Mask of Dionysus found in Turkey

A terracotta mask of the Greek god Dionysus has been discovered in the ancient city of Daskyleion, in western Turkey. It was discovered in the city’s acropolis and is believed to have been a votive offering to the deity. It is around 2,400 years old.

In addition to his numerous duties as god of wine, fertility, theater and madness, Dionysus was the god of masked revelry.

Legend has it that wearing such a mask is a way of paying homage to Dionysus, the Greek god of carnivals and masquerades, by allowing you to free yourself from secret desires and buried regrets. Dionysos is said to have concealed both his identity and his power and is considered a patron of the arts.

Located on the bank of a river about 20 miles inland from the coast of the Sea of Marmara, Daskyleion was, according to ancient chroniclers like Strabo and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, first settled around the time of Trojan War. It was settled by the Phrygians in the 8th century B.C. and was conquered by the Lydians a hundred years later. Legend has it that the city was named after the Lydian King Daskylos. Daskyleion was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 547 B.C. and became the capital of the Persian satrapy of Hellespontine Phrygia. The acropolis was built around 500 B.C. The city was briefly captured by Sparta in 395 B.C., but it was quickly reconquered and remained in Persian hands until Alexander the Great took it in 334 B.C.

The remains of the ancient city were discovered in 1952. Excavations ran from 1954 through 1960 and resumed again in 1988. They have been ongoing ever since.

[Excavation leader Kaan] Iren said that this year, a cellar was unearthed in the Lydian kitchen in the city’s acropolis. “Work continues to obtain seeds and other organic parts from the excavated soil in the Lydian kitchen and its surroundings through a flotation process,” he added.

Through more research, the cuisine and eating habits of the region from 2,700 years ago will be better understood, the archaeologist said.