Double-headed axe ”labrys” was an important symbol in the ancient Mediterranean civilization. As far as we understand labrys axes were commonly used in rituals. Early forms of labrys symbols can be seen in Minoan culture of the island Create and Catalhoyuk prehistoric site dating back to the Neolithic age.
The nearest users of labrys symbol to Ephesus were Carians who lived in today’s Mugla area. We believe people of Caria made their way into the Ephesus as mercenaries or businessman. Carians left their marks in Ephesus and carved some labrys symbols on various parts of Ephesus ancient city. I want to point out locations of Carian labrys symbols in Ephesus in this article for the curious visitors of Ephesus.
The first Carian labrys in Ephesus
The first Carian labrys found in Ephesus is nearby Gymnasium in the lower end of Ephesus. It was discovered on a column base. A single labrys probably means it was carved by a Carian craftsman.
The second Carian labrys in Ephesus
The second Carian labrys found in Ephesus is on the steps of the Domitian Temple located on the Domitian Square of Ephesus.
The third Carian labrys in Ephesus
The third Carian labrys found in Ephesus is nearby the gate of Mazeus and Mithridates located next to Celsus Library. Probably a Carian craftsman waiting for a job opportunity in the commercial Agora of Ephesus carved this labrys on the wall.
The fourth Carian labrys in Ephesus
The fourth Carian labrys found in Ephesus is located nearby Temple of Hadrian located in the middle of the famous Curetes Street of Ephesus. A clearly visible sword was carved next to the labrys which indicates the mercenary roots of the Carian who carved it.
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Ephesus offers traces of different cultures to its visitors. Carians are just one of the passerby of Ephesus who left their marks in the forms of labrys. Contact me to hire an English-speaking professional licensed tour guide in Ephesus. See you soon, Hasan Gülday