Monday, May 24, 2021

A Tomb Venerated by Muslims for Generations in Turkey Is Actually the Tomb of the Ancient Greek Boxer Diagoras

It has long been known that Muslims in Turkey were taught to not acknowledge the Greek and Roman history of Turkey, claiming that their ancestors have lived there for thousands of years, of which they are direct descendants. Archaeology however easily disproves this theory, and below we have one example how mistakes like this when uncovered become a source of shock to locals.

In 2018 an Islamic holy site once believed to be the tomb of a Muslim holy figure was actually built for a famous Ancient Greek boxer.

Local worshippers had "sacrificed goats and chickens" at the Turkish tomb for decades – but now fear that their prayers were in vain.

The 2,400-year-old tomb was revered by local people in the Marmaris district of Turgut, but archaeologists recently confirmed that the tomb actually belonged to a boxer called Diagoras of Rhodes.

"I used to kiss the tomb," said one local resident, speaking to Turkish broadcaster TRT.

"People would sacrifice chickens or goats for their prayers to be answered," she added.

The tomb served as a pilgrimage site for thousands of Muslims every year, who had named it Çağbaba.

Townsfolk would pray at the tomb and ask for good fortune, rain, fertility or safe return from military service.

But it turns out that the place has no religious history.

According to tradition, young men going into the army to do their military service would take a handful of earth from the area around tomb as a good-luck talisman, due to its holy status.

"Diagoras won many prizes, and these have been found in many different temples," said archaeologist Raşit Öztürk, speaking about Diagoras' tomb.

"He was a boxer who would draw applause from people when he walked the streets."

Archaeologists discovered a Greek inscription on the tomb’s walls, identifying Diagoras and featuring a quote from the athlete from beyond the grave, stating: “I will be vigilant at the very top so as to ensure that no coward can come and destroy this tomb.”

According to reports, there was also mention of Diagoras’ wife, Aristomacha, at the tomb. Archaeologists posit that there was once a sculpture of the couple at the site, that has since been stolen by looters.

In the 1970s a Turkish newspaper reported that the alleged shrine was, in fact, a tomb and not that of a local holy man. This apparently angered many locals and they attacked and ransacked the burial place. It appears that some grave goods that had lain undetected for generations were looted at this time, including at least one statue of  a warrior. The fate of these artifacts is now unknown.