The Cults of Nemeseis and Tyche at Smyrna
Keywords: Nemesis, Nemeseis, Tyche, Temple of Nemeseis, Temple of Tyche, Smyrna, Izmir
Nemesis personified the concept of divine punishment/revenge, while Tyche personified the destiny of a city, a ruler or a person. Both were among the deities that represented the city of Smyrna throughout antiquity. However the importance of the Nemeseis associated with the founding of the Hellenistic city was more dominant. With the worship of her at Smyrna as a pair of deities Nemesis, who already had a deep-rooted in the city, here acquired a local particularity. In the Roman Period, while the games organized for the Nemeseis still continued, the scope of the cult was broadened. On the other hand, the cult of Tyche was on the rise at Smyrna in the Hellenistic Period, parallel with the fashion in other cities. During the reign of Hadrian in the Roman Imperial Period the increase in interest toward Tyche brought up the question of constructing a temple of Tyche as part of his building activity at Smyrna. The temples of Nemeseis and Tyche at Smyrna, where the cult rituals of these goddesses were carried out, are known only from numismatic and written sources. Although both the temples are depicted on Roman Imperial Period coins in the forms of tetrastyle buildings, the question of whether these images reflect their real appearances is a matter open to debate and which does not yield definite results. On the other hand, using the evidence presently at hand, conjectures to be made about the temples' location will be a great contribution to future research. This is the basic aim of the present article. An examination of the cults of both goddesses, a comparison of the areas within the city where their temples were located, and the combination of the existing data with the results obtained from these will add new theories to the previous ones. As for the discussion, in the same article, of the cults of Nemesis and Tyche, this is the result of the cultic, iconographic, epigraphic and archaeological evidence's having given the possibility of making a joint evaluation.