The town, which gets its name from Telmessos, the son of the god Apollo, was captured by the Persian King, Harpagos and was annexed to the Carian Satrap. In the 5 th century in the tributr-lists of the Delian Confederacy, Telmessos and the Lycians listed separately; and in the 4 th century we find the Lycians under their dynast Pericles fighing against the Telmessians, besieging them and reducing them to terms. The result of this may have been Telmessos was then brought into Lycia, since the geographer who passes under the name of Scylax, writing in the same century, reckons the city as Lycian.
The Lycians were originally a client state of the Hittite Empire, established in central Anatolia about 1,800 BC. Pushed southwards by new invaders, they intermixed with Greek settlers and established an artistic, wealthy culture, supplementing farming and fishing with mercenary warfare - Lycian contingents fought at Troy and Salamis. After Alexander's death (323 BC), the Seleucids and then the Romans ruled Anatolia, but allowed the Lycians, now Greek speaking, freedom to form a unique democratic league. After centuries of prosperity, by the 6th Century most of the population had succumbed to plague and Arab pirates. The Lycian peninsula lay almost deserted until the arrival of the Turks in the 15th century.


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