‘Monumental grave’ of ancient Greek poet Aratus left unexplored in southern Turkey


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The monumental grave of the ancient Greek poet Aratus, which is inside the ancient city of Soli Poempiopolis in the southern Turkish province of Mersin (Greek Myrsini), is currently used as an agricultural field, underneath a large greenhouse.

'Monumental grave' of ancient Greek poet Aratus left unexplored under orange grove in southern Turkey
Bust of Aratus [Credit: YOONIQ Images]

“The grave is not open to visitors because it is on a private land. It is under an orange garden next to the columns of the ancient city but we have not been able to unearth it,” said Mezitli Mayor Neşet Tarhan.

Tarhan said most of the ancient city and its columns remain underground.

“There is also a harbour to the south of the columns that we have not yet unearthed. We haven’t received support from the Culture Ministry. But over the past two years works have accelerated with the contributions from the Mersin Metropolitan Municipality. We need to add these cultural and historical beauties to our country’s richness,” he added.

“As the field is in a field of profit, its current market value is too high. That is why the land cannot be expropriated and Aratos remains underground,” said Remzi Yağcı, the head of the Museum Department at Dokuz Eylül University.

A Turkish and English signboard next to the ancient city informs people about the monumental grave of Aratus, who lived between 315 and 245 B.C. and wrote didactic poems on astronomy, meteorology, mathematics and botanics.

Editor’s Note: Whether this is the genuine resting place of Aratus is doubtful, given that he is said to have died in Pella, Macedonia, sometime before 240/239 BC.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [June 03, 2017]




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