Alchimos, my father, and Alchimos his son, and my brother Iason whose nickname is Dionysios.  May those who wish to place another sarcophagus in the naos, those who will be tempted to pillage my sarcophagus and those who attempt to do so be subject to the anger and the wrath of of the powers of the gods under the ground and above, may they be given as sacrifice to the birds and the fish in the sea and may this be true for every single person in their generation for all times.  They shall also pay five thousand denariis to the treasury of the empire; one third shall be for the informer.  If my dear daughters, daughters of Alchimos son of Dionysios, Malate (?) and Nemeso and Alchimias whose second name is Asonis wish to put a sarcophagus in the pronaos in front of the naos or in the woods, they may only do so after the construction of the temenos.  However, there can not be more than one for each person and the sarcophagi cannot be any different and they should be done under the same conditions.  If these rules are not obeyed, let them pay five thousand denariis to the treasury of the empire and let one third be paid to the informer."

The second inscription reads:

"The people, men and women, who have been freed and their children and my male and female tomb slaves and their children shall be buried inside the temenos.  I left five hundred denariis per year for the well-being of the tomb slaves and their children.  Let those people whom I have favored in particular be buried here."


Click to enlarge photos below



Patara - Akdam and Marcia temple tombs


1. Akdam temple-tomb
2. Marcia temple-tomb
3. Patara National Park ticket office on the road to the beach


Note: Information on this page is from the book Patara: The History and Ruins of The Capital City of Lycian League by Dr. Fahri Işıki (head excavator of Patara), Orkun and Ozan Medya Hizmetleri A.Ş. 2000.  I believe this is a limited edition book and unfortunately I don't know where it can be purchased.