Ancient City of Parion

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Discover the Ancient City of Parion: History, Architecture, and Artifacts | Parion, located on the Marmara Sea, was a city of the Troas region. Learn about its origins, Roman colonization, archaeological excavations, and remarkable statues found, including a unique Goddess Artemis sculpture.

Ancient city of Parion

Ancient city of Parion History

Parion, located within the boundaries of Kemer Village in the Biga district of Çanakkale Province, is a coastal city on the Marmara Sea.

Based on the data obtained, particularly in the necropolis area during ongoing excavations since 2005, Parion is considered to be a city of the Troas region.

Ancient Parion was located west of Lampsakos, east of Priapos, and south of Skepsis, which were important neighboring cities.

Eusebius stated that Parion was founded in 709 BCE. There are three theories regarding the origin of the name Parion. The first suggests that Parion originated from Paros, the second suggests that it was derived from Parius, the son of immigrant Iason and Demetria from Erythrae, and the third theory suggests that it originated from Paris, the prince of Troy, meaning “the city of Paris.”

Parion became a member of the Delian League in 478-477 BCE. During the Peloponnesian War between the Athenians and Spartans from 431 to 404 BCE, Parion sided with the Athenians.

The city came under Persian rule again in 387 BCE following the King’s Peace. The defeat of the Persians by Alexander the Great in the Battle of Granicus in 334 BCE marked the beginning of a new era in Anatolia.

After the Apamea Peace Treaty in 188 BCE, which left Troas to the Romans from the Pergamon Kingdom, it was returned to the Romans in 133 BCE after the death of King Antiochus III.

Realizing the importance of the city, the Romans declared Parion a colony twice, once during the Julius Caesar or Augustus period and again during the Hadrian period. It is estimated that there was an acceleration in architectural activities after the city acquired its status for the second time in the Hadrian period.

The architectural decorations and reliefs of the theater, which is one of the most prominent structures of the city and dates back to the second half of the 2nd century CE, confirm this.

Parion became a city where Christian communities existed from the 2nd century CE onward, and its importance during the Byzantine period can be understood from the presence of significant bishops such as Eustathius (312-330 CE), Hesychius (431 CE), and Thalassius (451 CE) who served in Parion.

The first surface survey in Parion was conducted by I. Akşit on behalf of the Çanakkale Museum in the 1970s, which was followed by surface surveys led by Prof. Dr. Cevat Başaran in 1997.

Scientific excavations started in the southern necropolis of the city in 2005. Subsequent years saw ongoing work in the Roman Theater, Roman Bath, Slope Gate, Odeon, Hellenistic Tower, and Test Pit structures.

Since 2008, sponsored by İÇDAŞ (Iron and Steel Factory of Karabük), archaeological research led by Prof. Dr. Cevat Başaran, a faculty member of the Department of Archaeology at Atatürk University, has been conducted.

These studies have uncovered numerous architectural remains through excavations in six different areas of the ancient city and drillings in various locations.

PARION ARTEMIS

During the excavations in Parion, one of the areas being excavated, the odeon, an important structure of the city, revealed a marble statue in fragments in 2012. According to initial findings, the statue is believed to belong to the Goddess Artemis, dating back to the 2nd century CE.

The fragmented statue depicts a clothed female figure, with the bow she holds in her left hand and an arrow clamped under her left middle finger, standing next to a stump on which a leaping dog-greyhound is placed, along with the head of a deer, and possibly due to the votive on its back.

The statue, made of high-quality white marble and measuring approximately 1.70 meters in height, is considered to be a unique composition within the group of Goddess Artemis statues discovered so far, with no closely resembling examples found, especially considering the upper body parts that are likely destroyed in a fire.

With the possibility of finding other pieces related to the statue, the sculpture will be exhibited in its entirety after restoration.

PARION CENTAUR-TRITON

During surface surveys in Parion, a structure that was identified as a theater based on the depression to the east of the acropolis was first excavated in 2006. Along with numerous architectural elements found in the theater, a Centaur-Triton sculpture was discovered during the 2012 excavation season.

The sculpture, measuring 130 cm in height, had a broken head that was subsequently repaired. The lower section of the statue is missing, and its arms are broken. This unique sculpture is believed to have been placed on the corners of the structure’s facade. It is dated to the 2nd century CE.

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