City in Caria 25 km E of Milas. Founded early in the 3d c. B.C. by Antiochos I of Syria, and named in honor of his stepmother-wife Stratonike. The foundation seems to have been made on the site of an old Carian town, Chrysaoris or Idrias (Paus. 5.21.10), said by Stephanos Byzantios s.v. Chrysaoris, quoting Apollonios of Aphrodisias, to be the first city founded by the Lycians. Idrias appears to figure in the Athenian tribute lists in the form Edrieis, and in 425 B.C., together with Euromos and Hymessos, it was assessed at the high sum of six talents.
Strabo (660) says that Stratonikeia was embellished by the Seleucid kings, but within a few years it was presented by them to Rhodes (Polyb. 30.31.6). The Rhodians lost it on some unrecorded occasion, but recovered it in 197 B.C. (Livy 33.18.22), and the city remained Rhodian until 167, when with the whole of Caria it was declared free by the Roman Senate. In 130 it was the scene of Aristonikos' final surrender, and in 40 B.C. was attacked unsuccessfully by Labienus and his Parthian troops.
Stratonikeia was the home of the Chrysaoric League, a federation of all the villages in Caria; the League met at the temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus, which is said to have been near the city. The earliest evidence for this League is an inscription of 267 B.C., but it may have been in existence much earlier. Recorded as a free city under the Empire, Stratonikeia continued to flourish, but Stephanos' statement that it was 'founded'; by Hadrian under the name of Hadrianopolis seems to be a confusion with another city of the same name. Coinage extends from the liberation from Rhodes in 167 to the time of Gallienus (A.D. 253-268).
The acropolis hill is on the S, and has a circuit wall round the summit; on a terrace on its N slope are the ruins of a small temple dedicated to the Emperors, and below this is a large theater. The cavea has a single diazoma and nine cunei, and the foundations of the stage building survive underground.
In the inhabited part of the city, on the level ground to the N, the most conspicuous ruin is that of the Serapeum, a massive building dating from about A.D. 200. Its lower parts are buried, but the walls are standing to a considerable height in solid broad-and-narrow masonry; they bear many inscriptions. Of the temenos, some 100 m square, little survives apart from the entrance gate on the W, which stands complete with lintel.
The city wall, originally ca. 1.6 km long, has almost totally disappeared, but part of the main city gate on the N is standing: a single-arched gateway. The piers remain, also in broad-and-narrow masonry, and the spring of the arch above them. Just inside, a single column survives from the interior colonnade; it is unfluted and of the Corinthian order. At the NE corner of the city is a large fortress some 80 m long, built of large squared blocks regularly coursed, but repaired in places with reused material.
The agora lay W of the Serapeum, but nothing remains but a row of blocks on its E side. To the N are the ruins of a building of unknown purpose and unusual form; it has a long wall of good regular masonry to which part of a curved wall is attached on the S side. The site as a whole has never been excavated.
The temple of Zeus Chrysaoreus has not been decisively located. There are some rather scanty ancient remains near the main road about 4 km E of Eskihisar which might be those of a temple; if so, this may be the spot called White Pillars by Herodotos (5.118). (G. E. BEAN)
Info: Princeton Encyclopedia
(Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, from Perseus Project)