On a very hot Sunday in July, we launched a trip to Pelops`s throne in Cleft Stone (Manisa) Region with young people, who were dedicated themselves to mountains, in order to understand the Anatolian people and their culture. The researches and descriptions should have been based on humanistic values, but unfortunately they were limited with the mountain and its surroundings. Ramsay examined not only the neighbouring regions to Sipylus, but Sipylus itself as well.
We began going through the fig trees towards the summit. We increased our speed by struggling with maquises to reach the rocky place. The effort we spent was increasing, and meantime the hotness was constraining us. We reached the cave, which is at the middle of the day. It was representing a beautiful scene with its silicate and iron oxide structure. We came to the first stone obstacle and meantime we took the photograph of the crystal created by the water pouring from a water channel. Thousands years ago, they flatten the stones to make them stairs. When we turned our direction towards the east, where we met the grandness of the magnificent cleft stone.
We were locked to the beauty of this cleft. We came across eight cisterns on our way to the peak. They were 2,40 metres wide and their length was 7 to 8 metres. These water and food depots were made by drilling the stones and were supplying Tantalus Citadel. Although many years have passed, they were still alive; we went across all these sharp stones by these stairs. The terrace – houses consisted of three types: The width of trio – terrace – houses was 4 metres. Their length was 5,67metres and its height was 3,50metres. The section between these houses was made of stonewalls and their thickness was 65 cm. The width of duo – terrace – houses was 4 metres, their length was 4 metres and their height was 3,5metres. In the south side, there are square – shaped niches, they prove that the place was designed as terrace – house. The back walls of the houses represent a careful and skilful stone work with a unique attractiveness. Unlike cisterns, artistic stonework cannot be seen on this citadel. We found large amount of broken bricks of those times. These fragments show the building techniques and prove that the houses were very strong.
It is very difficult to understand the structure and building technique of Tantalus Cidatel by a one – day – visit. An earthquake, in normal conditions, would not be able to destroy such a perpendicular walls of these terrace houses, and it is the proof of a very big earthquake. The scene, when we look at Hermus (Gediz Plain), was fascinating. The sun was striking Hermus and the plain was shining with the perfect tones of green. The Gediz Stream, which was called Hermus, by ancients, was twisting like a belly dancer.
What we see was not the mythology, but was the reality of prehistory of Anatolian Life. We were in Tantalus Cidatel, for which Carl Humann said, “I found” in 1880. Tantalus Cidatel was not lost in the history, so Pausanias, writer of ancient times, explained Tantalus and Pelops 1850 years ago. The Cidatel was the center and the most important defence of Tantalis and Spilos Cities. We reached the throne of Pelops (Length: 1,65 – Width: 1,50 – Height: 1,35). We were watching “Bakacak Kalesi” at the east, the rocks of Spiylos behind and the Tantalos City, which is lost under the earth and Saloe Lake. Our mountaineers were enjoying sitting the throne. We were feeling the proud of founding and exploring the citadel once again. Fuat, Mustafa, Sefer, Sezgin, Burak, Rahsan, Fatos and Gunes, our climbers, became the new commander of Tantalos Citadel.
Tantalos was the son of Major God, Zeus. The father of Pluto is said to be Atlas, who was the first king of Atlantis. The sovereignty of Tantalos includes Tantalis City, surrounding of Manisa and the region until Ida Mount. According to ancient resources, Tantalos was very rich and his seraglio was in Sipylus and Tantalis. One night Sipylus Mount began cracking and collapsed. The waters gushing out from the clefts swallowed the city along with its people.
1850 years ago Pausanias said: “I will not deny that Tantalos, who got married with Klytemnestra, was buried here. I know that the graves of the son of legendary Zeus and Pluto are in Spylus. Because I saw them, they were worth to be seen.” In addition, Plini said: “That woman (the world) swallowed Magnesia, city of Sipylus and infamous Tantalis”
According to the ancient writers: Pelops lived at the end of B.C. 4000 and the beginning of B.C.3000. Actually, the date is revealed the period, when the kingdom of Tantalis was erased by an earthquake and the immigrants moved from Anatolia to Egypt and Crete. Pelops rearranged the Olympic games, which had been done for the honour of Zeus, and made it much more magnificent. The female, who launched the Olympic games, was a Magnesian. The collapse of Sipylus, in which Tantalos and his children, Pelops, Broteas, Dasklos and Niobe, lived long time ago, should not be accepted as a mythological event. It was real but the documents and proofs disappeared.
The writers of Smyrna say that Tantalos was from Smyrna and link the 5000th establishment of Smyrna to Tantalos. They propose that the tomb of Tantalos is in Bayrakli. This proposition is wrong. The tomb of Tantalus is in Sipylus Mount. George E. Bean did researches for 27 years in Anatolia. He wrote a book. “The Aegean Region in Ancient Times”. The most important fragments in Bayrakli are the structure, which is called the tomb of Tantalos. The structure, which was linked to the oldest times of Smyrna, is dated to B.C.6000 and probably the tomb belongs a mayor assigned there by Persian.
The school of thoughts for locating the tomb of Tantalus, the throne of Pelops and the wholly place of Meter Plastene, can be divided into two different groups: The Smyrna School, which supports that all of them are in Iamanlar Mountain and Manisa School that say all are around Manisa. The founder of Smyrna School is Texier, who came to Smyrna in 1835. The circled tomb, which is at the top of a hill behind Bayrakli, attracted Texier’s attention. He gave this “the tomb of Tantalos”. But it is sure that the tomb is not from the period linked Tantalos.
“I did excavations in Adatepe with Rustem Duyar, who was the head of Izmir Museum, in 1945. The result was that it was a cistern and all complex was the surrounding fortress. As a result the diagnosis of Smyrna School was proved to be wrong. Besides, the Manisa School proposed that the tree places were at the east of Manisa. When the information on hand is evaluated, the diagnosis seemed to be right.”
A serious and comprehensive archaeological research around Sipylus and Manisa has yet to be launched. The examinations, which will bring Tantalis from the deep of history to the present day, will put Manisa in international scene. The establishment of an archaeology institution in Manisa, which has the smell of a rich history, is a must.
by Haydar AKSAKAL & Gokhan KAPLAN