Persian period tombs in Western Antolia as reflections of social and political change
Fourteen tombs in western Anatolia, from Hellespontine and Greater Phrygia, Lydia, Lycia, and Caria are analyzed in order to understand the social and political change in the Persian period, and to understand the relationship between the local elite and their Persian overlords. Monumental tombs such as the tumulus and temple tombs, their architectural forms and features, contents and artworks are within the scope of this study. The distinction between the burials of elites and administrators was not attested in Hellespontine and Greater Phrygia, nor in Lydia, whereas the securely identified tombs of the dynasts in Lycia and Caria, and their privileged locations separated the rulers from the other elite. The variations in the architectural features in tumulus tombs and the iconography used in these tombs are considered as indicators of identity in western Anatolia. Even though the 6th century BC tombs illustrated continuation of the pre-Persian period mortuary traditions, the conspicuous increase in monumental tomb construction seems to have been owed to the prosperity provided by the Persian Empire. The tumulus, which had been used by the Lydian royals, was now a common burial type in the Persian period, and the wealth required to erect such monuments was now available for the western Anatolian elite. The 5th century BC illustrated a predominant Persian influence and support for the empire, and this phenomenon was considered as a response to the historical events that occurred in the region in the early 5th century BC. Caria and Lycia had freer and more original monuments because they were not satrapal centers in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Dynast tombs of the 4th century BC were distinguished from the early Persian period tombs and symbolized the changing social and political agenda of these regions.