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Choma in Lycia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 September 2012

G. E. Bean
R. M. Harrison
Newcastle upon Tyne.


The site of Choma has been a long-standing puzzle. Its approximate location in the north of Lycia, in the general neighbourhood of Elmalı, has long been known; the ancient notices leave no doubt on this score. But for the exact position no real clue had hitherto been found. The following inscriptions were discovered, copied and photographed by Harrison in 1963, and were collated, and squeezes taken, by Bean in 1965. They resolve the problem definitively and satisfactorily, including as they do not only tombstones and other monuments erected by persons expressly designated as Chomatitae, but also an honorific decree of the Council and People of Choma.

The inscriptions are in and around the villages of Hacımusalar and Sarılar, which lie close together about 13 km. south-west of Elmalı, on the way to Gömbe, the ancient Comba (Fig. 3). About 1 km. south-east of Hacımusalar and east of Sarılar is a large prehistoric mound (hüyük), conspicuous in the dead-flat plain (Pl. I, 1).

Research Article
Copyright ©G. E. Bean and R. M. Harrison 1967. Exclusive Licence to Publish: The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

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1 Pliny, HN v, 101, has CandybaPodalia, Choma praefluente Aedesa; Hierocles 683 gives Arycanda, Podalia, Choma in that order; Ptolemy, under the heading Milyas, groups together Podalia, Nysa (i.e. Nisa), Choma and Candyba. In the Notitiae also Choma and Candyba normally come together. Podalia is commonly identified, rather insecurely, with the fortification on the hill at the north end of Avian Gölü. The ancient sources and modern discussion on Choma are conveniently listed in Magie, D., Roman Rule in Asia Minor (Princeton, 1950), 1372Google Scholar.

2 The identification of Choma, with mention of this decree, was briefly reported by Harrison, in AS XIV (1964), 10Google Scholar; the discovery was made during a survey generously sponsored by grants from the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.

3 Cf. note 1.

4 We have, for example, ἀνῦξαι in an unpublished inscription of Limyra of about 100 B.C. For the widely-spaced ω compare, e.g., AS X (1960), 57Google Scholar, no. 105, and Plate VIId.

5 It is presumably not impossible that we should read ὁ Σαβιμιος υἱός. Sabimis is similarly unknown.

6 Faltonius is suggested by J. C. Mann, who cites Faltonius Restitutianus, governor of Mauretania Caesariensis under Gordian (P-W VI, 1976–7), and Faltonius Probus, governor of Asia in SHA, Aurel. 40 (the MSS read Falconius, but this looks like a fictitious forebear of the Faltonii Probi of the later fourth century, on whom cf. P-W I, 1709, 2203–4). J. R. Martindale, preferring Fabius, informs us that in any case our man is not known from the files of the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire at Cambridge; he also comments on the use of ‘invictus Aug.’ in line 3, for after 324 Constantine is normally ‘victor’, and this is perhaps the first certain instance of ‘invictus’ still used in his later years.