Contributions to Anatolian History and Numismatics: 12. Mastaura at the Foot of Mesogis Reflections on the Patria traditions of a Little-Known Ancient Polis

Gephyra. 2016;13:49-82


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Gephyra

ISSN: 1309-3924 (Print); 2651-5059 (Online)

Publisher: Akdeniz University

Society/Institution: Akdeniz University, Research Centre for Mediterranean Languages and Cultures

LCC Subject Category: History (General) and history of Europe: History of the Greco-Roman World

Country of publisher: Turkey

Language of fulltext: German, Italian, French, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Johannes Nollé


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The small town of Mastaura lies on the right bank of the river Maeander, almost exactly mid-way between Nysa and Antioch, close to the village of Bozyurt, whose former name was Mastavra. In the field of Classical Scholarship Mastaura has never gained the same attention as its neighbours, but there are strong reasons for believing that already in Hellenistic times Mastaura had the status of a town. Relying on the literary sources – first of all Stephen of Byzantium’s article on Mastaura – and especially on the coins minted by this city we are able to obtain some information about the urban economy and Mastaura’s cultural and religious setting. The city’s extremely fertile land yielded rich harvests of grain and wine. That is why Mastaura intensively worshipped both Demeter and Dionysos; a local mythical tradition asserts that young Dionysos was brought up at Mastaura by a nymph called Ma. Another tradition associates the city’s name with the mother goddess Rhea – fondly called Ma – and the sacrifice of a bull in her honour by the eponymous city founder Mastauros. Rhea/Ma, her open air sanctuary and the bull sacrifice of Mastauros are depicted on the city’s coins. An epigram of the Anthologia Graeca seems to indicate that the city had an unpleasant contact with the famous rhetor Polemon. The cults of Mastaura reflect the city’s ‹in-between› position: There are Lydian as well as Carian influences.