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8th century-168 BCE (Non-independent federation)168 BCE-4th century CE

Ancient World /

1. Political organization
2. People
3. Language
4. Religion
5. History

Lycia, ancient land of Anatolia
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Wild mountains near Olympos.

Lycia, ancient land of Anatolia
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Rock tombs in Myra.

Travel guide to Pinara Travel guide to Letoon Travel guide to Patara Travel guide to Tlos Travel guide to Arykanda Travel guide to Phaselis Travel guide to Limyra Travel guide to Olympos Travel guide to Andriake Travel guide to Xanthos Travel guide to Myra Travel guide to Telmessos (Fethiye)

Lycia, ancient land of Anatolia
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Sarcophagi in Xanthos.

Lycia, ancient land of Anatolia
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Theatre in Arykanda.

Ancient region of southwestern Anatolia, corresponding to Antalya Province, Turkey and the Teke Peninsula. Lycia bordered Caria to the west, Pamphylia to the east and Pisidia to the north. Most of Lycia was in the westernmost part of the Taurus Mountains.
Lycia is a region of steep mountains and valleys, densely forested and with rich agriculture in the few areas of flat lands. The region has a few permanent rivers but several rivers that carry water in winter and spring. There are few permanent lakes, but several seasonal.

Political organization
Among the main cities of Lycia were Xanthos, Patara, Myra and Phaselis. Lycia was never as such unified as one single country, it was either a province of larger states. During independence, from early 2nd century BCE until the 4th century CE, the cities formed a democratic league, of city-states.
The league represented the city-states when facing foreign nations. Every autumn, a Lyciarch was formed, in which cities sent 1, 2 or 3 representatives, depending on the size of the cities. There were 6 cities which had 3 representatives: Xanthos, Pinara, Tlos, Patara, Myra and Olympos. In the case of the very small cities, two or three could share one representative. At a later stage, Phaselis joined the league.
Lycia is especially known for its elaborate funerary architecture, involving both sole-standing sarcophagi and decorated rock tombs.

The Lycians called themselves Termilae, but were called Lukka or Luka by the nearby Hittite people.

Dead languages ||| Anatolia / Languages
The Lycians spoke an Indo-European language now known simply as Lycian. It was related to Luwian, the dominating language Anatolia through the 2nd and 1st millennium BCE. Lycian had its own alphabet, based on West Greek alphabet.
Some 150 monumental inscriptions in Lycian have been found.

Central to the early Lycian religion was the goddess Leto and later, her twin children, Apollo and Artemis.

2nd millennium BCE: It is assumed that the Lycians were of the same group as the Luwians.
14th century: Earliest records mentioning Lycia, being between the Hittites (east) and the Greeks (west).
About 1276: Battle at Kadesh, where the Lycians aid the Hittites in the fight against the Egyptians.
1231: Participates with the Sea People in the invasion of Egypt.
8th century: Apparently some form of a maritime confederation is formed between the Lycian city-states. This confederation has as its neighbours, Lydia in the west and Phrygia in the east.
546: Is conquered by the Persians, under the leadership of Harpagus of Media. He becomes governor of Lycia.
486: Lycia is taken from the Persians by Athens.
387: Lycia is again conquered by the Persians.
334: Conquered by Alexander the Great, and would become part of the Seleucid Kingdom.
189: Conquered by the Romans.
168: A second Lycian League is formed, consisting of 23 city-states. The background was the Romans granting Lycia independence.
43 CE: Is annexed into the Roman province of Pamphylia.
4th century: Becomes a large Byzantine province and the city federation is dismantled.
15th century: Comes under the Ottomans, and a process of Turkification begins (see Turks).

By Tore Kjeilen