Sura (Lycia)

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Coordinates: 36 ° 14 ′ 38.5 ″  N , 29 ° 56 ′ 41.3 ″  E

Relief Map: Turkey
Sura (Lycia)

Sura was an ancient oracle of Apollo Surios on the coast of Lycia , it is located on the outskirts of Yuva Köyü, a suburb of Demre (ancient Myra ) in the province of Antalya in Turkey . This is where Apollon's fish oracle, famous in ancient times, was located.

The ancient writer Athenaios describes in his "Banquet of the Scholars" ( Deipnosophistai ) the course of the oracle: On the shore of the sea there is a sacred area of ​​Apollon and there on the beach a whirlpool. The oracle seeker brings two wooden skewers, each with ten pieces of roasted meat, and throws them into the basin. Then the pool fills with salt water and an abundance of fish of all kinds flocks into the pool. A prophetes enumerates the number and the species of the flesh gnawing fish and according to this enumeration the oracle priest gives the questioner the answer of the oracle. Not only the number but also the size of the individual specimens and the multitude of species represented is quite astonishing.

Athenaios then quotes the 10th book of the "Geographoumena" of Artemidor of Ephesus , according to which there is a fresh water source on the beach and it is the mixture of salt and fresh water in this vortex that explains the extraordinary abundance of fish at this point. The locals would stick the first fruits of meat and field crops on wooden skewers and sacrifice them there. In addition, both the port there and the oracle site would have the name Dinos ( δῖνος "vortex") from this vortex.

Pliny the Elder describes a somewhat different course in his "Natural History". According to him, the fish are lured to the basin by blowing a flute three times. If they greedily snatch the meat thrown to them, that was interpreted as a good omen, but if they had pushed it away with their tail fin it would have been a bad sign.

Remnants of the oracle site are not preserved, only rock cuttings, presumably from the apartments of the priests or the dwellings of oracle seekers, are still visible. Nearby are the remains of two Byzantine churches.

See also


  • Athenaios Deipnosophistai 8, 333
  • Pliny Naturalis historia 32, 8


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