Clarus

Clarus

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Clarus in the territory of Colophon in the Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

n coast of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 was a much-revered, much-famed cult center described by Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 (vii. 3, 1).

Clarus was known throughout the Mediterranean for its oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

, who delivered her prophesies in a dark crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

-like adyton
Adyton
The adyton or adytum was a restricted area within the cella of a Greek or Roman temple. Its name meant "inaccessible" or "do not enter". The adyton was frequently a small area at the farthest end of the cella from the entrance: at Delphi it measured just nine by twelve feet. The adyton would...

under the Temple of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

, honored here as Apollo Clarius ("The Apollo of Clarus"). Its narrow dark vaulted labyrinth
Labyrinth
In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos...

ine corridors remain. Aboveground, there remains the base and fragments of the colossal sculptures of a seated Apollo with his lyre, accompanied by Leto
Leto
In Greek mythology, Leto is a daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe. The island of Kos is claimed as her birthplace. In the Olympian scheme, Zeus is the father of her twins, Apollo and Artemis, the Letoides, which Leto conceived after her hidden beauty accidentally caught the eyes of Zeus...

 and Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

, facing to the east. The group, whose fragments are partially reassembled at the site, seems to have measured more than seven meters in height http://www.france.diplomatie.fr/culture/culture_scientifique/archeologie/claros/. In the sanctuary, rows of names of the countless grateful ancient visitors may still be seen, votive and memorial inscriptions on columns, on steps and walls and even on a curving marble bench: in their entirety the inscription of Clarus form the largest assembly of surviving Greek inscriptions. An elegant marble chair in the sanctuary
Sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

 has serpent
Serpent (symbolism)
Serpent in Latin means: Rory Collins :&, in turn, from the Biblical Hebrew word of: "saraf" with root letters of: which refers to something burning-as, the pain of poisonous snake's bite was likened to internal burning.This word is commonly used in a specifically mythic or religious context,...

 arms, a reminder of the chthonic
Chthonic
Chthonic designates, or pertains to, deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in relation to Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth"; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land or the land as territory...

 nature of all genuine oracles among the Hellenes.

The high point for the fame of the Clarus oracle seems to have been the 2nd century CE. The founding myth
Founding myth
A national myth is an inspiring narrative or anecdote about a nation's past. Such myths often serve as an important national symbol and affirm a set of national values. A national myth may sometimes take the form of a national epic...

 of Clarus, however, connects the city with the Epigoni
Epigoni
In Greek mythology, Epigoni are the sons of the Argive heroes who had fought and been killed in the first Theban war, the subject of the Greek Thebaid, in which Polynices and six allies attacked Thebes because Polynices' brother, Eteocles, refused to give up the throne as promised...

, fleeing after they had sacked the Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 citadel of Thebes; among them was Manto
Manto (mythology)
There are several distinct figures in Greek mythology named Manto, the most prominent being the daughter of Tiresias. The name Manto derives from Ancient Greek Mantis, "seer, prophet" .-Daughter of Tiresias:...

, daughter of the seer Tiresias
Tiresias
In Greek mythology, Tiresias was a blind prophet of Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being transformed into a woman for seven years. He was the son of the shepherd Everes and the nymph Chariclo; Tiresias participated fully in seven generations at Thebes, beginning as advisor to Cadmus...

 and herself a seer http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Tiresias.html. At the site of Clarus the fugitives were seized by the Cretans
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

: the legend was confirmed by the historic Minoan settlement at Miletus
Miletus
Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia , near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria...

 that was discovered in 1995/96 by the German school. In the legend, when Rhacius
Rhacius
In Greek mythology, Rhacius was the son of Lebes, and the leader of the first Greeks to settle in Caria, and became King of Caria. His court was located at Colophon in Ionia. With his wife Manto, daughter of the seer Teiresias, he was the father of Mopsus, a renowned seer....

, the Cretan settler of Caria
Caria
Caria was a region of western Anatolia extending along the coast from mid-Ionia south to Lycia and east to Phrygia. The Ionian and Dorian Greeks colonized the west of it and joined the Carian population in forming Greek-dominated states there...

, learned who they were, he let them settle in the country and married Manto himself. Their heir was the seer Mopsus
Mopsus
Mopsus or Mopsos was the name of two famous seers in Greek mythology. A historical/legendary Mopsus was the founder of a house in power at widespread sites in the coastal plains of Pamphylia and Cilicia during the early Iron Age.-Son of Manto and Rhacius or Apollo:Mopsus, a celebrated seer and...

. Thus the origin of the oracle at Clarus was remembered by Greeks of the classical period as Minoan-Mycenaean in origin. Intensely settled Mycenaean sites have been identified at Colophon, at Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

 to the south and numerous other nearby sites. Deep exploratory trenches dug between the altar and the temple façade, revealed proto-Geometric pottery of the 10th century BCE, attesting to the presence hinted at in myth http://www.france.diplomatie.fr/culture/culture_scientifique/archeologie/claros/claros/claros00.html.

After the Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

, the Trojan seer Calchas
Calchas
In Greek mythology, Calchas , son of Thestor, was an Argive seer, with a gift for interpreting the flight of birds that he received of Apollo: "as an augur, Calchas had no rival in the camp"...

, like the Theban seeress Manto (above), was among the refugees at Clarus, where he challenged Mopsus
Mopsus
Mopsus or Mopsos was the name of two famous seers in Greek mythology. A historical/legendary Mopsus was the founder of a house in power at widespread sites in the coastal plains of Pamphylia and Cilicia during the early Iron Age.-Son of Manto and Rhacius or Apollo:Mopsus, a celebrated seer and...

, the charismatic son of Manto and Rhacius, and superseded him as seer of the oracular site, and there he eventually died (Argonautica1.308; Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

 Metamorphoses
Metamorphoses (poem)
Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet Ovid describing the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework. Completed in AD 8, it is recognized as a masterpiece of Golden Age Latin literature...

1.516 and 11.413; Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 14.4.3).

The Ionian migration from the north of the Peloponnesus dates to the 10th century BCE.

The historic Clarus, referred to by Greek and Roman poets, had been entirely buried in the alluvial silt deposited by the small river at the site, a widespread phenomenon along this coastline during the last century BCE, as the hinterland was deforested. T. Macridy uncovered the monumental entrance to the sanctuary
Sanctuary
A sanctuary is any place of safety. They may be categorized into human and non-human .- Religious sanctuary :A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place , or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.- Sanctuary as a sacred place :#Sanctuary as a sacred place:#:In...

 in 1905 and returned for further explorations with the French archaeologist Charles Picard in 1913. Excavations recommenced between 1950 and 1961 under Louis Robert, and a series of important Roman dedicated monuments came to light, as well as the famous Doric Temple
Doric order
The Doric order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of ancient Greek or classical architecture; the other two canonical orders were the Ionic and the Corinthian.-History:...

 of Apollo, seat of the oracle, in its final grand though uncompleted Hellenistic phase, 3rd century BCE. The Sacred Way was excavated in 1988 under J. de La Genière, and since then much alluvial spoil has been carted off-site and Clarus has been prepared to receive visitors.

The games held here, every fifth year, in honor of Apollo, were the Claria.

Clarus was also an often-used Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 cognomen
Cognomen
The cognomen nōmen "name") was the third name of a citizen of Ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. The cognomen started as a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became hereditary. Hereditary cognomina were used to augment the second name in order to identify a particular branch within...

.

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