19th Century Visitors

Gümüşlük, Gumishlu, Lt Cdr Thomas Graves RN, HMS Beacon
Taken from Chart L1573, Sourced from the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk)

Although 19th century academics knew of Myndos through the writings of Herodotus, Strabo, Pliny etc, its location had not been confirmed. Below are some of the first northern Europeans who visited and described the area in the 1800s

Francis Beaufort Captain of HMS Frederikssteen visited the area during a survey of the south coast of Asia Minor in 1811 & 1812. Beaufort made two visits to Myndus1.

The first on the advice and with the assistance of the Governor of Bodrum:
“The governor described some large ruins in that direction; he entreated us to accept of his horses, and sent his nephew, who was Agha of the district, as a guide. Northing worth noticing occurred on the road to those ruins, which we found insignificant and modern; and as the guide knew of no others in the neighbourhood, we returned…”

Beaufort left Bodrum heading for Malta, however at that time Malta had initiated a period of quarantine for all ships that that had visited the mainland, consequently he decided to spend the next fortnight “examining the coast and islands to the westward of that port. Landing only on detached rocks, or on the solitary beach to obtain our angles, we avoided all intercourse with the inhabitants; and every temptation to visit the ruins that we passed, was resisted.”
Strabo’s description of the location was “Next to Halicarnassus is Termerium a cape of the Myndii, opposite to the cape of Scandaria of Cos. Proceeding towards Myndus are the capes Astypalæa and Zephyrium; and immediately beyond the latter, the city of Myndus, with a harbour…  

As Beaufort made his way round the promontory of Karabaghla, he records that “we passed two places which might answer for the position of the antient Mydus.

The first was “Kady-Kalassy”  as it corresponded with a description by Strabo, but he goes on to reflect  “on the other hand, the little port of Gumishlu answers better to the word harbour, which he (Strabo) applies to Myndus, as the remains of piers which cross its mouth are still visible.” 

Beaufort goes on to say that both locations “there are several ruins” and suggests that further examination would be required to resolve the question; however the self imposed rules of quarantine prohibited them from going ashore.

On his marine chart Promontories of Hallicanassus & Triopium & the Island of Kos published in 1817 Port Gumishlu and Kady-Kalassy are shown, and in italics below each name is written “Perhaps Myndus”

1 Karamina or A Brief Description of the South Coast of Asia-Minor and the Remains of Antiquity, 1817.

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William Martin Leake. Although not a visitor, as it seems likely that Leake did not personally visit the area, he is often cited along with Beaufort regarding the confirmation of Gümüşlük as the location of Myndos

In his “Journal of a Tour in Asia Minor”2 using other historical and geographical evidence he agrees with Beaufort, commenting that “We can hardly doubt that Myndus stood in the small sheltered port of Gumishlú, where Captain Beaufort remarked the remains of an ancient pier at the entrance to the port and some ruins at the head of the bay.

2  Journal of a Tour in Asia Minor: With Comparative Remarks on the Ancient and Modern Geography of That Country, 1842

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Charles Boileau Elliot, Vicar of Godalming, described the site as follows3:

Immediately above the little port of Gumishlu enclosed on three sides by hills, one rises to greater elevation than the rest, covered with fragments of a city of whose name no record can be traced near the spot; but history records that this was Mindus, built by a colony from Troezen…”

“… Not a human inhabitation exists with a mile and a half of the remains of Myndus; and even there but one is to be seen, that of a peasant who supplied us with milk, the only article we could procure"

3Travels in the Three Great Empires of Austria, Russia and Turkey Vol 2, 1838

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Commander Thomas Graves RN of HMS Beacon charted the sea around Gümüşlük and surveyed the remains of the city in 1837; subsequently Admiralty Chart 1531 was released by the Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty in 1844 under the title of “Gumishlu the Antient Myndus”.

The chart identifies the city walls, and proposes possible locations for the  stadium, theatre, several buildings, two of which are described as temples, a line of 52 column pedestals, a number of foundations and tombs & sepulchres.

The document below is a digital copy of the original hand drawn chart which Graves submitted to the Hydrographic Office on the 23 of March 1839 and was used to produce Admiralty Chart 1531. 

Gümüşlük, Gumishlu, Lt Cdr Graves RN
Sourced from the UK Hydrographic Office (www.ukho.gov.uk)

C. T. Newton accompanied by Lieutenant Smith explored the area in the autumn of 18574 and with the aid of Admiralty Chart 1531 they traced the outline of the city walls and visited several of the features marked on the chart including the fifty-two bases of columns “Some of these are standing in situ, others thrown down. They are of green stone, resembling that used in the foundations of the Mausoleum.”  

Of the stadium he wrote “The outline of the stadium is still visible, though nearly obliterated. It is probable that, since the Chart was made, much marble has been carried off by sea; and, on the other hand the plough has effaced in many places the traces of foundations. The greater part of the low land near the shore is now cultivated.”

Although only in Gümüşlük for one day Newton identifies and comments on most of the features shown on the admiralty chart and provides a fairly comprehensive description of the site at that time.

Towards the end of the chapter, describing his visit Newton comments “The site of Myndus presents a most desolate appearance, being stripped of marbles, and nearly all traces of ancient edifices having disappeared, except what is built into Byzantine churches.

4 A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus and Branchidæ,1863.

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