Romanization of Lycia from an Architectural and Urban Perspective

Kalınbayrak Ercan, Aygün
The ancient cities in Lycia, a historical region on the southwest coast of Asia Minor, were inhabited by the Lycian civilization beginning with the Late Archaic Period and displayed idiosyncratic physical, artistic, and cultural characteristics. These cities later adopted Hellenistic culture and architecture under the influence of Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Kingdoms. Following their encounter with the Romans, Lycian cities became re-urbanized according to Roman culture, architecture, and urban principles. The aim of this study is to bring an architectural perspective to the Romanization of Lycia by exploring the interaction between local and Roman architecture. Examination of the architectural remains dated between the Late Archaic Period and the end of the Roman Imperial Period reveals that the architectural and urban transformations were highly influenced by the political and cultural highlights of the period. In this respect, Romanization process of Lycia can be divided into three broad periods determined by architectural and urban developments: the period before it became a Roman province, the period after the establishment of the Roman province of Lycia and the period after the second century CE when elite benefaction proliferated. It is concluded that the Romanization of Lycia was a centuries-long process which was by its very nature tied closely to the relations between Lycia and Rome and represented a cultural interaction that took many forms including the enforcement and encouragement strategies of Rome and the voluntary or obligatory participation of the locals. Finally, the adoption of Roman architecture and its harmony with the local architectural practices not only changed the face of the cities but the urban narratives generated in these built environments also participated in the construction of collective identities.
Citation Formats
A. Kalınbayrak Ercan, “Romanization of Lycia from an Architectural and Urban Perspective,” ODTÜ Mimarlık Fakültesi Dergisi, vol. Volume 39, no. 2, pp. 19–46, 2022, Accessed: 00, 2023. [Online]. Available: