Mother Syessa: A Novel Take on Anatolian History

Monday, 19 December 2016 17:30

Inspired by his research into the ancient and antique history of southern Turkey, local author Birol Ganioğlu has written the Soothsayer of Thelmessos trilogy of novels. Originally published in the Turkish language, the first book of the series, Mother Syessa is now available to read in English.

Mother Syessa is a Historical and Mythological novel set in the Lycian Civilisation in the first century B.C.

Lycia (meaning 'The Land of Light') was a federation of independent cities in Anatolia (southern Turkey) in what are now the provinces of Antalya, Muğla and Burdur. The largest city in Lycia, now the site of modern-day Fethiye, was known as Telmessos . It is here that Birol Ganioğlu's historical novel begins.

This is a time of disturbance for the Lycians. The recent assassination of Julius Caesar in the neighbouring Roman Empire has cast factions across the Mediterranean against one another.  The Lycians can no longer rely on their peace and trade treaties to keep them safe. Some ready themselves for battle, while others prepare to flee for their safety.

Meanwhile, an enigmatic and prophetic figure, the Soothsayer of Thelmessos, looks down from his cave home, to the people in the city below, and tells tales of gods and goddesses, men and women.

As the story unfolds, we are taken on an epic journey across ancient Lycia; visiting people and places where now only monuments and ruins remain.

About the author

Now living in Üzümlü near Fethiye (and close to the ruined Lycian settlement of Cadianda/Kadyanda), Birol Ganioğlu once ran a local travel agency business and is a passionate expert on this region's history. He was inspired to write a guidebook especially for the tour guides in the Lycian area, but after realising his potential audience might only number around 500 tour guides, the idea morphed into a historical novel which not only lends vast knowledge about the history of this part of Turkey, but also leads the reader on a journey of adventure and mystery.

Mother Syessa is the first book in the Soothsayer of Thelmessos trilogy. The second instalment, Apollonides is currently being translated into English for publication next year, and the third book of the series Nicholas (a tale of the Anatolian origins of Saint Nicholas – better known as Father Christmas) will be translated thereafter.

The book will soon be available to buy from the Keçi Kitabevi bookshop, and the office of FETAV (Fethiye Tourism Promotion Education Culture and Environment Foundation) – both in central Fethiye.

This article was first published in Land of Lights on 19th December 2016. A version of the article was also published in Fethiye Times on December 8th 2016

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