Bellerophontes, Pegasos and the Foundation of Halikarnassos. Contributions to the Study of the Salmakis Inscription


  • Marco Santini


The epigraphical poem known as ‘The Pride of Halikarnassos’ or ‘Salmakisinscription’ (late 2nd-early 1st cent. BC) provides a significant mythicalaccount of the colonial expeditions that led to the foundation of Halikarnassos,featuring heroes and deities coming from several parts of theGreek world. The paper analyzes the first section of the list of colonizers,focusing on the role of the characters involved, i.e. Athena, Bellerophontesand Pegasos, and trying to find their proper place in the cultural history ofHalikarnassos, not disregarding the clues that may come from linguisticconsiderations. Finally, the marking of the boundaries of the indigenousland, which constitutes the core of this phase of foundation, receives herean explanation within the general sense of the poem: far from representingthe brutal annexation of the territory, it is one of the ways in which thecity of Halikarnassos presents itself as both genuinely Greek and deeplyembedded in its Karian background.