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Mylasa

Titular see of Asia Minor, suffragan of Aphrodisias, or Stauropolis, in Caria

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Mylasa, a titular see of Asia Minor, suffragan of Aphrodisias, or Stauropolis, in Caria. This city, the ancient capital of Caria, was the home of the kings of the province before that honor passed to Halicarnassus. It was situated on a fertile plain at the foot of a mountain on which there are great quarries of the beautiful white marble which was used for the construction or decoration of the city's temples and other buildings. Mylasa was taken by Labienus in the civil wars. In the Graeco Roman period it enjoyed a season of brilliant prosperity, and the three neighboring towns of Olymos, Labranda, and Euremos were included within its limits. Its finest temples were that dedicated to Zeus Osogoa, which recalled to Pausanias (VIII, x, 3) the Acropolis of Athens, and those of Zeus Karios and of Zeus Labrandenos, or Stratios (Strabo, XIV, ii, 23). Mylasa is frequently mentioned by the ancient writers. At the time of Strabo the city boasted two remarkable orators, Euthydemos and Hybreas. Various inscriptions tell us that the Phrygian cults were represented here by the worship of abazios; the Egyptian, by that of Isis and Osiris. There was also a temple of Nemesis.

Among the ancient bishops of Mylasa, was St. Ephrem (fifth century), whose feast was kept on January 23, and whose relics were venerated in the neighboring city of Leuke. Cyril and his successor, Paul, are mentioned by Nicephorus Callistus (Hist. eccl., XIV, 52) and in the Life of St. Xene. Le Quien mentions the names of three other bishops (Oriens christianus, I, 921), and since his time the inscriptions discovered refer to two others, one anonymous (C. I. G., 9271), the other named Basil, who built a church in honor of St. Stephen (Bulletin de correspondance hellenique, XIV, 616). The St. Xene referred to above was a noble virgin of Rome who, to escape the marriage which her parents wished to force upon her, donned male attire, left her country, changed her name of Eusebia to that of Xene (stranger), and lived first on the island of Cos, then at Mylasa. The site of the city is now occupied by a little village called Milas, in Mylassa, inhabited by a few hundred schismatic Greeks, and containing some fine ruins. The Cyclopean walls surrounding the sacred enclosure of the temple of Zeus Osogoa are still visible, as well as a row of fourteen columns. Pococke (Travels, II, 2), in the eighteenth century, saw the temple of Augustus and of Rome, the materials of which have since been taken by the Turks to build a mosque. There is also a two storied tomb, called Distega, believed to be a simplified copy of the famous tomb of Mausolus, who was a native of Mylasa.

S. SALAVILLE


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