Issue P021 of 18 May 2002

Alketas's Grave in Ancient Termessos

The ruins of ancient Termessos are located about 35 klm. northwest of modern Attalea , South Turkey. Guluk Dag, as the modern location is called, is situated more than 1000 m. above the sea level and it has not been yet systematically excavated. In that high altitude one can see the ancient walls, the theater, the gymnasium, the baths, the bouleuterion (town parliament), the odeion (music hall), cisterns, the aqueduct, and many burial monuments.

In history, Termessos is known from early Hellenistic times in the 4th c. BCE. In 319, a few years after Alexander's death and during the strife for power among the King's Generals, Termessos became the scene of a dramatic event. Alketas arrived in Termessos while being followed by Antigonos the one-eyed, both Alexander's Generals. Unable to escape, Alketas committed suicide but Antigonos refused a burial to his ex fellow General in Alexander's army. However, three days later, after Antigonos left the town of Termessos, Alketas was given a proper funeral and burial by his friends.

Alketas's Grave in TermessosNowadays, one can easily recognize a strange burial monument in the northwest corner of Telmessos cemetery. Carved in the rock and decorated with a horse mounted warrior and the arms of the fighter this monument cannot be but Alketas's last residence. An eagle carrying a snake decorates the top of the construction and confirms that the grave must belong to an important person.

Note: Information for the above article comes from a traveling feature published on July 30, 2000 in Greek TA NEA by archaeology professor M. A. Tiberius.

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