PHASELIS fə sə’ lĭs. A Gr. colony in Lycia founded by Rhodes in the first great movement of Gr. colonization in the 7th cent. b.c. It was a member of the Delian League, the confederacy dominated by Athens, from 454 to 417 b.c. It was ruled by the Ptolemies of Egypt from 309 to 197 b.c. From this year on it was under the domination of Seleucid Syria, which controlled its hinterland. Phaselis is included in the list of towns circularized by the Romans in favor of the Jews in 139 b.c., when the Republic, in its quest for a stable frontier, was beginning to realize that their power could not avoid involvement in the eastern Mediterranean (1 Macc 15:16-24). Situated on the Lycian coast, Phaselis was an important staging post on the E-W trade route, and at the time when the Cilician pirate fleets were dominating the eastern end of the Mediterranean, the town provided a base for Zenicetes, the pirates’ leader; hence its capture and punishment by loss of territory at the hands of the Rom. Servilius Isauricus in 77 b.c.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
A city of Lycia in Southern Asia Minor, on the seacoast, near the boundary of Pamphylia, to which country some ancient writers have assigned it. Situated on the extreme end of a promontory which projected into the sea, and with high mountains in the rear, it was separated both politically and geographically from the rest of Lycia. Hence it may be understood how it early became the favorite haunt of pirates. Already in the 6th century BC, when trade was carried on with Egypt, the city struck coins of its own; upon them the prow and the stern of a war galley were commonly represented. The coinage ceased in 466 BC, but it was resumed about 400 BC, when the city again became practically independent. For a time Phaselis was under the control of the Seleucid kings of Syria, but in 190 BC it again regained its independence or continued as a member of the league of Lycian cities (1 Macc 15:23). Before the beginning of the Christian era it had lost considerable of its earlier importance, yet it was still famed for its temple of Athene in which it was said that the sword of Achilles was preserved, and also for the attar of roses which was produced there. It figures little in early Christian history, yet in Byzantine times it was the residence of a bishop. Its site, now marked by the ruins of the stadium, temples and theater, bears the Turkish name of Tekir Ova.
See also LYCIA.