Thibaut Boulay et Anne-Valérie Pont
Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres
In 1953, Jeanne and Louis Robert made copies and squeezes of several inscriptions at the site of ancient Chalketor in Caria, a region in Asia Minor which occupied an important place in the work of the two scholars. The documents related to three of these inscriptions, deposited in the Fonds Louis Robert at the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, form the core of this work. In spite of their short length, these inscriptions provide new information on the history of Chalketor and on this part of Caria. These data lead one to examine, successively, the historical geography of the region in Antiquity, which was marked by rivalry between Mylasa, Iasos and Euromos, as well as by foreign domination, the limits of the territory of Iasos, the function of the emperor as eponymous magistrate in the cities of western Asia Minor, as well as the last known elements of the history of Chalketor during the 3rd century A.D. The fate of this modest Carian locality, discerned by fragments spanning more than seven centuries, thus makes it possible to clarify events from the regional history and to pursue refl ection on political and social developments in Greek and Roman Antiquity.
From late September until early November of 1932 Louis Robert made the first of his many explorations of Turkey, and he did this in the company of M. L. Lecocq, whose knowledge of the Turkish language provided the help that he was to receive in later travels from his wife Jeanne. He owed this first journey in Turkey to funding from the American Society for Archaeological Research in Asia Minor and, above all, to the patronage of William Hepburn Buckler, an eminent and wealthy scholar whose memory Louis Robert cherished throughout his life. That initial exposure to Turkish antiquities on the ground and the incomparable landscapes in which they stood nourished decades of subsequent work on Anatolian sites, and it was a portent of things to come that Robert started in 1932 with his beloved Caria. He visited Stratoniceia, Mylasa, the plain of Eurômos, and Hydisos, and he inspected inscriptions at Chalketor. He revisited this region two years later, and again in 1953.
The five squeezes from Chalketor in the Fonds Louis Robert at the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in Paris evoke these visits. They are but a small part of the great archive of Louis Robert’s squeezes, correspondence, travel notebooks, and coins that Jeanne Robert presented to the Académie in June 1998. I have had the privilege of serving as her designated responsable of this archive from that time onwards, with the help and advice of the much regretted François Chamoux and Jean-Louis Ferrary. To this last I am indebted for his willingness to join me now as co-responsable, in order to assist with the ever growing interest in the treasures of the Fonds Robert. Although many articles have been published on the basis of material in the Paris archive, the first book to exploit its holdings was the thorough and beautifully illustrated publication, Les Monnaies du Fonds Louis Robert (2011), prepared by Fabrice Delrieux at the invitation of François de Callataÿ and myself.
The second book is the present work on Chalketor in Caria, which is the product of meticulous research in the archive by two young scholars, who, like the Roberts themselves, are husband and wife-----Thibaut Boulay and Anne-Valérie Pont. It is appropriate they have turned to the region of Caria where Louis Robert first traveled, in particular the plain of Eurômos, near the slopes of Mt. Grion and not far from ancient Iasos,which lay on the coast but was close to a small inland sea. Their research on this relatively restricted territory covers many centuries, spanning both the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire. We can observe the fortunes of Chalketor and the surrounding region over a long period that extends from the second century BC to the third century AD, during which the village appears to have been a dependency of Iasos. Among this book’s many witnesses to the scholarly impact of Louis Robert is its emphasis on the territory, administration, and prosopography of Iasos. This was a site that greatly interested him and about which he was talking animatedly within a few days of his death at the end of May 1985.
The accessibility and integrity of the archives in the Fonds Louis Robert have been assured from the start by the devoted vigilance of Mme Béatrice Meyer, who has served as chargée de mission and welcomed visitors with unparalleled warmth and grace. Under her guidance those visitors have been able, through notebooks, squeezes, and photographs, to have a direct and almost personal contact with the eponym of the archive even though he left us three decades ago. The quality of the publications that have followed from these visits demonstrates the enduring value of the holdings in Paris and the continued timeliness and richness of scholarship on Asia Minor. Chalketor is not only the subject of the pages that follow but an emblem of Louis Robert’s passion for historical geography, history, and epigraphy. His no less passionate commitment to numismatics already dominated the volume of Fabrice Delrieux, whose steadfast devotion to the Fonds Louis Robert is again reflected in the two maps he has now created for Chalketor. I have no doubt that Louis Robert would applaud this new work by Boulay and Pont, and might even be moved to say, as I heard him remark after a particularly brilliant lecture, J’ai été transporté.
Associé étranger de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres