Lizards of Labranda

We had another glorious ancient site to ourselves on Sunday. Labra(u)nda (Λάβρανδα) is just north of Milas in SW Turkey.

Admittedly, there is some competition, with Ephesus, Pergamon, Priene, Bodrum Castle, Troy, and numerous other sites less than a day away. Nevertheless, it felt like a guilty pleasure to be able to explore such a fabulous site alone, to drink from the sacred spring, and imagine both the ancient civilization there and the excitement of the first archaeologists to investigate it

Labranda was held sacred by the Carian and Mysian peoples. Mausolus of Mausoleum fame, was a satrap here (c. 377-352 BCE). The local god was Zeus Labraundos (Ζεὺς Λάβρανδος), with a double-headed axe, the labrys (also as in lanyrinth). The site was occupied continously until the mid-Byzantine period.

I have to admit that we weren’t completely alone. There were wild cats, chickens, honeybees from the nearby honey farms, and many fine lizards.