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The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites

Smintheion (in Chrysa)

Smintheion. Strabo (13. 604.46-605.49) calls Smintheion an Apollo sanctuary, which still in his time was in Chrysa, a site in S Troas. The cult image of Apollo Smintheus is supposed to have been fashioned by Skopas. The name Smintheus supposedly referred to the mouse that was fixed to the feet of the Apollo statue. According to Strabo there were several sanctuaries so named, located especially in Troas and on the nearby island of Tenedos. The sanctuary, i.e. the temple, in Chrysa was evidently the most important of these.
  In 1853 the English captain Spratt discovered in the SW corner of Troas below the village then named Kulahli the remains of ancient Chrysa, at that time probably better preserved than they are now. The location is called Gulpinar today and lies at the end of a paved road 25 km long, leading W from Assos. The W coast of Troas (near the ancient Hamaxitos) is only 3 to 4 km distant, the coast of the Gulf of Edremit (Atramyttion) somewhat farther. Thirteen years after Spratt's discovery, the Society of Dilettanti commissioned R. P. Pullan to investigate the site of the Smintheion of Chrysa. In the autumn of 1866 Pullan's excavations were completed. His report appeared in 1881 (Antiquities of Ionia, IV, pp. 40ff, pls. 26-30). The plates depict not so much the state of the excavated findings as Pullan's reconstructions. In vol. 5 of the same work (1915) appeared some supplements to Pullan's publications by W. R. Lethaby (see below for further references). Since the temple edifice excavated by Pullan no longer exists and the other architectural remains have also almost all been lost, great importance has accrued to the early publication even if it no longer satisfies present-day points of view.
  According to Pullan the Temple of Chrysa was an Ionic pseudo-dipteral structure (8 x 14 columns); the substructure of 11 steps has, however, been questioned (see Dinsmoor below, p. 272, n. 2). The stylobate was 40.4 by 22.5 m. In front of the cella to the E lay a deep pronaos or vestibule, in back, a short opisthodomos, each with two columns in antis. The narrow Ionic columns of 24 flutes stood upon an extraordinary base that represented a type of "Ephesian-Attic" mixed form (cf. H. C. Butler, Sardis, II, p. 114, fig. 11). The columns carried richly decorated Hellenistic capitals, one of which is still preserved. The visible parts of the building were of marble. There was in addition a decorated figure frieze (0.8 m in height) above the architrave. Pullan was not able to display the six frieze slabs in his publication. They have now for the most part been lost, along with the other remains of the temple, so that a few years ago only one complete slab in Gulpinar and a few fragments were rediscovered and could be published (see below, H. Weber). Depicted are a two-horse chariot with driver and two other persons, two battle scenes between armed men, and single male and female figures, which unfortunately have recently become detached from the relief.
  To judge from the building ornamentation and the style of the frieze, the temple was constructed ca. 200 B.C. or in the early 2d c. Accordingly the cult image by Skopas (see below, Grace and Lacroix) must have been carried over from an older edifice into the later Hellenistic temple.
  The building remains that can still be seen in the valley below the village of Gulpinar consist partly of brick walls and could belong to the site of Chrysa seen by Strabo.

H. Weber, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites, Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities


A city on the coast of the Troad, near Thebes, with a temple of Apollo Smintheus; celebrated by Homer.

Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)


Chrysa (Chruse, Chrusa: Eth. Chruseus). Stephanus (s. v.) has a list of various places so called. He does not decide which is the Chrysa of Homer (Il. i. 37, 390, 431). He mentions a Chrysa on the Hellespont, between Ophrynium and Abydus. Pliny (v. 30) mentions Chryse, a town of Aeolis, as no longer existing in his time. He also mentions a Chryse in the Troad, and apparently places it north of the promontory Lectum, and on the coast. He says that Chrysa did not exist, but the temple of Smintheus remained; that is, the temple of Apollo Smintheus. The name Smitheus, not Smintheus, appears on a coin of Alexandria of Troas (Harduin?s note on Plin. v. 30). The Table places Smynthium between Alexandria and Assus, and 4 miles south of Alexandria. Strabo places Chrysa on a hill, and he mentions the temple of Smintheus, and speaks of a symbol, which recorded the etymon of the name, the mouse which lay at the foot of the wooden figure, the work of Scopas. According to an old story, Apollo had his name Smintheus, as being the mouse destroyer; for Sminthus signified mouse, according to Apion. Strabo has an argument to show that the Chrysa of the Iliad was not the Chrysa near Alexandria, but the other place of the same name in the plain of Thebe, or the Adramyttene. He says that this Chrysa was on the sea, and had a port, and a temple of Smintheus, but that it was deserted in his time, and the temple was transferred to the other Chrysa. There is, however, little weight in Strabo's argument, nor is the matter worth discussion.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited Aug 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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