1. Geographical Location – History
Kys was a town or city of Caria. It is identified with the modern settlement of Bellibol (Belebol, Pirlebol, Benipouli), 30 km to the south of the village of Bozdoğan. The site is found on a hill, between the valleys of the Marsyas and Harpasos rivers, to the southwest of Hyllarima. The settlement of Kys is probably identified with the Carian city of Kyon, formerly called Kanebion and reported by Stephanus Byzantius.1 According to epigraphic evidence, Kys was at some point called Palaiopolis, a name maintained in the modern place-name Bellibol.2
Kys is not reported by any ancient writer. One of the testimonies about the existence of this place-name in Caria is a resolution of Stratonicea in the 1st c. BC, found in Lagina.3 Our only knowledge about the city is restricted exclusively to information obtained from architectural remains, inscriptions and coins, where the ethnic name Kyeiton or Kyiton appears.4 The city probably worshipped Artemis and Zeus, the latter being the major deity of Kys. This view was based on the representation of the double axe, Zeus’ symbol, on a relief, and mainly the representation of Zeus on 1st c. BC coins, which depict the god’s head on the obverse and an eagle surrounded by a wreath on the reverse. Moreover, an honourary inscription of the 1st c. BC confirms that Zeus Eleftherios (Liberator) and emperor Tiberius Claudius were also worshipped.5 The cult of Artemis in the city is indicated by bronze 1st c. BC coins depicting the head of the goddess on the obverse and a wreath encircling a quiver and a spear on the reverse.6 There are also inscriptions reporting the cult of an unknown local deity of the Koinon of Lagnoca, an unidentified neighbouring town. Finally, the fact that members of the Heraclid tribe lived in the city, as evidenced by inscriptions, indicates the Hellenization of the citizens.7
Although the site has not been excavated, the visible archaeological remains suggest the presense of an important settlement already in the Hellenistic period. The acropolis revealed scattered ruins, including segments of a marble theatre with a partly surviving cavea. Τhe theatre possibly belongs to the Late Hellenistic period judging from the layout and the similarities with the theatres of Hyllarima and Alabanda. An arched underground passage connected it with another building, possibly identified with the city’s agora. The existence of the theatre indicates that the inland of Caria was Hellenized and the local population was familiar with theatrical performances.8 The necropolis of the Roman period, where columns, statue pedestals and sepulchral monuments were found, was at the foot of the acropolis.9
1. It remains unknown whether Κyon/Kanebion is a variant of the name Kys or a different, unidentified Carian city. Diehl, C. – Cousin, G., “Sénatus Consulte de Lagina”, BCH 9 (1885), p. 450; Zgusta L., Kleinasiatische Ortsnamen (Heidelberg 1984), pp. 315-316. For the etymology of the name Κyon/Kanebion, see Laumonier, A., Les cultes indigènes en Carie (Paris 1958), pp. 463-464. Kanebos, after whom the city of Κyon/Kanebion was named, was a local hero or god of Caria, whose cult is evidenced in Hyllarima, while there is no evidence certifying the hero’s cult in Kys.
2. PECS, p. 473, see entry “Kys” (G.E. Bean); Cousin, G. – Deschamps, G., “Emplacement et Ruines de la ville de Kys en Carie”, BCH 11 (1887), p. 305; Laumonier, A., Les Cultes Indigénes en Carie (Paris 1958), p. 463, n. 4.
3. See Şahin, M.Ç., Die Inschriften von Stratonikeia (IK 22:1, Bonn 1982), p. 10, 508.11.
4. For the inscriptions, see Cousin, G. – Deschamps, G., “Emplacement et Ruines de la ville de Kys en Carie”, BCH 11 (1887), pp. 305-311. For the coins, see Head, B.V., Historia Numorum (Oxford 1911), p. 617.
5. Zeus’ cult and the specific type of coins with the god’s representation are reported only by Laumonier, A., Les cultes indigénes en Carie (Paris 1958), pp. 463-465.
6. A different collection of coins of the Imperial period depicts a quiver between vines on the front and Amaltheia’s horn and a thyrsus on the verso. For the coins, see Head, B.V., Historia Numorum (Oxford 1911), p. 617.
7. For the inscriptions, see Cousin, G. – Deschamps, G., “Emplacement et Ruines de la ville de Kys en Carie”, BCH 11 (1887), pp. 305-311; Laumonier, A., Les Cultes Indigènes en Carie (Paris 1958), pp. 464-465.
8. Marchese, R.T., The Historical Archaeology of Northern Caria, A Study in Cultural Adaptations (BAR 536, Oxford 1989), p. 101.
9. Cousin, G. – Deschamps, G., “Emplacement et Ruines de la ville de Kys en Carie”, BCH 11 (1887), pp. 305-311; Marchese, R.T., The Lower Maeander Flood Plain, A regional Settlement Study I (BAR 292, Oxford 1986), pp. 265, 267, 281; Marchese, R.T., The Historical Archaeology of Northern Caria, A Study in Cultural Adaptations (BAR 536, Oxford 1989), p. 101, 149; PECS, p. 473, see entry “Kys” (G.E. Bean).