Aphrodisias Museum, which was opened in 1979, is one of the most fascinating venues of its kind in the area of Turkey. Its main exhibits are the marble works made in the ancient period, from the 1st century BCE to the 5th century CE, by the local sculptors.
The museum is located within the archaeological site of Aphrodisias and can be visited with the same entrance ticket. Admission to the Aphrodisias area and the museum is possible every day, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The entrance ticket price in 2023 was 280 TL.
- Aphrodisias Blue Horse
- Reliefs from the Sebasteion - Emperors and deities
- Nero and Agrippina
- Hemera (Day)
- Okeanos (Ocean)
- Aphrodite of Aphrodisias
- Augustus and Victory
- Empress sacrificing
- Imperial princes as the Dioscuri
- Claudius and Agrippina
- Roma and Gea (Earth)
- Nero and Armenia
- Victory of Emperors
- Claudius and Britannia
- Tiberius with captive
- Aphrodite crowned by Andreia
- Emperor and Roman people
- Two princes
- Poseidon and Amphitrite
- Armed Roma
- Goddess inscribes trophy
- Nero with captive
- Cult statue crowned by Aphrodite
- Claudius, master of land and sea
- Ganymede and eagle
- Reliefs from the Sebasteion - personified places and peoples
- Reliefs from the Sebasteion - myths and heroes
- Anchises and Aphrodite
- Aeneas flight from Troy
- Aeneas arrival in Italy
- Three Graces
- Hero sacrifices to Zeus
- Apollo and royal hero
- Royal hero with hunting dogs
- Heracles, Nessos, and Deianira
- Drunken Heracles
- Demeter and Triptolemos
- Nysa and baby Dionysos
- Drunken Dionysos
- Leda and swan
- Polyphemus and Galatea
- Io and Argos
- Apollo and Muse
- Orestes at Delphi
- Heroic couple
- Three heroes with dog
- Meleager and Atalante
- Meleager and boar
- Prometheus freed by Heracles
- Nymphs with baby Dionysos
- Achilles and Penthesilea
- Zoilos Monument
- Late Roman marble shield portraits
- Putti pilaster capitals from Tetrapylon Street
- Mosaic of Aphrodite with Tranquillity
- Relief with Nike
- Columnar sarcophagus with female figures
- Head of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias
- Male figure wearing himation
- Pilaster capitals from North Temenos House
- Nike (Victory), akroterion
- Nike (Victory) with palm, akroterion
- Goddess from Hadrianic Baths of Aphrodisias
- Relief image of local Aphrodite
- Relief depicting the birth of Aphrodite (Aphrodite Anadyomene)
- Portrait head of a bearded young man
- Priestess wearing star-decorated crown (stephane)
- Prominent young citizen wearing a priestly crown
- L. Antonius Claudius Dometeinos from Bouleuterion
- Claudia Antonia Tatiana
- Aphrodite of the city
- Leading citizen wearing a priestly crown
- Leading citizen wearing a priestly crown, another example
- Goddess from Hadrianic Baths
- Satyr with baby Dionysos, large version
- Satyr with baby Dionysos, small version
- Pan extracting thorn from satyr's foot
- Acanthus plant akroterion
- Youth wearing a toga
- Supervisor of linen-workers
- Seated Aphrodite
- Drunken satyr
- Unidentified man
- Naked man
- Office-holder with ink pot
- Artemis of Versailles scheme
- Seated eastern warrior
- Woman in Herculaneum scheme
- Seated Apollo
- Bare-chested man
- Young togatus
- Seasons sarcophagus
- Pillar of Jewish Community
Aphrodisias Blue Horse
In 1970, a galloping horse of dark blue-grey marble was found in the Civil Basilica beside its pedestal. This was a bold composition that had already been restored once in antiquity.
A bronze saddle cloth in the form of a feline skin was attached to the back with small iron pins. The statue of a young hero in white marble rides on it, but only one leg is left. From the clamp fixing in his buttock, it can be seen that the youth was falling off the horse.
It was placed on an L-shaped base facing down the interior nave of the Basilica. The bottom part of the base is still in the Basilica. Its upper plinth is restored beneath the horse in the Aphrodisias Museum. The plinth has a cutting for a figure standing beside the horse. There are three figures of a horse, a heroic rider, and a standing figure. It was probably Troilos and Achilles. Troilos, a Trojan prince, was ambushed and killed by Achilles when he rode out to a fountain outside the walls of Troy. A well-known composition likely showed Achilles pulling Troilos from his galloping horse by his hair.
Reliefs from the Sebasteion - Emperors and deities
Nero and Agrippina
Relief from the Sebasteion of Aphrodisias, north building. Agrippina crowns her son Nero with a laurel wreath. Agrippina carries a cornucopia, the symbol of Fortune and Plenty, and Nero wears the armour and cloak of a Roman commander. He held a spear, now broken off, in his right hand and probably an orb (symbol of world rule) in his left hand. His helmet (removed for the crowning) lies on the ground at the side. Both figures are clearly identifiable by their portraits. The scene refers to the emperor’s accession in 54 CE and belongs before 59 CE, the year in which Nero had Agrippina murdered.
Relief from the Sebasteion of Aphrodisias. Hemera steadies a dramatically billowing cloak that frames her head. The motif, also visible on the Okeanos relief, indicates flying, floating, and divine epiphany - the appearance of gods to mortals. Day would be paired with Night: together they signified the eternity of the Roman imperial order.
The bearded god makes an epiphany, controlling his cloak, which billows around his head. Ocean would be paired with Earth: together they represented empire without end, over land and sea.
Aphrodite of Aphrodisias
This relief was placed on the short east end of the southern Sebasteion building in Aphrodisias. The local goddess Aphrodite, a round altar, and an approaching female worshipped have been defaced. The pagan demons which Christians thought inhabited such cult images were 'neutralised' by mutilation and by inscribing a cross on the side of the altar.
Augustus and Victory
The naked emperor stands in majesty with a winged Victory (Nike). He carried a spear and has an eagle, the bird of Zeus, at his feet. Victory is crowning a military trophy - a rough post with enemy armour attached to it (helmet, cuirass, greaves, shield). Beneath the trophy, a barbarian captive, his hands tied behind his back, is 'sunk' into the plinth.
An empress, probably Livia, wife of Augustus, makes a sacrifice. Part of the empress' head survives. She was pouring a libation with her right hand onto an altar, which is now mostly broken off. A sacrificial attendant carries a tray with ritual equipment.
Imperial princes as the Dioscuri
An imperial youth wearing the military cloak and cuirass of a commander holds the reins of his horse. He forms a symmetrical pair with the prince to the left, and both frame the Claudius panel between them. They were probably Britannicus and Nero, the emperor's son and adopted son, and intended successors.
Claudius and Agrippina
Claudius in heroic nudity and military cloak, shakes hands with his wife Agrippina, and is crowned by the Roman People or Senate wearing a toga. The subject is imperial concord with the traditional Roman state. Agrippina holds wheat ears: she is like Demeter, the goddess of fertility. The emperor is crowned with an oak wreath, the corona civica or 'citizen crown', awarded to Roman leaders for saving citizens' lives: the emperor is the saviour of his people.
Roma and Gea (Earth)
Roma held a spear and wears a crown in the form of a city wall (badly worn). Earth reclines half-naked, leaning on a pile of fruit. She holds a cornucopia full of more fruit. A baby child, now damaged, climbs up the horn. The relief represents Earth's fertility and abundance, overseen by Rome. The figures are identified by the inscribed base.
Nero and Armenia
Nero, wearing only a cloak and sword-strap, supports a slumped naked Armenia by her upper arms. She wears a soft eastern hat, and her bow and quiver are on the left. The heroic composition likens them to Achilles and the Amazon queen Penthesilea. The inscription reads: Armenia - [Neron] Klaudios Drousos Kaisar Sebastos Germanikos.
Victory of Emperors
The inscription identifies the subject as "Victory of Emperors", and refers to the conquest of Armenia and Britannia in the adjacent reliefs. A half-naked Victory flies diagonally across the panel, carrying a military trophy over her shoulder. A small winged Eros, now damaged, was clinging to the end of the trophy pole.
Claudius and Britannia
Naked warrior Claudius is about to deliver a death blow to a slumped figure of Britannia. He wears a helmet, cloak, and a sword belt with scabbard. Britannia wears a tunic with one breast bare - like the Amazon figures on which she is modelled. The inscription reads: Tiberios Klaudios Kaisar - Britannia.
A defaced Athena held the rim of a round hoplite shield in her left hand and a (missing) spear in her raised right hand.
Tiberius with captive
The naked emperor stands frontally, holding a spear and shield and wearing a cloak and sword-strap. Beside him stands a barbarian prisoner, shown at about half the emperor's scale. The prisoner wears a cloak and trousers and has his hand tied behind his back.
Aphrodite crowned by Andreia
A draped goddess is crowned by a female warrior figure. The goddess is probably Aphrodite, while the warrior has a bare-breasted Amazon dress and equipment (spear, sword-strap, shield), worn by Roma or Andreia (Bravery).
Emperor and Roman people
The emperor is a naked warrior who is crowned by a personification of the Roman People or Senate wearing a toga, the stately civilian dress of Roman citizens. The crown is an oak wreath, the corona civica or civic crown, awarded for saving citizens' lives. The emperor is setting up a battlefield trophy, beneath which kneels an anguished barbarian woman captive.
Two princes stand like statues, naked, wearing cloaks. The left figure holds the orb of the world in one hand, a symbol of the world rule that indicates he is the imperial heir, and in the other a ship's stern ornament (aphlaston), a symbol of naval victory. The princes are probably Gaius and Lucius, the grandsons of Augustus, or Nero and Britannicus, Claudius' heirs.
A winged Victory (Nike) flies past, carrying a military trophy. She wears a long light dress and has one breast and one leg exposed. Her clothing is set in motion by her swift flight.
Poseidon and Amphitrite
A god-like couple is seated on two sea-horses, accompanied by two fish-legged tritons below. Between the tritons sits a sea-putto or baby triton. The male god is in the form of Poseidon, crowned by his wife Amphitrite. Unusually, he wears a military cloak, and they might be an emperor and his wife (such as Claudius and Agrippina) in the guise of Poseidon and Amphitrite.
Roma is equipped with a spear, helmet, round shield, and imperial-style armour. Below, crouches a naked bearded prisoner, with his hands tied behind his back and a skin knotted round his neck. He turns to look up at his conqueror.
Goddess inscribes trophy
A draped goddess strides forward to inscribe a military trophy, to which is bound a kneeling female captive. The goddess is probably a personification such as Honour, Virtue, or Courage.
Nero with captive
Naked warrior Nero holds the orb of world rule in one hand and crowns the military trophy with the other. Between the trophy and the emperor, stands a bound boy captive. He wears long barbarian trousers and looks up at the emperor.
Cult statue crowned by Aphrodite
The cult statue of the local Aphrodite of Aphrodisias stands on a round base and is approached by the dynamic draped figure of Aphrodite herself. The goddess was about to crown her own statue. Between them stands a slender incense-burner. This scene of overt pagan cult was defaced - on Christian initiative, probably in the 5th century CE.
The defaced figure of the god was leaning on a long club or stick. The pose, dress, and long stick identity the healing god Asklepios. He was paired with his daughter Hygieia.
Hygieia, the goddess of health, holds a flat bowl (phiale), from which she feeds a snake. The snake is wound twice round her forearm. A plump naked child sits on a square pedestal on the left. Hygieia was the daughter of the healing god, Asklepios.
Claudius, master of land and sea
The god Claudius strides forward in a divine epiphany, drapery billowing around his head. He receives a cornucopia with fruits of the earth from a figure emerging from the ground, and a ship's steering oar from a marine tritoness with fish-legs. The idea is clear: the god-emperor guarantees the prosperity of land and sea. The relief is a remarkable local visualisation - elevated and panegyrical - of the emperor's role as universal saviour and protector.
The nude and classically styled young god wears only a helmet and once held a spear (now missing) in one hand, and a shield in the other. To the left stands his cuirass, and in the upper right corner hangs his sword. Ares was the god of war but was not later defaced by Christians, probably because he so closely resembles a young emperor.
Ganymede and eagle
Ganymede was leaning on a pillar, on which stands Zeus' eagle. He is touching or caressing the bird with his right hand. Its left wing seems to have been spread out across the panel to embrace the boy. Ganymede was a Trojan prince taken up to Olympus by Zeus to be the wine-bearer of the gods.
Reliefs from the Sebasteion - personified places and peoples
The second storey of the northern building of the Sebasteion featured a series of 50 personified places and peoples, from eastern Africa to western Spain. The figures stand on projecting bases and were designed to look like statues between the columns of the portico. An inscribed label named each figure. The idea was a visual listing of the Augustan world empire.
The places and peoples were among those claimed as conquered or brought into the empire under Augustus. The selection emphasised wilder peoples on the edges of the empire. Few in Aphrodisias can have heard of many of them. The idea, the list, and the images were borrowed directly from a monument in Rome.The inscriptions designate two kinds of personifications. There are 13 ethne or foreign peoples and three islands (Crete, Cyprus, and Sicily).
Base of the Ethnous Iapodon
Iapodes were the people of the Danube-Balkan area in Illyricum, modern Croatia. Whole base, with damaged beardless mask with young bull's horns.
Base of the Ethnous Ioudaion
Judeans. Whole base, with a horned, Pan-like mask.
Mask of African Ethiopians
Base with inscription missing.
Mask of Pan
Base with inscription missing.
Ethnos with belted peplos
The matronly figure wears a belted dress (peplos) and holds her long cloak up behind. The square hole above the shoulder, with a corresponding hole in the back, was for lifting the finished relief into the ancient building by crane.
Ethnos of the Pirousti
The figure personifies a Balkan warrior tribe from the Pannonia, defeated by Tiberius in 6-8 CE, before he became the emperor. She wears classical dress, cloak, and helmet, and carries a small shield and probably once a spear. A builder's inscription (Pirouston), written above and to the right of the shield, ensured that the relief was put on the correct base, inscribed ETHNOUS PIROUSTON.
Ethnos of the Dacians
The Dacians are shown as a captive barbarian woman. Her arms are crossed in submission and her thick dress slips off her shoulder, partly revealing the breast. The forepart of a small bull stands in profile behind. Dacia (modern Romania) was claimed by Augustus as a conquest from 1 BCE to 4 CE.
Ethnos of the Bessi
The Bessi were a war-like Thracian tribe in the area of modern Bulgaria, against whom Augustus' armies campaigned in 35, 29, and11 BCE. The figure wears a belted dress and a long cloak, veiled over the head. The distinctive headband is an attribute of Dionysos and alludes to the well-known enthusiasm of the Thracian tribes for the god. The conical hat on the ground was probably another ethnic marker.
Base of Crete
The figure that personifies the island of Crete has a classical hairstyle, dress, and pose that characterise the figure as civilizes and free, as opposed to barbarians and captives.
Ethnos inscriptions and bases
From the top: ethnos of Rhaiton, ethnos of Trounpeilo, ethnos of Dardanon, ethnos of Andizeton (from Pannonia), the island of Sicily.
Ethnos of Bosphorus
The whole base with a beardless male mask.
Base with an elderly mask
Base with an elderly mask wearing a wreath of twigs.
Reliefs from the Sebasteion - myths and heroes
The reliefs from the second storey of the south building of Sebasteion represent heroes and gods from the Greek, Roman, and local mythology. In groups of three, the narrower reliefs have meander decoration below.
The subjects are wide and varied: Achilles, Anchises, Aeneas, Antaios, Atalante, Bellerophon, Deianira, Dionysos, Galatea, Heracles, Leda, Meleager, Nessos, Orestes, Penthesilea, Polyphemus, Prometheus, Triptolemos.
Mythological images were both decorative and meaningful. They evoked a shared religion and culture. The stories were chosen carefully, and cluster around several relevant themes: Aphrodite, Troy, and heroic benefaction.
Love stories celebrate the power of Aphrodite, and heroes working for the good of mankind were like the emperors. Triptolemos gave man grain, Prometheus gave fire, and Heracles and Dionysos (these two appear five times) archived Olympian status through their deeds. Superhuman achievements had also made the emperors into gods.
Prominent at the east end, are parts of the Trojan story of Aeneas, son of Aphrodite, ancestor of Julius Caesar and of Augustus' family. These stories were the mythological enactment of the special relationship between Aphrodisias and Rome.
Anchises and Aphrodite
The Trojan shepherd Anchises gazes at the seated Aphrodite, his lover for one night on Mount Ida. She holds a small Eros on her lap: this is an erotic encounter. The head of Selene (Moon) appears above the mountain rocks: she indicates nighttime. It was from this union that Aeneas was born.
Aeneas flight from Troy
Aeneas, son of the goddess Aphrodite, is fleeing from Troy, carrying his aged father Anchises and guiding his young son Ascanius. They are fleeing from the sack of Troy. The figure floating behind is Aphrodite, Aeneas' mother: she is helping their escape. Old Anchises carries a round box that held images of Troy's ancestral gods.
Aeneas arrival in Italy
Poseidon stands naked over a sea going ship stopped at a short column. A dolphin jumps between his legs. Aeneas, his head veiled in the Roman manner, pours a libation, a thanks offering, for his safe arrival in Italy. Behind Poseidon's shoulders, a separately worked young male head was inserted into the background, maybe a deceased companion of Aeneas.
The Three Graces stand in their familiar Hellenistic composition. They were handmaids of Aphrodite and appeared in this form in the decoration of her cult statue at Aphrodisias. Their names evoked their character: Euphrosyne (Joy), Aglaia (Splendour) and Thaleia (Bloom).
Hero sacrifices to Zeus
The defaced relief showed a founding hero (right) pouring a libation onto an altar in front of a statue of Zeus (left). A boy attendant stands behind. An eagle flies down holding a branch in its claws - the good omen needed for the foundation of a cult or a city. Zeus was the next most important god at Aphrodisias after Aphrodite.
Apollo and royal hero
Apollo sits on a raised platform with his tripod at his oracular shrine. He is approached by two figures. A woman greets the god with a raised hand. With her is a hero wearing a travelling cloak and the flat headband or diadem of a king. He has come to consult Apollo, probably about a city foundation.
Royal hero with hunting dogs
The same diademed youth stands with his horse and two hunting dogs. To the left, an oval (foreign) shield hands from a leafless tree, against which leans a long thin club. The royal hero is probably a local founder - such as the Assyrian king Ninos, claimed as the founder of their city by the Aphrodisians.
Heracles, Nessos, and Deianira
The centaur Nessos agreed to carry Heracles' wife Deianira across the river Euenos in Aitolia, but tried to rape her in mid-stream. In the struggle that followed, we see Heracles about to deliver a crushing blow with his club. Nessos has been beaten to his knees but is still fighting. Behind the centaur is the partly disrobed figure of Deianira.
Heracles staggers along drunk, supported by a small satyr from the entourage of Dionysos. He is wearing the head-ribbon of a drinking party, where he has been in a drinking contest with Dionysos. The wine-god has defeated even the mighty hero of the Twelve Labours.
Demeter and Triptolemos
Demeter - stately, veiled and holding a sceptre - hands a bunch of wheat stalks to the young hero Triptolemos. Demeter was the grain goddess, and it was Triptolemos, a hero from Eleusis near Athens, whom she chose to bring grain cultivation to mankind.
Nysa and baby Dionysos
The nymph Nysa has the baby Dionysos on her lap. He reaches out to a bunch of grapes held up by a satyr, one of his woodland followers. Dionysos was the son of Zeus by Semele, and was given to the nymphs of Mount Nysa for an upbringing in the wilds, safe from the eyes of Hera, Zeus' wife. Nysa was located in the Meander Valley, near Aphrodisias: the story was local.
Allegory of the athletic contest, agon. The pillar with the bearded head represents Hermes, the god of the gymnasium. Nearby is a palm of victory and a prize table with a victory ribbon on it. Two winged baby Eros figures are struggling over a palm branch (now mostly broken); they act out the idea of contest, which is personified in the youthful figure behind. He holds another palm of victory: he is Agon himself.
A prancing woodland nymph leads a drunken Dionysos, who supports himself languidly on a small satyr. This is an image of Dionysian enjoyment and pleasure, Hellenistic in style and fluently designed.
Leda and swan
Zeus disguised as a swan assaults the Spartan princess Leda. The bird stands on the tips of its outspread wings and presses its webbed foot on the thigh of modest, struggling Leda. The swan is supported from behind a small Eros. From this encounter came a large egg, from which were born Helen and the Dioskouroi twins, Castor and Polydeuces.
Polyphemus and Galatea
Another mythological love story affirms the power of Aphrodite. The sea nymph Galatea resists the lustful advances of the beastly cyclops Polyphemus in his cave. Polyphemus sits on a rock and tries to pull Galatea between his legs. His right arm is round her back.
Io and Argos
A powerful hero is folding a sword, gazing closely at a half naked and dishevelled young heroine who sits on a chest like stool. Between, on a pillar base, stood a small, separately added statue of a goddess (now missing). The scene follows a scheme used in the relief panels "Io guarded by Argos". Io was one of Zeus’s lovers, and Argos was a watchful giant sent to guard her by Hera, Zeus’s wife.
Apollo and Muse
On the left stood Apollo, one foot raised on a rock, playing his lyre which rests on top of the omphalos (the Earth's navel stone, tied down at Delphi). On the right stands a muse holding one arm of Apollos lyre.
Orestes at Delphi
Orestes, who has sought sanctuary at Delphi after murdering his mother, leaves Apollo's shrine on his way to stand trial in Athens, The hero steps gingerly over a sleeping Fury; he brandishes a sword and still hold onto Apollo's tripod. The Fury has a snake and a burning torch with which she torments male factors. A small local nymph sits above on a rocky outcrop of Delphi's Mt Parnossos.
Bellerophon was a Lycian hero who was claimed to be the founder of Aphrodisias. He holds the winged horse Pegasus. The design was modelled on another relief panel in the series, "Royal hero with hunting dogs". The carving is poor, and the sculptor may have been an apprentice still learning his craft.
A heroine sits on a rock with one breast bare. In front of her, stands a young hero. Between them, a small statue of Aphrodite stands on a support. The subject is a love encounter, but it is not clear which of many possible heroic couples was intended.
Three heroes with dog
Two heroes stand in front of a third hero who is seated on a rock and pats the head of a bitch hound. They are hunters and the relief is partnered by the reliefs of Meleager and Atalante and Meleager and the Calydonian boar.
Meleager and Atalante
Meleager sits on a rock tying his sandal. Below him lies a fierce hunting dog with a broad collar. On one side a god or another hero wearing a rounded hat was crowning Meleager (arm missing). On the other side stands the huntress Atalante, Meleager's lover: she wears a short dress and quiver, and lifts her cloak at the shoulder in a gesture of modesty and flirtation
Meleager and boar
Meleager stands naked in front of a rocky outcrop. In the foreground lies a dead Calydonian boar. Above, a local nymph emerges from behind a fold in the landscape. The boar hunt took place on the imposing Mt Zygos at Calydon.
Prometheus freed by Heracles
Prometheus is screaming in pain. Zeus had given him a terrible punishment for giving fire to man: he was tied to the Caucasus mountain and had his liver pecked out daily by an eagle. Heracles has shot the eagle and is undoing the first manacle. He wears his trademark lion-skin and has thrown his club aside. A small mountain nymph, holding a throwing stick, appears among the rocks above.
Nymphs with baby Dionysos
A heavily wrapped baby Dionysos is handed from one nymph to another for suckling. A bearded Silenos gestures excitedly with his arms and taps his foot as though singing or about to dance. The scene is set at nearby Nysa in the Meander valley, where Zeus had gifted his child Dionysos, born to him by Semele, brought up in the wilds out of view of his wife, Hera.
Achilles and Penthesilea
Achilles supports the slumping figure of the Amazon queen Penthesilea, whom he has mortally wounded. Her double-headed axe slips from her hand. The queen had come to fight in the Trojan War against the Greeks. Between her being wounded and dying in his arms - the time represented here - Achilles fell in love with her.
The figured reliefs come from a monument to C. Julius Zoilos, a great benefactor to Aphrodisias who lived in the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus. In 1979, they underwent a restoration, and in 1993-1994, they were re-restored and re-installed in their proper sequence in a new display at the Aphrodisias Museum. The frieze is the earliest marble structure in the city that has figures on it.
C. Julius Zoilos had a remarkable career. He was a native of Aphrodisias, but was enslaved and spent much of his life away from the city. Eventually, he was released and subsequently assumed the role of freedman and trusted representative of Octavian, who was subsequently referred to as Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. Zoilos returned to Aphrodisias around the year 40 BCE, posing as an affluent individual, and assumed a prominent role in the city's life.
As a priest of Aphrodite, he financed at least three major marble structures: the initial phase of the temple of Aphrodite, the elaborate stage structure of the theatre, and the northern colonnade of the Agora in the city centre. He was given two statues in Aphrodisias and died around 28 BCE. Furthermore, he was also honoured with the monumental tomb, which the frieze decorated.
The tomb building itself has not been found, but it can be deduced that the frieze occupied the sides of a square mausoleum. The narrative depicts a symbolic representation of Zoilos life and virtues. The main preserved frieze is composed of two groups of three figures, all of which are identified by inscription. Zoilos is wearing two different costumes in the middle of each group. In the left-hand group, Bravery (ANDREIA) presents a shield to Zoilos, who is attired in a Roman toga, while Honour (TIMĒ) bestows a crown on him from the right. His military courage and status as a Roman citizen are celebrated in this scene. The right-hand group features the personification of the People (DĒMOS) extending his hand to greet Zoilos, who is dressed in a long travelling cloak and cap, while the City (POLIS) crowns him from behind. This scene is a highly elevated representation of Zoilos return from Rome.
Subjects represented in other surviving panels included: Eternity (AIŌN), Roma (inscription not preserved), Remembrance (MNĒMĒ), Minos, judge in the underworld (MEINŌS), Excellence (ARETĒ), and Loyalty (PISTIS).
Late Roman marble shield portraits
These portraits were discovered in 1981 in the excavations of a large house to the north of the Sebasteion. The Atrium House was a large private residence which had a long history, extending from the early Roman period until late antiquity. In its existing state, it consists of two large suites of rooms: one, to the south, organized around a large apsidal courtyard; the other, to the north, organized around a smaller, square columnar court (the atrium). The architectural and sculptural decoration of the apsidal court was especially rich, including a figured pediment and some twelve late Roman shield portraits of pagan philosophers and writers, together with famous students of philosophy (Alkibiades and Alexander the Great).
The pairing of great teachers and students suggests that the building where the portraits were found may have been the house and school of an important local philosopher. Some of the figures portrayed - Pythagoras, for instance - were of special importance in late antique pagan theology (Neoplatonism).
Alexander the Great
Putti pilaster capitals from Tetrapylon Street
A group of the pilaster capitals (Aphrodisias, the 5th century CE), shows putti in oak-leaf designs engaged in various rustic activities, often with animals (cockerel, owl, snake, lion, panther), sometimes with country produce (acorns), sometimes simply sitting or sleeping in the foliage of the capital. They come from the interior decoration of the street colonnade that runs south from the Tetrapylon.
Mosaic of Aphrodite with Tranquillity
It was found in the Bouleuterion of Aphrodisias. Made in the 2nd century CE. A naked female figure, Galene or Tranquillity, was looking towards a figure labelled Aph[rodite], now lost.
Relief with Nike
From Theatre of Aphrodisias, the 1st century CE.
Columnar sarcophagus with female figures
From Aphrodisias, the early 3rd century CE.
Head of Aphrodite of Aphrodisias
From the area of the theatre of Aphrodisias, the 1st-2nd century CE.
Male figure wearing himation
From Aphrodisias, the 1st-2nd century CE.
Pilaster capitals from North Temenos House
From Aphrodisias, third-fifth century CE. A group of the pilaster capitals shows divinities (Apollo, Aphrodite) standing in the middle of an acanthus-leaf design. They come from the decoration of the apsidal reception room in a late antique house north of the Temple of Aphrodite (North Temenos House, the 3rd century CE).
Nike (Victory), akroterion
From the theatre of Aphrodisias, the late 1st century BCE.
Nike (Victory) with palm, akroterion
From the theatre of Aphrodisias, the late 1st century BCE.
Goddess from Hadrianic Baths of Aphrodisias
From the 2nd century CE.
Relief image of local Aphrodite
Dedicated by Theodoros, from the theatre of Aphrodisias, the second-third century CE.
Relief depicting the birth of Aphrodite (Aphrodite Anadyomene)
Found at Atrium House. Within an arched frame consisting of an elaborate cornice decorated with acanthus scrolls, Aphrodite is represented in high relief sitting on a half-shell at sea. The shell is being carried by a marine Triton to each side. The goddess is nude and sits with her legs crossed. Her arms are raised to hold her long, wet hair. The Tritons look up admiringly at Aphrodite as they bear her across the sea, which is indicated by horizontal wavy lines.
The Tritons have long fish legs and are horned. They wear panther skins over their shoulders, which are tied in a knot on their chests. The young Triton to the right is beardless and holds a ship’s steering oar in his left hand. The other is older and bearded and holds an anchor. The image represents Aphrodite as goddess of the sea, in majesty, carried in procession by her marine attendants.
Portrait head of a bearded young man
From South Agora of Aphrodisias, about 130-140 CE. Curled hair and a short beard were fashionable in the Hadrianic period.
Priestess wearing star-decorated crown (stephane)
From Hadrianic Baths of Aphrodisias, the second to third century CE.
Prominent young citizen wearing a priestly crown
From Theatre of Aphrodisias, late 1st century or early 2nd century CE.
L. Antonius Claudius Dometeinos from Bouleuterion
Around 200 CE. The city honoured Dometeinos, a local magnate, with a public statue at the entrance to the Bouleuterion. He is dressed in civic dress and a heavy priestly crown, decorated with busts of Aphrodite and Roman emperors.
The statue was found right in front of its base, which says that it is L. Antonius Claudius Diogenes Dometeinos. Dometeinos is depicted as a mature individual who possesses attractive, regular features, a full beard, and the long hair of a priest. He wears a tunic, a himation, and sandals together with an unusually large priestly crown. He is holding a book scroll in his left hand, and he has eight more at his feet. The stance of Dometeinos, with his right hand tucked into the sling of his cloak, exemplifies the most common approach for sculpting portraits of Greeks in Aphrodisias and throughout the entire Greek world.
Claudia Antonia Tatiana
From Bouleuterion of Aphrodisias, around 200 CE. The way she wore her hair was reminiscent of the style of the empress Julia Domna, and a small Eros was by her side. The plinth is signed: Alexandros, the son of Zenon, made it.
The statue depicts a prominent local woman, Claudia Tatiana Antonia, who was active at Aphrodisias and throughout Asia in the late second and early third centuries. The statue is identified by the tall inscribed base on which it stood immediately to the right of the easternmost entrance to the Council House, inside the double stoa of the North Agora. The statue was paired with the monument of Tatiana's uncle, Dometeinos.
The figure wears a thin dress (chiton), a mantle (himation), sandals, and an open-work crown. A small figure of Eros used to stand next to her on the ground. It has been broken off and only its feet are left. The Eros and the thin dress refer to the subject's beauty and desirableness. The hairstyle closely resembles contemporary imperial fashion, emulating the wig-like hairstyles favoured by women of the Severan imperial family in Rome. The moulded plinth is elegantly carved and bears the signature of the statue’s maker, one Alexander, son of Zenon.
Aphrodite of the city
From Bouleuterion of Aphrodisias, the 2nd century CE. The best-preserved version of the cult statue of Aphrodite in her temple. Her head was veiled, and she wears a heavy casing (ependytes) on which are: Three Graces, Moon and Sun, Aphrodite on a sea-goat, and Eros figures.
This is the largest and most complete copy of the cult statue of the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias, the image of the goddess created in the Hellenistic period for the sanctuary. It marks the point at which an earlier local fertility goddess was identified with the Aphrodite of the Greek pantheon. The statue stands stiffly and frontally, like an old Anatolian goddess, and was designed to recall that earlier identity of the goddess now subsumed in Aphrodite.
The figure wears a tall headdress and veil and a thin dress covered by thick hard cladding. The cladding is divided into a chest area and four lower decorated zones. Each of these four zones contains figured decoration that concerns different aspects of Aphrodite: (1) three Graces, her handmaids; (2) Selene (Moon) and Helios (Sun), the permanent temporal extent of her realm; (3) Aphrodite in classical form on a sea-goat with tritons; and (4) three winged Erotes, her children and agents, involved in sacrifice. The iconography of the statue was designed to combine the archaic aspects of the old local goddess with ideas of the classical and Hellenistic Aphrodite.
Leading citizen wearing a priestly crown
From the theatre of Aphrodisias, middle or late 2nd century CE.
Leading citizen wearing a priestly crown, another example
From the bouleuterion of Aphrodisias, late 2nd century CE.
Goddess from Hadrianic Baths
From Hadrianic Baths of Aphrodisias, the 2nd century CE.
Satyr with baby Dionysos, large version
From Sculptor's Workshop. Late second or third century CE. The statue, which is over a life-size, depicts a satyr who is positioned on tiptoes and carries the child Dionysos on his raised left arm, while simultaneously holding a throwing stick in his right hand. The satyr is naked and has a piece of goatskin wrapped around his left arm to protect him from harm. He smiles at Dionysos with his head up. The divine child seems to have been holding onto the satyr's hair. The child's fingers are visible on the left side of the satyr's head.
Satyr with baby Dionysos, small version
Small version, from Sculptor's Workshop. Late second or third century CE. The small version of a satyr carrying the baby Dionysos is of the same design, detail, and technique as the ‘Large Satyr’ but at approximately half the size. Both were found in the Sculptor's Workshop. The statue composition is known in yet another even smaller version at Aphrodisias and in another large version found on the Esquiline Hill in Rome, which bears the signature of one Flavius Zeno from Aphrodisias.
Pan extracting thorn from satyr's foot
From Sculptor's Workshop of Aphrodisias. Third or fourth century CE.
Acanthus plant akroterion
An akroterion from the Theatre of Aphrodisias, late 1st century CE.
Youth wearing a toga
Youth wearing a toga, from the theatre of Aphrodisias, the 2nd century CE.
Supervisor of linen-workers
Portrait stele for supervisor of linen workers. From South City Wall, Late 2nd or 3rd century CE.
Naked Aphrodite seated on a rock. From Sculptor's Workshop, 2nd-3rd century CE.
Drunken satyr from Sculptor's Workshop, 2nd-3rd century CE.
Statue of an unidentified man, from the bouleuterion of Aphrodisias.
Statue of a naked man, from the bouleuterion of Aphrodisias.
Office-holder with ink pot
Unfinished togatus statue of office-holder, with ink pot, from Sculptor's Workshop, around 400 CE.
Artemis of Versailles scheme
Unfinished figure in Artemis of Versailles scheme, from Sculptor's Workshop, 2nd-4th century CE.
Seated eastern warrior
Relief of a seated eastern warrior, with shield, spear, and sword. From the theatre of Aphrodisias, 1st-2nd century CE.
Head of philosopher Epicurus, no recorded provenance, from the 1st century CE.
Woman in Herculaneum scheme
Statue of a woman in the Large Herculaneum scheme, from the bouleuterion of Aphrodisias, the 2nd century CE.
Seated Apollo from the bouleuterion of Aphrodisias, late 2nd century CE.
Bare-chested man, from the bouleuterion of Aphrodisias, later 2nd century CE.
Young togatus found in thirty fragments at the Agora Gate, dated to 130-140 CE. A youthful aristocrat of the Hadrianic period holds a book scroll in his left hand and wears a sleeved tunic and a richly carved toga. The fourth finger of the left hand wears a large ring, and the surviving foot wears a soft leather boot worn by Romans up to the rank of knight (eques) but below that of senator. The portrait has handsome features and thick curling locks in the manner of Antinuous, the youthful companion of Emperor Hadrian.
Found south of Aphrodisias in 1988, from the early 3rd century. In each bay of the arcade, a plump winged boy emerges from a richly carved acanthus plant, carrying fruit and implements associated with one of the four seasons. Left to right: autumn carries a throwing club for hunting and a basket of fruit, winter wears a thick hooded cloak in which he carries fruit, spring carries a throwing club and fruits in his outstretched cloak, and summer wears a goat skin and carries a hooked pruning knife. The whole composition celebrates the cycle of agricultural seasons and the benevolent forces of nature.
Pillar of Jewish Community
Inscribed pillar with a list of members of the Jewish Community, from the area east of Aphrodisias Museum, late 4th century CE.
By car: from Denizli, the D585 road leads to Aphrodisias around the mountain range (80 km). From the west, access to Aphrodisias is possible from the E87 route leading from Aydın to Denizli. Coming from this direction, turn south (right) 15 km after the town of Nazilli. The further section of the road (36 km) leads through Karacasu to Geyre.
By public transport: from Denizli to Nazilli by coach, then change to a coach to Karacasu and from there take the minibus to Geyre.
The museum is located within the archaeological site of Aphrodisias and can be visited with the same entrance ticket. Admission to the Aphrodisias area and the museum is possible every day, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The entrance ticket price in 2023 was 280 TL.