Boubon (modern Dikmen Tepe) is located in the mountainous region of northern Lycia, near the modern town of İbecik. The extent of Boubon's territory is unknown. The neighbouring city of Balboura was 21 kilometres west, and Kibyra was 24 kilometres to the north. Boubon was built on the slopes of a hill, but today almost nothing remains. The city may have been founded during the 2nd century BC. Strabo verifies that this was a culturally diverse region during the Hellenistic period in which four languages were spoken: Greek, Pisidian, Solymian and Lycian. Inscriptions from the site contain both Greek and indigenous Anatolian names.
Little is known about the history of Boubon. As at Balboura, the early inhabitants may have been native Kabalians, descendants of the Lydians.1 An inscription refers to a war with Araxa during the 2nd century BC. According to Strabo2 Boubon formed a tetrapolis with its neighbouring cities of Cibyra, Oenoanda and Balboura. Cibyra being the largest and most powerful of the four, the name 'Kibyratis' became associated with the region. The alliance was dissolved by the Roman general Murena c. 84 AD. Boubon became a member of the Lycian League, and under the emperor Commodus (180-192 AD) was granted the maximum number of three votes. Architectural and epigraphical evidence verifies activity at the site during the 3rd century AD.
Civic and political administration is well-documented by inscriptions at Boubon,3 and reveals similarities with other cities in northern Lycia. The council (boule) and the people (demos) often worked together. A funerary base names an under-sheriff (hypophylax) and a high sheriff (archiphylax) under the Lycian League. The existence of a Sebasteion at Boubon necessitated priests of the cult of deified Augustus (theoi Sebastoi). A secretary (grammateus) was responsible for monetary distribution in the city, and market officers (agoranomoi) are also recorded. A gymnasiarchos (president of the gymnasium) made provision of olive oil at the gymnasium.
Votive bases holding statues of the deified emperors and some family members were displayed in a Sebasteion. Other inscribed bases from the site are agonistic in character, and record the triennial prize-games (themis tetraeterike) given by the agonothetes (promoter). Named events included wrestling and the pankration. A statue base dated in the 3rd century AD from the territory of Boubon was set up as a votive offering to Ares, naming him as megistos theos (greatest god). The supreme soothsayer (mantiarches) is mentioned on a funerary column.
The site of Boubon has been badly looted in modern times. Travellers in the mid-19th century recorded a walled acropolis, a small theatre of local stone, as well as the scant remains of temples and other large structures. Virtually none of this is visible today. The best known structure is identified as a Sebasteion, or temple for the Imperial cult.4 Inscribed statue bases once bearing bronze sculptures have been discovered and verify usage up to the reign of Gallienus (253-268 AD). The statues themselves have been identified in collections outside Asia Minor. Recent rescue excavations have uncovered a public building with two rectangular rooms. An honorific funerary inscription naming one Nearchos, a junior member of a leading local family, has been associated with a probable family monument, such as an exedra or heroon.
3. Schindler, F., Die Inschriften von Bubon (Nordlykien), Wien 1971.
4. Inan, J., "Neue Forschungen zum Sebasteion von Bubon und seinen Statuen", in Borchhardt, J. , Dobesch, G. (eds.), Akten des II. Internationalen Lykien-Symposions, Wien 6-12. Mai 1990, Wien 1993.