The Antalya Museum -- and the memorial to Gaius Caesar
A few years back I did a few posts on great museums that aren't as well known as they should be (like the Hunterian in Glasgow). Now I have another to add.
The truth is that I have been having a "holiday" on a boat off the south coast of Turkey, but also visiting some of the antiquities. We started from Antalya and ended up in Göcek -- and on the morning before we embarked, we decided to give the Antalya Museum a quick work over.
If you are ever there, don't miss it.
The sheer quantity of rather good Roman sculpture (not especially brilliant, but good nonetheless) tells you quite a lot about the whole "image-world" of the Eastern provinces. There are just scores of Roman emperors and other greatest hits of ancient sculpture (including - on the left - a "Farnese" Hercules-type -- recently reunited with its upper part that had ended up in Boston).
But what struck me (though I honestly should have known about it before) was the sculpture from the cenotaph of young Gaius Caesar, Augustus' would-be heir, who died in Lycia (S Turkey) in 4 AD, after being wounded in Armenia.
This was really, really top-notch.
It's clear that when Gaius died at Limyra his ashes were sent back to Rome, but a whacking Mausoleum was built in the city in which he died (there is a big study of this, I now discover, by Ganzert, 1984). The Mausoleum is pretty wrecked, as you can see from the top of this post. But there are a couple of recently discovered sculptured panels from it on display (one of these above -- apparently found in the structure of a local house). This looks like extraordinarily high quality stuff to me (those wonderful profiles behind that splendid horse) : same level as the Ara Pacis, or the Actian Monument at Nicopolis.
and debris of an early Christian church through the water. And here the young locals are using it as a swimming pool (they are just about to dive in).
There's also a pretty damn good theatre.
All in all a splendid little Lycian town, whose main claim to Roman fame was that the unfortunate young Gaius finally expired there.