Lycia… The First United Republic of the World History

Anatolia is an important geography that has witnessed the development of human civilization for centuries. One of them is the Lycian civilization with its unique culture. Lycia is one of the most important geographies of Turkey with its magnificent geography and unique ancient cities.

The peninsula stretching to the between Antalya and gulfs, which is now called the Peninsula, was called Lycia in the ancient geography. The southern border of the region is determined by the Mediterranean; the eastern, western and northern borders have changed according to periods in the historical process.

There are many theses about where the Lycians migrated from before the life they established between the coast and the highlands in this mountainous geography. The strongest possibility is that they are of Luwian origin, an Indo- tribe who settled in Anatolia before antiquity. While living under the auspices of the Hittites in 2000 BC, they began to be called Luwi-Lukka. The word lukka originally means light, sunrise.

This democratic republic structure, shaped by the consciousness of independence and unity, is unique in ancient times. So much so that it is the biggest inspiration for today's federated understandings.In fact, Lycians system is the biggest source of inspiration for the federal states of these days.

Were I to give a model of an excellent confederate republic ıt would be that of Lycia.

The Spirit of Law /  Montesquieu (1748)

Every civilization has definitely been influenced by its predecessors and contemporaries. However, when we look at the Lycian civilization, it is seen that this effect is minimal. At this point, the Lycian civilization differs from other Anatolian civilizations.

This nation, which is very fond of freedom and independence, also established the first federation structure known in history. It is not a coincidence that a democratic political union emerged from a civilization that was so fond of independence.

…and the people of the light choose to die over and over in the sizzling light of the fire instead of living as slaves in the darkness

Lycian History

Lycia is one of the most interesting regions of Anatolia in terms of its historical and natural riches. The region was  called as “Land of Light” in ancient times.

 The Lycians fought alongside the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh and established a local kingdom in the first half of the 7th century BC.

The region, which was liberated from the Persians by Alexander the Great in 334 BC, came under the rule of Alexander's generals this time.In 167, he was liberated with a privilege granted by Rome

In these years, Lycia was plundered by pirates who made cities such as Olympos and Phaselis their bases.

It was severely damaged by the earthquakes in AD 141 and 240, and the pirates that emerged again prepared the end of the Lycian cities. With the Arab raids that started in the 7th century, the region completely lost its importance.

The most important architectural works of the region are the rock tombs in which the outer faces of wooden structures are imitated.

Lycians had their own language. This language was written with the Lycian alphabet, which is similar to the western alphabet.

The inscriptions found in the Lycian region today are especially dated back to 5th century BC. There are about 150 inscriptions discovered so far. It was understood that these were written in an alphabet that took an old ground but also included different letters and characters adapted to the features of the language. The Lycian language was partially deciphered thanks to the Xanthos stele exhibited in  Fethiye Museum today.

 Lycian Union

The most important feature of Lycia in terms of administration is that 23 cities formed a federative structure and a central administration system.

The first organization in the form of a union was tried to be created by a general named Pericles from Limyra in the 4th century BC.

 In this period, it was seen that religious principles predominated in the establishment of the union, but this situation did not last long due to the balances in the region. The main unity was founded in 168/67 BC. 

Cities were represented by one, two or three members to the federal parliament in proportion to their size and importance. Six of these cities (Xanthos, Patara, Pinara, Tlos, Myra and Olympos) are known to have three votes in this unity.

Smaller settlements were represented by a single vote by forming double, triple or quadruple city unions. Among the triple unions, Idebessos, Akalissos and Kormos in northeastern mountainous Lycia; Among the quadruple combinations, Aperlai, Apollonia, Isinda and Simena can be given as examples in the central Lycian coastal region.

It is aimed that every settlement in the country will be represented equally in the parliament, with this vote stratification made according to population density, economic power and contribution rate to the union budget.

The union had a common assembly. The federal assembly met in a different city every year, where joint decisions were taken. A federation president was elected for each year.

The court would decide on the cases between the cities themselves or between the cities and the union. Moreover the assembly also had the power to decide on war, peace and union agreements.

Union cities minted common coins of a certain weight on which the heads of Apollo and Artemis were depicted. Being a member of the union provided important advantages to the citizens of the cities.

Each Lycian could own property, trade or marry in another union city. The biggest proof showing that the Lycian union was a very democratic system was that women could be elected as the head of parliament in Lycia. Amelas, Antiphellos, Aperlai, Apollonia, Arykanda, Boubon, Gagai, Kandyba(Kalynda or Cadianda), Xanthos, Kyaneai, Limyra, Myra, Oinoanda, Olympos, Patara, Phaselis, Phellos, Pinara, Rhodiapolis, Sidyma, Telmessos, Trysa are the cities of the Lycian union. Union maintained its independence until 43 AD.

The Lycian way

The Lycian road is an old trade route consisting of 509 km. “Lycian Way” was brought to the present day with the organization of a project competition organized by Garanti Bank in 1996 in order to reveal the values of our country.

The walking route, which was created by marking and mapping some of the paths on the road by volunteers, was put into service in 1999. Although the landmarks are lost at the moment, the entire track is marked and maintained by supporting organizations and volunteers. The Lycian Way walk is usually divided into two by nature lovers, trekkers, thrill seekers within the framework of alternative , or history buffs.

The Lycian Way starts from Fethiye Ölüdeniz and following the route of Village, Butterfly Valley, Kabak Bay, Yedi Burunlar, Sdyma, Pınara, Letoon, Xanthos ancient cities and completes its first part in Patara ancient city.

The second part of the road ends in Antalya after Antiphellos/Kas, Apollonia, Simena, Kekova, Mira/Demre, Limyra, Yanartas/Olympos and Phaselis.

This road is marked in international standards. This road, called the “Lycian Way”, is accepted as one of the 4 longest walking routes in Europe and one of the 10 most beautiful walking routes in the world. The road sometimes travels along the coastline and sometimes at an altitude of 1800 meters.

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