E. Deniz Oğuz Kırca

Keywords: Bozburun, Health, Woman, Hemithea, Eileithyia, Enkoimesis, Herbaceous Plants, Psychotherapy.


The purpose of the study is to question the connection of Hemithea and Eleithyia, who appear in two sectors (Bybassos and Phoinix) lying to the north and south of the Karian Bozburun Peninsula, and have similar roles and functions though coined under two different names, in the light of the epigraphical corpus (votive inscriptions) that are directly related to the goddesses, ancient accounts, mythological constructs and etymological probabilities partially based on historical geography.

The origins of the sites, which are interrogated in terms of etymology and topography and associated with the earthly goddesses named under several epithets, especially in the ancient Mediterranean, show that, the remote memories spread over the Anatolian geography must be the reflections of some common codes in the lands settled. Moreover, even though they belong to separate geographies, the two sanctified towns (Kastabos identified with Hemithea and, Kastabala near Hemite) having the social gathering/market functions and “feminine” identities, can be assumed as agents of such a memory and may even refer to the invisible bonds of the ancient communities of Anatolia (since the Late Bronze Age).

The Bozburun Peninsula, as can be understood from the herbal practices supported by ethnobotanical findings in relatively distant regions such as Cilicia, should have been a region that offered treatment and wellness alternatives on its own, depending on the richness of flora with high medicinal value. Its relation with the issues of health is not restricted to the northern and southern parts, however needs to be considered in its entirety, where remedies were offered in all the other demoi, like the midmost settlements- Syrna and Hydas. By all appearances, the region possessed certain centers that provided local solutions in the matters of the women’s and children’s health, procreation, miscarriage, etc. or painless delivery. Special prescriptions, enkoimesis enforced with sedative preparates, psychotherapy, even curative sorcery practiced in the name of Hemithea and Eleithyia, as the diverse manifestations of the transdivinity Artemis and, even Apollo, must have been used and applied in these centers. In this context, Hemithea who appeared from early periods, could have delegated her title, function and reputation to Eleithyia in progress of time.