A Journey Through Ancient Lydia
Situated in the ancient region of Lydia, Sardis unfolds its rich history at the foothills of the Tmolus Mountains, commanding a view of the Hermus River plain. Evidence of human activity dates back to the Palaeolithic period, around 50,000 B.C. Recent excavations primarily focus on the Archaic era, particularly the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., when Sardis reached its zenith as the capital of the Lydian empire Phrygian Art and Culture in Anatolia. Additionally, attention is given to the Late Roman era when the city continued to thrive.
Archaeological highlights from the Archaic period include the royal burial mounds at Bin Tepe, the city wall, and a gold-working installation on the Pactalus River. Monuments from later periods, such as the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine, boast structures like the temple of Artemis, a bath-g
Influences and Connections
Phrygian art, shaped by influences from Hittite and Urartian cultures, played a role in inspiring Etruscan art in Italy. Simultaneously, the Phrygians were directly influenced by the Urartu civilization in Eastern Anatolia. An example is the incorporation of the Urartian bull’s head figure into a distinctly Phrygian cauldron. Metalwork, utilizing known metal ores, gained prominence in the Early and Mid-Bronze Ages from 2500 BC. However, it was around 1000 BC that Phrygian metalwork, borrowing from pottery and metal vessels, became widely popular.
Phrygian Art Categories
Phrygian art can be categorized into three groups:
Local Phrygian ware
Urartian import ware
Assyrian import ware
These categories further distinguish artifacts found in mounds dating before 695 BC.
Evolution of Phrygian Pottery
Phrygian pottery during this period showcased fine polychrome ware, categorized as early and
Early Christian Influences
The early spread of Christianity in this region owes much to St. Paul. However, the 2nd century AD witnessed the emergence of two distinct sects: Montanism and Novationism. Montanism, rooted in the teachings of the local prophet Montanus, prophesied the imminent end of the world. Novationism, named after the Roman theologian Bishop Novatian, gave rise to the followers known as “the pure” or “katharoi” in Greek. This movement, later influencing the Cathar heresy of the Middle Ages, staunchly opposed the readmission of lapsed Christians into the Church Sardis.
Phrygians in Anatolia Builders and Rulers
The Phrygians, part of the “people of the Aegean Sea” migrating tribes, arrived in Anatolia around 1200 BC. Initially settling in Central Anatolia, they established their towns over the ruins of Hittite cities such as Hattusas, Alacahöyük, Pazarli, and Alisar. By the early 8th