Apollon Smintheus Sacred Area
Apollon Smintheus Sacred Area
The sanctuary known with the Temple of Apollo Smintheus is located in the south-western corner of the Biga peninsula today (formerly the Troad), and even at the western end of the Asian continent. The sanctuary is located in the village of Gülpınar (formerly Külahlı) today, which is connected to the Ayvacık district. Archaeological excavations at Apollon Smintheus have been directed by Coşkun Özgünel since 1980.
Apollo, who has different attributes, is known in the region as smintheus (mouse). He was worshiped in this sanctuary as “smintheus” meaning “Lord of Mice”.
The Sanctuary of Apollo Smintheus, which includes various structures I dedicated to the god Apollo, especially the temple, is called “Smintheion’ and is separated from other ancient cities and settlements. The Sanctuary is connected to some cities such as Chrysa (Göztepe) and Hamaxitos (Beşiktepe) where the people of these cities worshiped and and later connected to the city of Alexandria Troas (Dalyan). In Roman period, this connection is provided by the Roman bridge in Tuzla Plain. In this period, as understood from the bridge and the sacred way, architectural structures intensify, especially with the baths, and take the Roman character.
The reason for the construction of the temple is the sense of people’s gratitude to Apollo. Because Apollo in the great war between the Achaeans and Trojans holds the side of Trojan. The first part of the Iliad, which is the epic poem of the Anatolian poet Homer, begins with the appeal of Apollo: “”Hear me, Apollo! God of the silver bow who strides the walls of Chryse and Cilia sacrosanctlord in power of Tenedos-Smintheus, god of the plague! If l ever roofed a shrine to please your heart, ever burned the long rich bones of bulls and goats on your holy altar, now, now bring my prayer to pass. Pay the Danaans back your arrows for my tears!” (liad 1.37-42) hese strings belong to Chryses, the priest of Apollo Smintheus I Temple. Because the leaders of the Achaeans, came to plunder the Troia, take the daughter of the priest with them to the headquarters on the coast of Troia. Despite all her wishes and pleas for his daughter the priest cannot reclaim, therefore he asks for help from the god as a servant of Apollo Smintheus. Apollo, the master of the mice, attacks the Acha army with the arrows carrying the plague and the army gives serious casualties. These events change the course of the Trojan war. Upon this events the girl is brought back and the army is freed from the plague.
These events, which occurred before and after the Trojan War, I are also described on the friezes (relief architectural blocks) and column pieces of Apollo Smintheus Temple in Gülpınar, and compatible with Homer’s Iliad epic. These depictions and subject matter are seen in such a large structure only in the temple of Apollo Smintheus. Educating of Achilles, mourning for Patroclos, the struggle of Achilles and Hector, the throne of Zeus as the decisive actor, the drift of Hektor’s body around the Trojan fortifications, the help of Priamos and his family, the death of Hector, Priamos who went to Achilles to take the body of Hector and the mourning of Andromakhe for Hektor are the most important representations on friezes. Also Apollo, Zeus, Leto, Artemis, priest Chryses ask for his own daughter from Agamemnon, Apollo with the arrows of the plague to send a plague epidemic, Odysseus brought Chryseis, Thetis call for Zeus and the leg of Apollo’s cult statue is on display at Museum in Gülpınar.
The temple is the largest marble structure in the sanctuary. Local volcanic andesite / basalt stone was used as the main carrier with the local tuff stone foundations in order not to be damaged by the ground water. The steps of the temple, the floors, the columns, the walls, the roof part and the superstructure are entirely of white marble and the marbles are brought from the island of Marmara (Prokonnessos) by sea. As the plan of the temple is Hermogenes style, Anatolian architect, and was built in the mid-2th century BC.
The temple of Apollo I Smintheus has been erected with the excavation and restoration works. In addition the temple, the altar where the victims were cut and served to the god, the gods who served in the service of the gods, the bridges that would meet the needs of the people to visit, the sanctuary, the Roman baths for the ritual cleaning and washing, the different water canals and water tanks supply these baths, the streets adorned with the statues, Different structures such as heroes, honor halls and houses (villas) have been revealed in recent years.
The first prehistoric village settlement in Troad (Biga Peninsula) is located in Gülpınar.