The Hellenistic Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina in Karia (336–331 BCE), north of Rhodes on the southwestern Anatolian mainland, presents scholars with a number of interpretive problems. Architectural cousins of this large, pseudodipteral Corinthian temple are found throughout the Hellenistic world, notably at Anatolian sites such as Magnesia and Alabanda. Several of sanctuary's features, however—the subject matter of its sculpture and the inclusion of a place for sacrifice inside its cella—are found nowhere else in the Greek world. Much of the complex's distinctive nature can be attributed to the cult of the goddess worshipped there. While Hekate was venerated throughout the Greek world, she received personal dedications mainly at small shrines located at crossroads or near doorways. Lagina was the only sanctuary where her cult received state sponsorship in the form of a monumental temple and a privileged place in the local pantheon; no direct comparisons exist to aid interpretation of the choices made by the sanctuary's patrons and builders.

In this article, I use theories of cultural biography and experiential architecture to interpret this site, one built to host unique cultic activities. Employing the perspective of an ancient worshipper, I offer a walk-through of the sanctuary, proposing how a person would have moved through the space and encountered its architecture and sculpture via the ritualized movements of state-sponsored festivals. The architecture of the temple and its outbuildings, the subjects and compositions of the sculpted friezes, and the plan of the sanctuary all point to a cohesive message of political and cultural alliances expressed through a prescribed experience of the space. Most of the cultic activities practiced at Lagina, including a festival known as the Festival of the Key, were enacted only here, reflecting both the distinctly local nature of Hekate's cult and the specific architectural framework built to host those rituals.

The concept of the cultural biography was developed by the anthropologist Igor Kopytoff.1 He argued that objects change hands and functions, and therefore significance, over the course their existence. Things do not have innate meanings; rather, the cultures and people to which they belong create their meanings. Cultural biography has typically been applied to portable objects, but when coupled with the methods of experiential architecture, as developed by scholars such as Steen Eiler Rasmussen, it can also be applied to sites such as Lagina. Along with the work of scholars studying ancient architectural experience, my starting point in this essay is Rasmussen's claim that “it is not enough to see architecture; you must experience it.”2 Buildings are given cultural value by those who interact with them.

I begin by reviewing the ancient religious and political life of Lagina alongside archaeological evidence so as to contextualize the visitor's experience of moving through the site. Surviving inscriptions recount the types of activities enacted at Lagina, but they do not indicate exactly where these activities took place. Analysis of the sanctuary's architecture, however, in tandem with the surviving information about Hekate's cult and comparisons to other Greek temples, allows us to re-create worshippers' interactions with the architecture and decoration. By considering the sanctuary through the lens of experience, we may be able to resolve the more puzzling aspects of Lagina's architecture. Architecture and worship of the goddess may thus be reconciled, leading to a fuller understanding of Lagina.

The nature of sacred space in the ancient world makes this approach to Lagina a viable one.3 Because of its divine ownership, sacred land was treated as separate, physically and legally, from the land surrounding it. Behavior acknowledging the special nature of the space was expected of people entering a sanctuary. At Lagina, for instance, one inscription forbids the pasturing of flocks within the boundaries of the temenos (the temple precinct), as the presence of sheep and goats would have detracted from the site's sacred character and undermined its proper functioning.4 Given the special status of sacred land, the boundaries of a temenos were clearly defined by physical markers. In the archaic and classical periods, such boundaries were usually marked by simple structures, including boundary stones or fences. In the Hellenistic period these were monumentalized, and elaborate settings were created for temples, consisting of outbuildings and altars. Built of stone and frequently decorated with architectural sculpture and statuary, these structures served both functional and aesthetic roles.5 All sanctuaries required people to undergo purification before entering so that they would not pass pollution on to the gods, and certain activities—sexual acts and the transportation of the dead, for instance—were strictly prohibited.6 Sanctuaries were thus experienced in a far more restricted manner than were any other types of built spaces.

In the archaic (600–490 BCE) and classical (490–336 BCE) periods, Greek sanctuaries were identified as asylon hieron, indicating their status as both sacred and inviolable. Damaging the property of a god, even during times of war, was a grave transgression. Sanctuaries also acted as places of asylum, sheltering supplicants fleeing religious persecution or even criminals avoiding punishment from the state.7 The status of sanctuaries as outside state control became less clear under the Hellenistic dynasts and Roman emperors.8 Inviolable sanctuaries, places of asylum outside the bounds of civic law, were troubling subversions of absolute power, so limitations were put on the level of asylum they could offer. Temple staff were answerable to local governments as well as to distant kings or emperors. Property of the gods could be confiscated by the government.9 Most important, under the Romans, the inviolability of sanctuaries was not assumed but had to be recognized by the government. Lagina was awarded the status of asylon hieron in 81 BCE, a fact proclaimed proudly in numerous inscriptions that highlight the importance of this honor.10

Construction Date and Political Geography of the Sanctuary of Hekate

Much of the previous scholarship on the Sanctuary of Hekate has focused on establishing its construction date. Proposed dates have ranged from the middle of the second century to the end of the first century BCE, although the current consensus is that its initial construction dates to the last quarter of the second century.11 This is based on stylistic comparisons between the temple's architecture and sculpture and those of other Hellenistic monuments, and on epigraphical and archaeological evidence found at the site, including the stratigraphic data and the datable inscriptions recording priest lists and historic events.

The second-century sanctuary was entirely new construction, but the site of Lagina was likely chosen because of its preestablished religious significance. Archaeological investigations have uncovered the remains of what appears to be a fourth-century BCE peribolos (sanctuary) wall near the borders of the Hellenistic sanctuary, and excavations under the temple have found ashes, burnt figurines, and other religious offerings dating from the fourth to second centuries BCE.12 An inscription assigning the title of priest of Hekate to a local citizen confirms that formal worship of the goddess was established at Lagina no later than the first half of the second century, predating the building of the temple by at least forty years.13 The construction of the Hellenistic sanctuary therefore monumentalized the already established worship of Hekate and cemented it as an intrinsic part of the religious life of the local people.

The entire complex was laid out, and the temple and its sculpture were erected, around 125 BCE, but the sanctuary continued to evolve well beyond that time. It remained active until the fourth century CE, with the majority of buildings constructed by the second century CE. Over time, the temple and its support buildings were rebuilt and remodeled, and new buildings were constructed. Some of the repairs were necessary for the sanctuary to continue functioning. For instance, inscriptions record that the sanctuary was partially reconstructed with Roman funds after the Mithridatic Wars in the 80s BCE and the sack of Lagina by Labienus in 40 BCE.14 In addition, priests at Lagina sometimes constructed new buildings or refurbished old ones, including the sanctuary's propylon and stoas, to show their devotion to the goddess and the extent of their wealth.15

The site of Lagina, consisting of only the Temple of Hekate and the buildings that supported it, was attached to Stratonikeia, a city 10 kilometers to the south (Figure 1). This physical separation between urban center and religious site was a common feature of native Karian civic organization.16 Karia formed a distinct culture within Anatolia, possessing its own language and customs. Before the Hellenistic period, it appears in historical sources as a minor territory under the control of various ruling empires, notably the Persians. While many cities in the neighboring province of Ionia were colonized by Greeks by the archaic period and developed Greek civic identities, Karia's interior resisted Greek influence until the fourth century BCE, and many of its local customs, as well as its language, persisted well into the Hellenistic period.17 In contrast, Greek culture came earlier to Karia's coastal cities, such as Halikarnassos and Knidos, owing to their locations on trade routes and the pro-Greek policies of their rulers.

Figure 1

Map of ancient Greece showing the locations of Lagina and Stratonikeia in southwestern Anatolia, north of Rhodes (Map Data © 2019 Google).

Figure 1

Map of ancient Greece showing the locations of Lagina and Stratonikeia in southwestern Anatolia, north of Rhodes (Map Data © 2019 Google).

Stratonikeia was founded as a Greek colony by members of the Seleucid dynasty in the first half of the third century BCE.18 In its institutions, both political and cultural, the new city was modeled after the Greek polis; the buildings constructed to house these institutions included a bouleuterion, where the civic assembly met, a gymnasium, and a theater. The Karian villages in the area were subsumed into the new city, and a newly integrated population of Greek colonists and Karian natives lived in Stratonikeia.19 Lagina and the surrounding area were part of this incorporation.20

Politically, Stratonikeia was a member of the Chrysaoric League, a federation of Karian villages and cities.21 The league had some local autonomy but was under the control of various empires as its territory changed hands following battles and treaties. Between 197 and 167 BCE, it was under the control of Rhodes.22 Later, it came under the dominion of Rome, which maintained control of the region for the next few hundred years.23 Stratonikeia and Lagina flourished under Roman rule. Stratonikeia minted its own coinage and became a center of wealth and commerce, and the prosperity of the period allowed the construction of the sanctuary at Lagina.24 Lagina became one of the most important sanctuaries in the region, used by citizens from Stratonikeia and other member cities of the Chrysaoric League, and by visitors from the wider Roman world.

Hekate and the Architecture and Sculpture of Her Sanctuary

Many of Lagina's architectural idiosyncrasies can be attributed to the goddess worshipped there. The version of Hekate worshipped at Lagina differed from versions of her found elsewhere in the Greek world. Outside Lagina, Hekate was a chthonic goddess, associated with magic, the underworld, and liminal spaces such as crossroads and the realm between life and death. Accompanied by dogs and armed with a torch and the keys to Hades, she led a band of displaced and troubled souls who hovered between life and death. This portrayal was echoed in art, where her unusual character was manifested in her triple-bodied form (Figure 2). She was not the focus of a large-scale state cult, nor were there myths that featured her as a main figure. When Hekate played a role in official state cult activity, it was a secondary one, and only small altars to her have been found within the sanctuaries of other gods, usually near their entrances.25 She did, however, play an important role in personal religion. Greeks erected shrines to her at doorways and crossroads, and her name appears in curse tablets and spells.26 Individuals would leave offerings known as “Hekate's suppers” at crossroads to appease the goddess and ask for protection from her and the restless souls she oversaw.27 These offerings were usually foodstuffs such as bread, fish, and cakes, but sometimes dogs—not usual sacrificial victims—were dedicated to the goddess.28

Figure 2

Marble statuette of triple-bodied Hekate and the Three Graces, first–second century CE (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Bothmer Purchase Fund, 1987).

Figure 2

Marble statuette of triple-bodied Hekate and the Three Graces, first–second century CE (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Bothmer Purchase Fund, 1987).

Hekate of Lagina had chthonic attributes, and her control over liminal spaces was viewed as comparable to the powers of Zeus in the heavens. But she was represented with a single body, holding her signature attribute, a torch, and her control over the unknown was cast in a positive light. Above all, she was a civic goddess who protected the citizens of Stratonikeia. Hekate was the focus of state-sponsored worship; her image appeared on coins, her name was invoked in political documents, and her priesthood was one of the most prestigious in the region.29

The Sanctuary of Hekate, located on relatively flat land in a broad valley, is surrounded by olive groves, scraggly pine trees, and rocky ground (Figure 3). Nearby hills and mountains dominate views from the sanctuary. In the ancient period, this rural setting would have looked similar to how it does today, but the gleaming white marble of the sanctuary's buildings would have dominated the landscape. A paved road, lined with tombs, wound through the countryside and connected the sanctuary to the city of Stratonikeia.30 The sanctuary was an enclosed space with limited access (Figure 4). Laid out as a truncated rectangle, measuring 150 meters from the west side to the east and 135 meters from the north end to the south, it was framed by a series of stoas.31 The west, north, and east stoas were all set at perpendicular angles to one another. The south stoa was set on a diagonal, bending in toward the interior of the sanctuary as it moved east, shortening the east stoa. The sanctuary's dominant feature was its large, raised, centrally located temple, built in the monumental style popular during the Hellenistic period and measuring 21.1 meters wide by 27.9 meters long (Figure 5). The temple had a pseudodipteral Corinthian colonnade of eight columns on each of its short sides and eleven columns on the two longer sides, making it appear unusually squat in its proportions.32 Most temples of this size were constructed on longer, rectangular foundations.33

Figure 3

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, looking southwest, with the remains of the temple's north façade in the midground (author's photo).

Figure 3

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, looking southwest, with the remains of the temple's north façade in the midground (author's photo).

Figure 4

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, plan with possible paths and destinations for worshippers indicated by dotted lines and stars (author's drawing, after Ahmet Tırpan and Bilal Söğğüt, “Lagina ve Börükçü 2006 Yılı Çalışmaları,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 29 [2007], 403).

Figure 4

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, plan with possible paths and destinations for worshippers indicated by dotted lines and stars (author's drawing, after Ahmet Tırpan and Bilal Söğğüt, “Lagina ve Börükçü 2006 Yılı Çalışmaları,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 29 [2007], 403).

Figure 5

Temple of Hekate at Lagina, east façade (author's drawing).

Figure 5

Temple of Hekate at Lagina, east façade (author's drawing).

The temple's main sculptural decoration was a frieze in the entablature, long since removed from the building and now housed in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.34 The frieze wrapped continuously around all four sides of the temple, with a different subject depicted on each side. Only one of the friezes, that originally on the west side, represents an easily decipherable subject: the battle of the gods and giants. The subjects of the other three friezes are less clear. Most scholars think the east frieze represents the birth of Zeus, the south a gathering of gods, and the north a treaty between Rome and Karia. These were not commonly represented subjects in the Greek world, and so it is believed that the friezes relate tales of local history or, perhaps, lesser-known stories involving Hekate. Whatever their subjects, the friezes are unique in the corpus of Greek architectural sculpture and must be attributed to the distinctly local nature of Hekate's cult at Lagina.

In front of the temple's entrance on the east side, across a paved court, stood the altar of Hekate. The altar had a different orientation than the temple, with its front angled slightly toward the west. The altar was a monumental structure, and at 15 meters by 20 meters, it was almost as large as the temple itself.35 The altar table, which lay at the center of the rectangular altar building, was surrounded on four sides by a Corinthian colonnade. Like the temple, the altar was built entirely of marble and lavishly decorated with sculpted friezes. This type of large-scale, heavily decorated altar was popular in the Hellenistic period, and numerous sanctuaries, including those at Priene, Kos, and Magnesia, included similarly ornate altars within their borders.

Fragments of the altar's architectural sculpture have been found, but their original locations are currently unknown. A few of the surviving pieces belonged to a small frieze measuring half a meter in height, while two other blocks, which depict life-size figures, must have come from a different frieze.36 Their fragmentary nature and lack of recognizable iconography make it difficult to identify their subject matter conclusively. Most scholars believe both friezes represented gatherings of deities.37 Their close stylistic and compositional resemblance to the temple frieze suggest that they were made by the artists who carved the temple sculptures or by others who wished to emulate the work of those artists. The altar most likely dates to the same period as the temple—that is, to the second century BCE.

The sanctuary's large propylon (10 meters by 15 meters) was located on the southeastern corner of the temenos and took the unusual form of a long, apsidal rectangle (Figure 6; see Figure 4). The entire structure was raised above the ground level.38 The propylon appears to have been part of the original second century BCE plan for the sanctuary; however, it went through several reconstructions. The majority of the surviving propylon dates to the first century BCE and was likely part of a restoration financed by the Roman emperor Augustus and referenced in an inscription on the propylon's lintel. Its apsidal western half, however, appears to be a later addition, which the site's excavator dates to the second century CE.39 An inscription mentions that a priest of Hekate, M. Ulpis Herakleitos, dedicated a propylon to the goddess. The man's name, Ulpis, a reference to the Roman emperor Trajan's family, has prompted scholars to date his lifetime to the second century CE.40 He may therefore have paid for the addition of the apsidal section to the propylon.

Figure 6

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, propylon, looking northwest from the east stoa (author's photo).

Figure 6

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, propylon, looking northwest from the east stoa (author's photo).

The sanctuary's four Doric stoas, framing the temenos, faced into the center of the site, each with a single row of columns fluted only on their upper sections (Figure 7).41 The metopes were left plain, and it appears that little, if any, sculptural decoration was included on the buildings. These stoas probably served as support buildings, providing space for storage of votive objects and offices for the temple staff. That they were considered an integral part of the property of the goddess is reinforced by the discovery in the west stoa of roof tiles inscribed with Hekate's name.42 Archaeological evidence indicates that the stoas were part of the temple's original design, but they went through several restorations over the years. The east stoa shows evidence that its columns and entablature once collapsed following a fire.43 Inscriptions from the sanctuary also record donations by priests and their families for the construction or restoration of the stoas. Kleinomakhos, son of Drakon and priest of Hekate, gave six thousand drachmas for the construction of one unspecified stoa, while Aristea, son of Aetion and priest of Hekate, gave an unknown amount of money for the west stoa.44 These inscriptions highlight the importance of the goddess and her sanctuary for the local community. The entire community of Stratonikeia worshipped Hekate, and it was the duty of wealthy citizens to maintain and beautify her sanctuary.

Figure 7

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, west stoa, showing steps and partially reconstructed columns (author's photo).

Figure 7

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, west stoa, showing steps and partially reconstructed columns (author's photo).

Walking through the Sanctuary of Hekate

The majority of visitors to the Sanctuary of Hekate, especially those who traveled to Lagina as part of religious processions, would have approached the site via the sacred road from Stratonikeia.45 Despite the sanctuary's religious importance, most citizens would not have visited the temple frequently. The 10-kilometer distance between Stratonikeia and Lagina would have prevented most people from visiting daily to make dedications or offer prayers to the goddess.46 On most days the only people at the sanctuary were the temple staff and their families; all necessary maintenance and daily rituals appear to have been undertaken by “the people who lived within the boundaries of the sanctuary.”47 Additionally, two children's choirs were appointed to sing hymns to the goddess. One group of children, selected annually from among the families living in the sanctuary, sang the goddess's praises at Lagina. A similar choir consisting of thirty youths selected from the families of Stratonikeia sang the praises of both Hekate and Zeus every day in the city's bouleuterion.48 That it was necessary to have two choirs highlights the distance between Lagina and Stratonikeia and indicates that citizens did not need to travel to Lagina daily to worship the goddess; instead, they could conduct small rituals closer to home.

Most of the population of Stratonikeia and its surrounding villages probably entered the sanctuary only during festivals of the goddess, which took place throughout the year and were major civic events. At Lagina, the most important festivals were the genethlia, which celebrated Hekate's birth, and the kleidos agoge, the Festival of the Key. The genethlia took place on the thirtieth of each month, with a larger ceremony occurring once a year, while the kleidos agoge, the larger and more important festival, was celebrated annually.49 On these occasions, people would have been expected to move through the sacred space in patterns prescribed by ritual. During the kleidos agoge, which lasted several days, games were played, music was performed, hymns to the goddess were sung, and sacrifices were made. The highlight of the rites was the Procession of the Key, in which the kleidophoros, or key bearer—a young daughter of the priest of Hekate—carried the key in a procession from its normal resting place at Lagina along the road to Stratonikeia. While in Stratonikeia, visitors made sacrifices to the goddess at an altar to Hekate, probably located inside the bouleuterion, before the key was returned to the goddess's main temple and further celebrations were enacted.50

The road from Stratonikeia to Lagina ended at the sanctuary's monumental propylon. This consisted of three separate doors—a large one at center and two narrower ones on either side. The jambs of the middle door were highly decorated with floral and linear designs, and an inscription was carved across the lintel above. Written in Greek and still visible, it reads:

The Emperor Caesar, son of a god, the godly Sebastos, father of the nation, whose piety excels everywhere, after the profanity against the goddess Hekate, provided from himself for her, foreseeing the truthful idea that from the beginning gods have lived among men.51

In its formal and formulaic language, this states that Augustus, called by the Greek title Sebastos, paid for the restoration of the sanctuary, probably after its sack by Labienus in 40 BCE. The inscription's conspicuous placement ensured that it was one of the first things visitors to the sanctuary would have seen, and its purposefully vague language implied that the entire sanctuary was a gift from the emperor to the people of Stratonikeia—this despite archaeological evidence showing that Augustus paid for the restoration of only part of the sanctuary, perhaps only the propylon.

Walking through the doorway into the interior of the sanctuary, visitors would have next crossed a large rectangular porch and passed through a small, two-columned portico before descending ten steps to the floor of the sanctuary. The physical action of passing through the monumental doorway and walking down the steps would have reinforced the transition from profane to sacred space that the worshippers had just undertaken. As they descended the stairs, they would have prepared themselves to step onto sacred ground and to observe the associated restrictions on their behavior. If they had looked back, they would have seen that the façade of the propylon resembled that of a small Ionic temple, echoing the façade of the Temple of Hekate and emphasizing the sacred nature of the space.

Having completed this entrance sequence, the visitors would have continued down the sacred road into the interior of the sanctuary. The first few meters beyond the propylon were lined with orthostats (upright stone blocks) on which inscriptions were carved, recounting gifts made to the sanctuary and important moments in its history. In addition, surviving fragments of freestanding sculpture indicate that statues decorated the area, most probably located in niches in the walls of the propylon and above the orthostats.52 Worshippers would have seen these inscriptions and statues honoring important local citizens and been reminded of their own civic and religious duties and of the importance of the sanctuary to their community.

At this point, the visitors would have had an uninterrupted view of the entire sanctuary (Figure 8). This first view of the large, ornate temple and its altar framed by stoas would have had a powerful impact on worshippers entering the sanctuary. As indicated by numerous inscriptions mentioning dedications to the goddess (in the form of new construction and building maintenance), the builders and temple staff were aware that a large part of the sanctuary's appeal was its visual and artistic character. This initial vista was intended to provide an impressive introduction.

Figure 8

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, looking northwest from the propylon, with commemorative orthostats in the foreground and remains of temple and altar in the background (author's photo).

Figure 8

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, looking northwest from the propylon, with commemorative orthostats in the foreground and remains of temple and altar in the background (author's photo).

Inscriptions and archaeological evidence indicate that small structures occupied some of the site's ample open space. These included houses for the temple staff, a small market for provisions, small shrines for the god Serapis and the deified Augustus, and Hekate's sacred grove.53 The original locations of most of these remain undetermined, and so it is unclear how visitors to the sanctuary would have viewed them. The small shrines and sculptural dedications were most likely located on the pavement near the altar and temple, as was typical in Greek sanctuaries. The other buildings were probably tucked off to the sides of the complex in order to preserve the aesthetics and functionality of the sanctuary's open space.

After entering the sanctuary, most worshippers participating in major festivals would have headed to the south stoa or to the courtyard between the altar and temple (see Figure 4). These buildings, the largest and most impressive on the site, were designed to accommodate the crowds who came for the large festivals. Other worshippers might have headed to the open area between the north stoa and the temple and altar. While the creation of impressive architectural settings was common in Hellenistic sanctuaries, Lagina stands alone in the amount of empty space left between the framing stoas and the temple itself.54 The reasons for this may have been related to the sanctuary's particular functions. Because Lagina was located outside the city, all of its rites had to be performed inside the sanctuary itself. There were no other locations in the immediate vicinity where the activities associated with Hekate's cult could take place. It was thus necessary for the space within the stoas to be both plentiful and flexible, so that during festivals temporary structures could be erected for activities such as ritual processions, dining, and the offering of sacrifices. The largest open area, located between the temple and the north stoa, would have been the most logical place for these structures. Worshippers may have entered the sanctuary, walked around the east side of the altar, and come to this part of the sanctuary to take part in communal events.

The temple's north frieze was visible only from this part of the sanctuary, and as it was an integral part of the building's sculptural program, it can be assumed that the builders expected worshippers to go to the north side of the sanctuary for some religious rites. The frieze depicted soldiers and Amazons interacting peacefully, along with figures preparing for a religious rite and sacrifice in an allegorical depiction of a treaty between Rome and the cities of Asia Minor.55 Worshippers would have seen their goddess wearing a polos headdress, a symbol of her protective role, in the central scene, standing beside a soldier and an Amazon shaking hands, as she oversaw the treaty and, with her libation dish, blessed its outcome (Figure 9).56 Hekate was thus shown in her role as a protector of the local population, which would have had significance for all the townspeople who had journeyed from Stratonikeia to Lagina to worship her.

Figure 9

North frieze from the Temple of Hekate at Lagina, possibly depicting a treaty between Rome and Karia, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (photo by W. Schiele; negative no. D-DAI-IST-78-275, DAI Istanbul).

Figure 9

North frieze from the Temple of Hekate at Lagina, possibly depicting a treaty between Rome and Karia, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (photo by W. Schiele; negative no. D-DAI-IST-78-275, DAI Istanbul).

The functions of the south stoa, altar, and temple are easier to reconstruct than the uses of the space on the north side of the sanctuary, and it is clear that these areas were intended to be used during festivals. To reach the south stoa, most worshippers would have turned left immediately after passing the row of orthostats beyond the propylon. The main structure of the south stoa appeared similar to its neighbors. However, it was fronted by a deep staircase of twelve steps that ran its entire 90-meter length (Figure 10).57 The steps of the south stoa appear to have functioned more as seating than as staircase.58 Such monumental steps were common to Greek sanctuaries, where they played an integral role in the performance and viewing of rituals.59 That the steps at Lagina were intended for seating and viewing is supported by their depth and height, which make them difficult to climb. Visitors could have used a narrow section of shorter steps on the west end to access their seats, an arrangement similar to that found in modern amphitheaters. The steps at Lagina would have provided a prime viewing location for any rituals or performances taking place inside the sanctuary. In addition, large festivals were community events, and the steps provided a space where people could interact with one another as well as with the rituals. During the rites, there would have been moments of group participation and informal chatting as people found their seats. Gatherings on the steps would have fostered a shared sense of community and highlighted the importance of Hekate and her rites to the local population.

Figure 10

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, steps of the south stoa and reconstructed columns of the west stoa (author's photo).

Figure 10

Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina, current state, steps of the south stoa and reconstructed columns of the west stoa (author's photo).

For worshippers sitting on the steps, the temple, located 25 to 30 meters away, would have formed the background to any rituals taking place in the open space between the temple and the steps. The building's monumentality and elaborate sculpture would have emphasized the importance and sanctity of the rites. Rising 4 meters above the ground, the steps provided a good angle for viewing the south and west sides of the frieze, which was just under a meter in height and located approximately 10 meters above ground level.60 For worshippers standing at the top of the steps in the center of the stoa, the south frieze, just above eye level, would have been visible in its entirety. At this distance, many details would have been obscured, but with the frieze's original coloration in place, the overall composition would have been clear.

Scholars have struggled to understand the subject of the south frieze, but when considered in terms of how the frieze would have appeared from the steps, the meaning becomes clearer. The frieze had no scenes of action; rather, it depicted an assembly of gods (Figure 11). The gods were divided into groups of standing figures gathered around one or two figures seated on rocks, low chairs, or, in a few cases, elaborate thrones.61 The Karian and Olympian gods, who would have been identifiable to worshippers, would have appeared to have been watching and participating in the rituals of Hekate—in effect, joining the worshippers seated on the steps. The presence of these deities would have highlighted the centrality of Hekate in the cosmos, emphasizing the importance of the rituals taking place within her sanctuary.

Figure 11

South frieze from the Temple of Hekate at Lagina, depicting a gathering of gods, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (photo by W. Schiele; negative no. D-DAI-IST-78-250, DAI Istanbul).

Figure 11

South frieze from the Temple of Hekate at Lagina, depicting a gathering of gods, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (photo by W. Schiele; negative no. D-DAI-IST-78-250, DAI Istanbul).

The central place of Hekate within the divine pantheon would have been emphasized also by the west frieze, which was visible in its entirety from the seats of the south stoa that were farthest to the west. Many of the details would have been difficult to see, since the frieze was between 40 and 50 meters away at an oblique angle, but the subject matter—the Gigantomachy—was frequently depicted in Greek art and would have been understood by ancient viewers. Worshippers would have seen their goddess, the female figure standing in the center of the frieze, holding a torch and surrounded by the other gods, taking part in one of the most important events in divine history (Figure 12).62 The frieze places Hekate, and by extension her temple, in the center of Greek religion and mythology, reinforcing the message of the south frieze. As worshippers took part in the rites of their goddess, they would have reflected on the scenes depicted in the friezes, which glorified her power and enhanced their own religious experience.

Figure 12

West frieze from the Temple of Hekate at Lagina, depicting the battle of the gods and giants, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (photo by W. Schiele; negative no. D-DAI-IST-78-263, DAI Istanbul).

Figure 12

West frieze from the Temple of Hekate at Lagina, depicting the battle of the gods and giants, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (photo by W. Schiele; negative no. D-DAI-IST-78-263, DAI Istanbul).

A position on the east end of the south stoa steps would have afforded another view of the south and west ends of the altar. The altar table, seen through the entrance to the altar on the north side, would have been visible from certain seats, allowing visitors to view any sacrifices occurring there. A better view, however, would have been available from the paved court that occupied the space between the temple and the altar. This courtyard, approximately 30 meters by 30 meters, was a key destination for worshippers entering the sanctuary, especially those taking part in formal rituals, and the space was clearly intended to accommodate large groups of worshippers. People could stand there surrounded by their families and neighbors as they took part in communal rites. A parallel exists at the Temple of Artemis at Magnesia on the Meander in Ionia, where a large, open space between the sanctuary's propylon and its altar acted as an assembly area. Carved into marble paving slabs of that courtyard were inscriptions naming groups of worshippers. Group members were expected to stand in the locations marked by their group names as they participated in the rituals of Artemis.63 Similar inscriptions have not been found at Lagina, but based on the common location and size of these courts, and on the types of rituals enacted within the sanctuaries, it is likely that Lagina's court operated similarly. Worshippers standing in the court would have observed and participated in rituals taking place in both the altar and the temple, as the interiors of both were visible from the court (Figure 13). The entrance to the altar faced the entrance of the temple so that worshippers could see into both buildings and the cult statue inside the temple could view sacrifices, an arrangement that allowed the goddess to participate as well.64

Figure 13

Altar of Hekate at Lagina, current state, west façade, as seen from the steps of the temple's east side, showing the paved court between the temple and altar and the remains of the west façade and the west steps of the altar (author's photo).

Figure 13

Altar of Hekate at Lagina, current state, west façade, as seen from the steps of the temple's east side, showing the paved court between the temple and altar and the remains of the west façade and the west steps of the altar (author's photo).

At Lagina, as at most major religious festivals in the Greek world, the sacrifice of animals was the culminating event. Animals were led to the altar in elaborate processions before prayers were offered and the animals slaughtered. The butchered animals were burned on the altar, and fumes drifted up to the heavens, where the gods feasted on the fat and bones. Cooked meat was distributed to the worshippers for feasting.65 This type of sacrifice differed from how Hekate was worshipped elsewhere in the Greek world (typically with small offerings of bread, fish, and cakes). The scale of Hekate's worship at Lagina changed the manner in which she was worshipped, and just as her cult was monumentalized at Lagina, so was her altar and its associated sacrifices. Worshippers standing in the courtyard would have participated in these sacrifices by watching the slaughtering and butchering of the animals, smelling the cooking meat, and speaking and moving in prayer as directed by the priests.

If the worshippers had turned around, the east façade of the Temple of Hekate would have filled their field of vision. The eight Corinthian columns on the building's front had slender and elaborate acanthus capitals that added to the temple's highly decorative appearance. An empty doorway occupied the center of each pediment.66 While floral decoration covered various elements of the temple's façade, including the antae of the pronaos and sections of the entablature, the worshippers' attention would have been drawn to the frieze—the only figural sculpture on the façade. The east frieze, depicting the birth of Zeus, would have been 8.5 meters above the worshippers' heads when viewed from outside the temple. Viewers standing near the altar could have seen the frieze in its entirety from a single vantage point, but many of the details would have been obscured. They would have needed to move closer to understand the iconography of the scene fully, just as they would have needed to circulate to see all the different sections of the frieze in detail.

At the far edges of the frieze, worshippers would have seen the various gods waiting on rocky Olympus for the birth of Rhea's child, Zeus.67 The birth is shown at the frieze's center, just above the doorway (Figure 14). The left section depicts Rhea on her birthing couch surrounded by the Kouretes, her followers, who bang their drums to drown out the cries of the newborn as he is taken away to be raised in secret before fulfilling the prophecy of overthrowing his father, Kronos. To the right of Rhea, Hekate dashes away from the birthing couch, her legs bent and spread apart as if she is running, an impression confirmed by her billowing cloak. She carries a rock bundled like a baby, which she is taking to Kronos, who sits on his throne waiting for his newborn son. As she runs, Hekate turns her head anxiously to look back at Rhea. As the central figure in the frieze, Hekate provides the connection between the two scenes.

Figure 14

East frieze from the Temple of Hekate at Lagina, depicting the birth of Zeus, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (photos by W. Schiele; negative nos. D-DAI-IST-71-88 and D-DAI-IST-71-90, DAI Istanbul).

Figure 14

East frieze from the Temple of Hekate at Lagina, depicting the birth of Zeus, Istanbul Archaeological Museum (photos by W. Schiele; negative nos. D-DAI-IST-71-88 and D-DAI-IST-71-90, DAI Istanbul).

Most worshippers at the temple would have been familiar with the story of Zeus's birth and would have recognized it, even though it was rarely represented in Greek art. Well-educated worshippers would have known Hesiod's version of the myth from the Theogony and could have drawn comparisons between the author's description and the visual representation on the frieze.68 In the Theogony, Hekate plays no role in the birth of Zeus. However, Hesiod does praise Hekate extensively and describes her as a kourotrophos, a nurse or a caretaker of children, and as a particular favorite of Zeus.69 Thus, she presents a perfect addition to the scene and a logical choice for the delivery of the child. Since there was little mythology that related directly to Hekate, the birth of Zeus was an apt subject for the temple's front frieze. As on the west frieze, Hekate's inclusion here glorifies and highlights her as an integral actor in myths central to all Greek religion. The temple's four friezes created a unified program to promote worship of the goddess, encouraging supplicants to meditate on her different roles and powers. Examining the friezes from the viewpoint of experience reveals that the sculptures were more than simply architectural decoration; they were a key part of the larger program of the sanctuary.

Hekate's central position above the doorway also connected the frieze to the temple's cult statue, which, given its placement at the rear of the cella opposite the doorway, would have been visible to worshippers standing outside.70 It is unclear how often worshippers would have gone inside the temple to view the statue or offer prayers.71 Access to the interior of the Temple of Hekate was undoubtedly limited, at least to some extent. An inscription from the site, dating to the imperial period, records the gift of Phanias, son of Aristeas: a set of bronze doors to secure the temple.72 Archaeological evidence makes clear, however, that at least some people would have gone inside to participate in rituals. Worshippers would have ascended the five steps leading from the ground outside to the temple floor (1.5 meters in height total) and moved through the outer colonnade. The 4-meter aisle space between the outer colonnade and the cella walls, open and accessible to all, may have been used by small groups for cultic activities, possibly the singing of hymns or recitation of prayers (Figure 15).73 Inscriptions carved into the cella's exterior walls and visible from the aisle indicate that this space was intended to be visited. Inscribed on the antae of the main doorway was a list of priests who served Hekate.74 Priests came from prominent local families, and each served a term of one year. This record of their service was a reminder of the importance of the goddess and the sanctuary to the local community, and of the status and contributions of the men whose names were listed.

Figure 15

Temple of Hekate at Lagina, current state, space between columns and south cella wall (author's photo).

Figure 15

Temple of Hekate at Lagina, current state, space between columns and south cella wall (author's photo).

The largest and most important of the inscriptions was the Senatus consultum de Stratonicensibus, a decree passed by the Roman Senate in 81 BCE rewarding the Stratonikeians for siding with Rome in the Mithridatic Wars. Approximately 7 meters in length and occupying nearly half of one of the long cella walls, this inscription could hardly have been overlooked by anyone who came near. The decree stated that Stratonikeia was to be monetarily compensated and given certain political rights and privileges. The Sanctuary of Hekate, which suffered great destruction when it was sacked by Mithridates's troops, was declared inviolable and recognized as an official place of asylum. Hekate the Illustrious Savior, as she was called here, was to be honored in a new festival, the Hekatesia-Romaea, which she would share with Roma, the divine incarnation of Rome. The festival was identified as an important Panhellenic event, recognized by a long list of Greek cities.75 This inscription would have reminded worshippers of the importance of their temple and their goddess to cities across the region and encouraged them to celebrate the benefits of their political relationship with Rome.

Some worshippers would have moved inside the temple to participate in cultic sacrifices. The presence of a pit with evidence of grape pollen in the center of the cella, beneath the floor, suggests that people might have poured libations into the pit or placed small food offerings there, in the manner in which Hekate and other chthonic deities were worshipped elsewhere in the ancient world.76 Yet such actions would have been highly unusual here: I am aware of no other sanctuary in the Greek world where sacrifices were made inside a temple itself. However, this was the Greek world's only temple to Hekate, one bearing several unique features, so it is possible that such sacrifices were made here. Major sacrifices happened on the exterior altar, while those that referenced Hekate's chthonic nature—rituals strictly limited in both scope and participation—likely took place inside. Yet few visitors to Lagina would have entered the cella. Instead, they would have gathered in the open spaces of the sanctuary or sat on the southern stoa steps, viewing the temple from the outside.


At a glance, the Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagina follows Hellenistic architectural trends in its pseudodipteral temple design and the monumental setting of stoas and a propylon. However, the peculiar requirements of the cult of Hekate and the local community had powerful effects on the sanctuary's design. An examination of the sanctuary's uses and the particularities of its functions brings these effects to light. As the only monumental sanctuary devoted to Hekate in the ancient world, Lagina was unique; architecture and sculpture addressed cultic needs through multiple spaces for sacrifice, large open spaces for religious activities such as the Festival of the Key, and the subject matter of the temple friezes. These features combined to represent Laginetan Hekate as a civic goddess whose liminal powers protected her worshippers.

Studying usage elucidates the concerns and identities of the people who built, maintained, and worshipped in this sanctuary. By aligning their sanctuary with Hellenistic architectural trends, the people of Stratonikeia demonstrated their desire to be seen as part of the Greek world. Yet the citizens' stated loyalty to Rome, their political overlord, is visible throughout the sanctuary in inscriptions and in the iconography of the temple's north frieze, while the continued importance of local religious rites is seen in the creation of unique spaces for Hekate's cult. Careful consideration of design and experience reveals how these different elements combined to create a sanctuary that functioned well, grew, and served its local community for more than five hundred years.



Igor Kopytoff, “The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization as Process,” in The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, ed. Arjun Appadurai (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 3–63.


Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Experiencing Architecture, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1964), 33. On experience and ancient architecture, see Mary B. Hollingshead, Shaping Ceremony: Monumental Steps and Greek Architecture (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2015); Bonna D. Wescoat and Robert G. Ousterhout, eds., Architecture of the Sacred: Space, Ritual, and Experience from Classical Greece to Byzantium (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). The walk-through presented here was inspired by Diane Favro, The Urban Image of Augustan Rome (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).


On how temple buildings were used and accessed, see Peter E. Corbett, “Greek Temples and Greek Worshippers,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London 17 (1970), 149–58; Beate Dignas, “A Day in the Life of a Greek Sanctuary,” in A Companion to Greek Religion, ed. Daniel Ogden (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2007), 163–89.


George Bean, Turkey beyond the Meander: An Archaeological Guide (London: Benn, 1971), 98.


On Hellenistic temple settings, see Phyllis Williams Lehmann, “The Setting of Hellenistic Temples,” JSAH 13, no. 4 (Dec. 1954), 15–20; Bonna D. Wescoat, “New Directions in Hellenistic Sanctuaries,” in A Companion to Greek Architecture, ed. Margaret M. Miles (Chichester: John Wiley, 2016), 424–39; Frederick E. Winter, Studies in Hellenistic Architecture (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), 17–24, 207–18.


Susan Guettel Cole, Theoi Megaloi: The Cult of the Great Gods at Samothrace (Leiden: Brill, 1984), 36.


On asylia, see Kent J. Rigsby, Asylia: Territorial Inviolability in the Hellenistic World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996); Ulrich Sinn, “Greek Sanctuaries as Places of Refuge,” in Greek Sanctuaries: New Approaches, ed. Nanno Marinatos and Robin Hägg (London: Routledge, 1993), 70–87.


On Hellenistic sanctuaries, see Milena Melfi and Olympia Bobou, eds., Hellenistic Sanctuaries between Greece and Rome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).


A law enacted by the Romans in 22 CE limited the scope of asylia. See Beate Dignas, Economy of the Sacred in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), esp. 117–19; Rigsby, Asylia, 2.


On Lagina as a place of asylia, see Rigsby, Asylia, 418–27.


A date in the 80s BCE following the sack of the sanctuary by Mithridates was first proposed by Chamonard and followed by Junghölter. A date in 27 BCE, with money provided by Augustus, was proposed by Mendel. A date in the late second century BCE was first suggested by Schober and supported by Laumonier, Hoepfner, Dinsmoor, Osada, Baumeister, van Bremen, and Tırpan, who proposed a longer period of construction lasting into the first century BCE. See Joseph Chamonard, “Les sculptures de la frise du temple d'Hecate à Lagina,” Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 19 (1895), 260–62; Ulrich Junghölter, Zur Komposition der Lagina-Friese und zur Deutung des Nordfrieses (Frankfurt: Lang, 1989); Gustave Mendel, Catalogue des sculptures grecques, romaines et byzantines (Constantinople: Musée Imperial, 1912), 448–51; Arnold Schober, Der Fries des Hekateions von Lagina (Vienna: R. M. Rohrer, 1933), 15–26; Alfred Laumonier, Cultes indigènes en Carie (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1958), 351–58; Wolfram Hoepfner, “Bauten und Bedeutung des Hermogenes,” in Hermogenes und die Hochhellenistische Architektur, ed. Wolfram Hoepfner and Ernst-Ludwig Schwandner (Mainz: P. von Zabern, 1990), 31–33; William Bell Dinsmoor, The Architecture of Ancient Greece, 3rd ed. (London: Batsford, 1950), 282; Toshihio Osada, Stilentwicklung hellenistischer Relieffriese (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1993), 74–79; Peter Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions von Lagina (Istanbul: Ege Yayınları, 2007), 11–16; Riet van Bremen, “The Inscribed Documents on the Temple of Hekate at Lagina and the Date and Meaning of the Temple Frieze,” in Hellenistic Karia, ed. Riet van Bremen and Jan-Mathiue Carbon (Paris: Diffusion de Boccard, 2010), 483–503; Ahmet Tırpan, Zeliha Gider, and Aytekin Büyüközer, “The Temple of Hekate at Lagina,” in Dipteros and Pseudodipteros, ed. Tekla Schulz (Istanbul: Ege Yayınları, 2012), 181–202.


Using three inscriptions as evidence, most scholars assume that the fourth-century sanctuary must have belonged to Hekate. There are significant lacunae in the inscriptions, however. On the archaeological evidence, see Tırpan et al., “Temple of Hekate,” 196–97; Aytekin Büyüközer, “The Sanctuary of Hekate at Lagin in the 4th Century BC,” Arkhaia Anatolika 1 (2018), 15–30. For the inscriptions, see M. Çetin Şahin, Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia (Bonn: Habelt, 1981–82), inscriptions 501 and 504; M. Çetin Şahin, “New Inscriptions from Lagina, Stratonikeia and Panamara,” Epigraphica Anatolica 34 (2002), inscription 1.


The inscription records that Menophilos Leontas, who served as a priest of Hekate, was now serving as a priest of Helios and Rhodes. It therefore must date to between 197 and 167 BCE, when Karia was under Rhodian control. See Paul-François Foucart, “Inscriptions de la Carie,” Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 14 (1890), inscription 4; Şahin, Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia, inscription 504.


Şahin, Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia, inscription 505; Vincent Gabrielsen, “The Rhodian Peraia in the Third and Second Centuries BC,” Classica et Mediaevalia 51 (2000), 167; Ronald T. Marchese, The Historical Archaeology of Northern Caria (Oxford: BAR Publishing, 1989), 99; Bean, Turkey beyond the Meander, 89; Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 360; Meral Ortaç, “Die hellenistischen und römischen Propyla in Kleinasien” (PhD diss., Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 2001), 30.


Inscriptions from Lagina, notably the list of priests on the temple's cella walls, mention the construction of these edifices. See Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 372–91; van Bremen, “Inscribed Documents.”


On Karian civic organization, see Mehmet Çetin Şahin, The Political and Religious Structure in the Territory of Stratonikeia in Caria (Ankara: Safak Matbaasi, 1976), 24–25; Simon Hornblower, Mausolus (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 10–11; Riet van Bremen, “The Demes and Phylai of Stratonikeia in Karia,” Chiron 30 (2000), 390; Pierre Debord, “Cité grecque-village carien: Des usages du mot koinon,” Studi ellenistici 15 (2003), 115–80; Gabrielsen, “Rhodian Peraia,” 132–59; Marchese, Historical Archaeology, 73.


On the Karian language, see Ignacio J. Adiego, The Carian Language (Leiden: Brill, 2007). For the history of Karia, see Hornblower, Mausolus, 1–106.


Stephanos of Byzantium, writing in the sixth century CE, stated that Stratonikeia was founded in honor of Stratonike, the wife of the Seleucid king Antiochos I. This, along with epigraphic and archaeological evidence, has led most scholars to conclude that the city was founded by Antiochos I in the 260s. John Ma has proposed the alternative theory that it was founded by Antiochos II in the 250s or 240s. See John Ma, Antiochus III and the Cities of Western Asia Minor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 277–78; Louis Robert and Jeanne Robert, “Deux inscriptions de Carie,” Mélanges Isidore Lévy: Annuaire de l'Institut de philologie et d'histoire orientales et slaves 13 (1955), 553–68; Pierre Debord, “Questions stratonicéennes,” in Les cités d'Asie mineure occidentale au IIe siècle a.C., ed. Alain Bresson and Raymond Descat (Bordeaux: Ausonius Éditions, 2001), 157–72; Getzel M. Cohen, The Hellenistic Settlements in Europe, the Islands, and Asia Minor (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 268–69; Şahin, Political and Religious Structure, 32–37.


The integration of Greek and Karian populations in Stratonikeia is debated by scholars. See Robert and Robert, “Deux inscriptions,” 553–72; Şahin, Political and Religious Structure, 33; van Bremen, “Demes and Phylai,” 389–401; Pierre Debord, “Essai sur la géographie historique de la région de Stratonicée,” Mélanges Pierre Lévêque 8 (1994), 107–21.


Şahin, Political and Religious Structure, 17–24; Debord, “Essai sur la géographie historique,” 117–19; Jeremy LaBuff, Polis Expansion and Elite Power in Hellenistic Karia (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2016), 131–39.


On the Chrysaoric League, see Şahin, Political and Religious Structure, 8–11, 44–45; Gabrielsen, “Rhodian Peraia,” 157–61.


On Karia under Rhodes, see Ma, Antiochus III, 277–78; Gabrielsen, “Rhodian Peraia,” esp. 171–72; Gary Reger, “The Relations between Rhodes and Caria from 246 to 167 BC,” in Hellenistic Rhodes: Politics, Culture, and Society, ed. Vincent Gabrielsen et al. (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 1999), 76–97; Riet van Bremen, “Networks of Rhodians in Karia,” Mediterranean Historical Review 22, no. 1 (2007), 113–32.


On the relationship between Rome and the Chrysaoric League, see Bean, Turkey beyond the Meander, 90; Marchese, Historical Archaeology, 99; Cohen, Hellenistic Settlements, 99; Gabrielsen, “Rhodian Peraia,” 167.


Bean, Turkey beyond the Meander, 90; Cohen, Hellenistic Settlements, 269.


An inscribed altar to Hekate was found in the Sanctuary of Apollo in Miletos. See Vanessa B. Gorman, Miletos, the Ornament of Ionia: A History of the City to 400 BCE (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001), 99–100.


On Hekate and her worship, see Sarah Iles Johnston, Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate's Role in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990); Theodore Kraus, Hekate: Studien zu Wesen und Bild der Göttin in Kleinasien und Griechenland (Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1960); Ilmo Robert von Rudloff, Hekate in Ancient Greek Religion (Victoria: Horned Owl, 1999).


Sources that reference Hekate's suppers date as early as the fifth century BCE and continue into the Roman period. See Aristophanes, Frogs lines 1361ff.; Aristophanes, frags. 209 and 851; Sophocles, frag. 734; Demosthenes, “Against Conon” sec. 39; Plutarch, Moralia: Table-Talk secs. 708–9; Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 3.75, 7.126, 8. 57. See also Sarah Iles Johnston, “Crossroads,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 8 (1991), 217–24.


Dogs were used as sacrifices for Hekate in Sophron, frag. 73; Lycophron, Alexandra line 77; Aristophanes, frags. 209 and 608; Ovid, Fasti 1.389–90; Plutarch, Moralia: Roman Questions sec. 290. A red-figure lekythos (Beazley, ARF2 1204.2) depicts a woman sacrificing a dog at the crossroads. See Rick Strelan, “‘Outside Are the Dogs and the Sorcerers …’—Revelation 22:15,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 33, no. 4 (2003), 149–51.


Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 344–425.


The tombs date between the sixth century BCE and the Byzantine period. See Ahmet Tırpan, “Lagina Hekate Temenosu 1995,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 18 (1996), 309–36; Marie-Henriette Gates, “Archaeology in Turkey,” American Journal of Archaeology 100, no. 2 (1996), 317; Marie-Henriette Gates, “Archaeology in Turkey,” American Journal of Archaeology 101, no. 2 (1997), 283.


The sanctuary is not aligned to the points of the compass. However, most authors have attempted to simplify discussion by identifying the short sides of the temple as the east and west and the longer sides as the north and south. The same naming convention has been applied to the surrounding stoas. I have followed this schema. However, the Turkish archaeological reports switch the naming conventions, calling the short sides of the sanctuary the north and south and the long sides the east and west. These publications maintain the previous naming conventions for the friezes, calling the short sides the east and west and the long sides the north and south.


The stylobate is 17.75 meters by 24.5 meters. See Tırpan et al., “Temple of Hekate,” 183.


Other similar Hellenistic temples in Asia Minor all have more rectangular plans. They include the Temple of Artemis at Magnesia on the Meander, with 8 by 15 columns; the Temple of Apollo at Alabanda, with 8 by 13 columns; and the Temple of Apollo Smintheos at Chryse, with 8 by 14 columns. For Lagina's plan, see Aytekin Böyüközer, “Lagina tapınağı'nın altyapı ve stylobat düzenlemesinde uygulanan oranlar,” Pamukkale University Journal of Social Sciences Institute 7 (2010), 1–14.


Thirty-four blocks, approximately half of the frieze at 41 meters in length, have survived. The frieze would have originally been 83.70 meters in length and 0.93 meters tall. See Pamela A. Webb, Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture: Figural Motifs in Western Anatolia and the Aegean Islands (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996), 108–20; Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions, 8–10.


While a few blocks of the altar frieze have been known since the 1890s, the building was not excavated until the 1990s. See Ahmet Tırpan and Bilal Söğüt, “Koranza Kazı 1998,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 21 (1999), 154–56.


Tırpan has posited that the small frieze blocks actually belonged to a frieze placed at the top of the temple's interior cella walls. Baumeister, however, has asserted that the measurements of the small frieze blocks do not mesh with the dimensions of the cella walls and that the L shape of the two corner blocks indicates that the frieze must have faced outward and would therefore have not fit in the interior of the cella. See Ahmet Tırpan and Bilal Söğüt, “2002 Yılı Lagina Kazıları,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 25 (2003), 90; Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions, 237–40.


The blocks of the small altar frieze measure 0.53 meters in height. See Mendel, Catalogue des sculptures, 536–41; Schober, Der Fries des Hekateions, 105–11; Webb, Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture, 115–16; Brunilde Ridgway, Hellenistic Sculpture II (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000), 118–21; Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions, 229–40; Ahmet Tırpan and Bilal Söğüt, “Hekate Temenosu 2000 Çalışmaları,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 23 (2001), 345–47; Tırpan and Söğüt, “2002 Yılı Lagina Kazıları,” 90. Two blocks, both depicting standing women, survive from the large composition. See Tırpan and Söğut, “Koranza Kazı 1998,” 154–56.


Ahmet Tırpan, “Lagina Hekate Propylonu 1996,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 19 (1997), 173–94; Ortaç, “Die hellenistischen und römischen Propyla,” 31.


Tırpan has argued that the apsidal space was domed. See Ahmet Tırpan and Bilal Söğüt, “Lagina Hekate Temenosu 1999 Yılı Çalışmaları,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 22 (2000), 310–13; Ortaç, “Die hellenistischen und römischen Propyla,” 29–30.


Şahin, Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia, inscription 668; Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 362.


On the stoas, see Zeliha Gider, “Lagina Kuzey Stoanin ön Cephe Düzenlemesi,” in Stratonikeia'dan Lagina'ya: Ahmet Adil Tırpan armağnı, ed. Bilal Söğüt (Istanbul: Ege Yayınları, 2012), 263–80.


On the roof tiles, see Murat Aydaş, “New Inscriptions from Stratonikeia and Its Territory,” Gephyra 6 (2009), 118.


Gates, “Archaeology in Turkey” (1996), 317.


Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 361–62.


There were two other entrances into the sanctuary, both of which provided access into stoas. The first, a simple doorway, was located in the rear of the west stoa. The second, a Doric façade fronted by three columns, was in the rear of the east stoa. It is unclear how often and for what purposes visitors would have used these entrances. See Aytekin Büyüközer, “The South Propylon to the Sanctuary of Hecate at Lagina,” Cedrus: The Journal of Mediterranean Civilisations Studies 3 (2015), 67–87.


Assuming an average walking speed of 4 kilometers per hour, it would have taken a person 2.5 hours to walk from Stratonikeia to Lagina.


This phrase is used in a number of inscriptions. See Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 346; J. Hatzfeld, “Inscriptions de Lagina en Carie,” Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 44, no. 1 (1920), 70–100; Şahin, Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia.


Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 400–402.


The kleidos agoge is sometimes referred to as the kleidophoria or kleidos pompe. On these festivals, see Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 393–98, 416–17; Johnston, Hekate Soteira, 41–42; Pierre Debord, “Religion et société: Les fêtes d'Hécate et de Zeus à Stratonicée de Carie,” in Espaces et pouvoirs dans l'antiquité de l'Anatolie à Gaule: Hommages à Bernard Rémy, ed. Julie Dalaison (Grenoble: CRHIPA: 2007), 239–50.


Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 398–99.


The English translation is mine. The original Greek can be found in Şahin, Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia, inscription 511.


Tırpan and Söğüt, “Lagina Hekate Temenosu 1999,” 310–13; Tırpan, “Lagina Hekate Propylonu 1996,” 173–94; Ortaç, “Die hellenistischen und römischen Propyla,” 29–32; Stephen Mitchell, “Archaeology in Asia Minor 1990–98,” Archaeological Reports 45 (1998–99), 157–58.


For inscriptions mentioning these structures, see Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 360–65; Bean, Turkey beyond the Meander, 96–97. On the shrines to Augustus and Serapis, see Bilal Söğüt, “The Serapis Relief from Lagina,” in Roman Sculpture in Asia Minor, ed. Francesco D'Andria and Ilaria Romeo (Portsmouth, R.I.: Journal of Roman Archaeology, 2011), 294–301; Bilal Söğüt, “Naiskoi from the Sacred Precinct of Lagina Hekate: Augustus and Serapis,” Anodos: Studies of the Ancient World 6–7 (2006–7), 421–31. On the altar to Hekate Soteira Epiphanes and the divine Julius Caesar, see Aydaş, “New Inscriptions,” 119–20.


Pamela Webb argues that the layout of Lagina is similar to that of Hellenistic agoras, which frequently included temples within their boundaries, but offers no explanation for why this choice was made at Lagina. See Webb, Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture, 117.


Most scholars, beginning with Mendel, have posited that the frieze represents a treaty between Rome and Karia. The order of the blocks, the identities of the participants, and which treaty is depicted are debated, however. The most convincing and well-supported theory has been proposed by Baumeister, who argues that the frieze is intended to represent not a specific treaty but rather the peace that Roman political control afforded to the region. In a dissenting opinion, van Bremen has argued that rather than a treaty, the frieze represents a foundation myth that showcases Hekate's importance in the local pantheon. See Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions, 38–61; van Bremen, “Inscribed Documents”; Mendel, Catalogue des sculptures, 446–48; Schober, Der Fries des Hekateions, 72–75; Webb, Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture, 112–13; Junghölter, Zur Komposition der Lagina-Friese, esp. 53–57; Klaus Tuchelt, Frühe Denkmäler Roms in Kleinasien: Beiträge zur archäologischen Uberlieferung aus der Zeit der Republik und des Augustus (Tübingen: E. Wasmuth, 1979), 40–44; Frank Rumscheid, Untersuchungen zur kleinasiatischen Bauornamentik des Hellenismus (Mainz: P. von Zabern 1994), 132–39.


This figure was first identified as Hekate in Schober, Der Fries des Hekateions, 72–75.


Ahmet Tırpan and Bilal Söğüt, “Lagina ve Börükçü 2005 Yılı Çalışmaları,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 28 (2006), 591–93.


Bean, Turkey beyond the Meander, 96; Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 347.


Hollingshead, Shaping Ceremony, esp. 29–32.


The height of the building noted here is based on my own calculations made at the site and on evidence in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, as well as the plans in Mendel, Catalogue des sculptures, 433; Ahmet Tırpan and Bilal Söğüt, “Lagina ve Börükçü 2006 Yılı Çalışmaları,” Kazı Sonucları Toplantısı 29 (2007), 402.


Twelve blocks survive from the south frieze. The order of the blocks is debated, as are the identities of most of the figures. Most scholars believe that the frieze depicts deities, but there is no consensus otherwise. See Mendel, Catalogue des sculptures, 446, 466–69; Schober, Der Fries des Hekateions, 77–79; Junghölter, Zur Komposition der Lagina-Friese, 36–42; Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions, 36–37; Webb, Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture, 110–11; Erika Simon, “Der Laginafries und der Hekatehymnos in Hesiods Theogonie,” Archäologischer Anzeiger 108 (1993), esp. 283–84.


The order of the west frieze blocks is universally accepted, as is the identification of Hekate, which was first made by Mendel. See Chamonard, “Les sculptures de la frise,” 238–62; Mendel, Catalogue des sculptures, 446, 522–31; Schober, Der Fries des Hekateions, 41–45, 76–77; Junghölter, Zur Komposition der Lagina-Friese, 43–47; Webb, Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture, 108–9; Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions, 37–38; Ridgway, Hellenistic Sculpture II, 111–12.


Orhan Bingöl, Magnesia on the Meander: An Archaeological Guide (Istanbul: Homer Kitabevi, 2007), 86–87.


Winter, Studies in Hellenistic Architecture, 19–20.


On Greek sacrifice, see Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, trans. John Raffan (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985), 54–59; Gunnel Ekroth, “Animal Sacrifice in Antiquity,” in The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life, ed. Gordon Lindsay Campbell. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 325–28. Scholars long believed that chthonic (of/in the earth) deities like Hekate received different types of sacrifices than did ouranic (of/in the sky), or Olympian, gods like Zeus. For chthonic gods, animal sacrifices were burned so that the entire animal was consumed, and the sacrificial rites took place at night on low-lying altars or in pits. Liquid offerings were poured into the earth. Recent scholarly reevaluations, however, have argued that the differences between ouranic and chthonic gods and how they received sacrifices are not as clear-cut as previously argued. See Robin Hägg and Brita Alroth, eds., Greek Sacrificial Ritual: Olympian and Chthonian (Stockholm: Aströms Förlag, 2005); Renate Schleiser, “Olympian versus Chthonian Religion,” Scripta Classica Israelica 11 (1991–92), 38–51; Scott Scullion, “Olympian and Chthonian,” Classical Antiquity 13, no. 1 (1994), 75–119; Gunnel Ekroth, “The Importance of Sacrifice: New Approaches to Old Methods,” Kernos 20 (2007), 387–99.


Tırpan et al., “Temple of Hekate,” 191–92. Doorways were part of the pediments of two other Hellenistic temples: the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos and the Temple of Artemis at Magnesia on the Meander. Orhan Bingöl has argued that the doorways at Magnesia allowed the cult statue to be illuminated by moonlight at certain times in an act of epiphany. It is unclear if the doorway at Lagina served a ritual function or if it was included simply to lighten the weight of the pediment. See Orhan Bingöl, “Epiphanie an den Artemistempeln von Ephesos und Magnesia am Mäander,” in 100 Jahre österreichische Forschungen in Ephesos (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1999), 233–40.


Scholars concur on the order of the east frieze blocks, five of which have survived. On the identification of the scene as the birth of Zeus, see Chamonard, “Les sculptures de la frise,” 237; Schober, Der Fries des Hekateions, 70–72; Junghölter, Zur Komposition der Lagina-Friese, 18–22; Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions, 35–36; Webb, Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture, 109–11. On the theory that the frieze depicts the birth of Hekate, see Mendel, Catalogue des sculptures, 446, 485–90. The identification of Hekate was first proposed by Schober and is now widely accepted among scholars. See Schober, Der Fries des Hekateions, 71.


Hesiod, Theogony, lines 453–91.


Hesiod, lines 409–52.


While Hekate's cult statue has been lost, it is likely that the image had the same iconography as the frieze and coinage minted in Stratonikeia. These images show a single-bodied Hekate wearing a peplos and holding a torch. See Dimitris Damaskos, Untersuchungen zu hellenistischen Kultbildern (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1999), 196–97.


Limits on access to the cellae of other sanctuaries have been recorded in literature and inscriptions. These restrictions were usually based on ethnicity, gender, or social status. See Corbett, “Greek Temples,” 150–51.


Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 363.


Corbett suggests that the space in pseudodipteral temples could have been used for songs or prayers, or for cover during foul weather. See Corbett, “Greek Temples,” 153.


The list of priests probably continued on the main cella walls. While the list has not survived intact, sixty-three names can be read, all of which date to the first and second centuries BCE. See Alfred Laumonier, “Recherches sur la chronologies des prêtes de Lagina,” Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 62, no. 1 (1938), 251–84; Laumonier, Cultes indigènes, 358–59; van Bremen, “Inscribed Documents.”


The date of the inscription is established by the title given to the Roman general Sulla, which appears in this particular format only in 81 BCE. See Charles Diehl and Georges Cousin, “Sénatus-consulte de Lagina,” Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 9 (1885), 437–74; Şahin, Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia, inscription 505; Rigsby, Asylia, 418–23. For a reconstruction of the inscription, see van Bremen, “Inscribed Documents,” 493–95.


Tırpan et al., “Temple of Hekate,” 192–96.