In the 2,050-year-old Lagina Hecate Sanctuary, once a stronghold of paganism in southwestern Turkey, unearthed columns have been restored and are rising again.
In the Sanctuary of Hecate at Lagina in Caria, the Temple of Hecate (modern-day Turkey is dated to the last quarter of the 2nd century CE. It measured 21m x 28m and was constructed with 8 columns on its shorter sides and 11 columns on its longer sides in the Corinthian order. Lagina was one of the most important sanctuaries of the Carians.
“We are happy to repair the columns and to put them back in their places that were set up here 2,050 years ago,” Bilal Sogut, the excavation team chief, said, as he noted, the group works in areas where people were shielded from the sun in summer and rain in winter in ancient times.
Sogut pointed out that the temple was built in Lagina, in the name of Hecate, an important goddess of the time, and was a religious center of the Ancient City of Stratonikeia, 8.5 kilometers (5.28 miles) from the district of Yatagan in Mugla.
Hekate was honored during the Deipnon by the Athenian Greeks. In Greek, deipnon means dinner at night, which is normally the biggest meal of the day.
At its most simple, Hekate’s Deipnon is a meal served to Hekate and the restless dead once a lunar month on a night when there is no visible moon, generally referred to as the new moon on modern calendars.
When the first sliver of the moon is apparent, the Deipnon is always followed by the Noumenia the next day, and then the Agathos Daimon the day after that.
The Deipnon’s main aim was to respect Hekate and placate the souls who “longed for vengeance” in her wake.
A secondary aim was to purify the household and atone for bad deeds that may have been done by a household member who insulted Hekate, leading her to withdraw her favor from them. The Deipnon consists of three main parts: the meal set at a crossroads, normally in a shrine outside the entrance to the home, an atonement sacrifice, and the household’s purification.
He said that the dig proceeded in the sanctuary for 12 months and all architectural blocks were updated where they used to belong.
“Visitors will now be able to see these columns as they were 2,050 years ago. The columns are now standing in the sanctuary where a ceremony was held in the name of the goddess Hecate in ancient times,” he said.
He pointed out that there is also the largest temple that was built in the name of Hecate, and a fourth gate was discovered in the ancient city. It was considered to have three gates.
The Istanbul Archeology Museum and the Mugla Museum display objects from the city.