Ancient businessman becomes "honorary member"
ANTALYA – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotosOpramoas, a businessman who lived in the ancient city of Rhodiapolis in the southern province of Antalya’s Kumluca district in the 2nd century A.D. and was known as an important civic benefactor, has become a “honorary member” of the Antalya Industrialists and Businessmen Association (ANSİAD) upon the application of Professor Nevzat Çevik.
Akdeniz University Archaeology Department academic Çevik said there had been many benefactors in the past, but Opramoas was the most important one among them.
He said Opramoas, born in the first half of the 2nd century A.D. and known to have died in 152 or 153, was a very rich man and a Lycian, the pontiff in the temple and the clerk of the Lycian Union.
He said the “ancient businessman” earned money in the Roman Empire era by working in the banking, agriculture and trade sectors and gave most of his earnings to charity.
Çevik said that according to the writings on the walls of the temple-like grave made for Opramoas after his death, the amount of money he had given to charity was 3 million dinars, which was astronomic.
“Economically, it is hard to find its amount under today’s date. For example, the two-story stoa [closed columned gallery] he built in Patara had cost 30,000 dinars. Let’s imagine such big and expensive public buildings. We speak of 3 million dinar; it is enough to build 100 stoas. A big earthquake occurred in 141 A.D. in western Antalya. Many buildings collapsed… people died, diseases appeared. Opramoas revived different structures in 32 cities and helped everyone,” he said.
Çevik said Opramoas also provided dowry for newly married couples and food for the poor. Çevik likened his acts to the ones in the month of Ramadan, adding, “But he was helping people throughout the year. He met everyone’s needs. He even paid the wages of the workers of the Lycian Union.”
Çevik noted the restoration of Opramoas’ grave had been carried out by the Antalya Museum Directorate.
“There are similar temple-like graves in many places but the inscriptions on the grave are important. These inscriptions are the oldest Greek inscriptions in the world. They are too long; made up of 36,000 letters and 7-8,000 words. They show all the beneficiations of Opramoas.”
Çevik said he made a membership application last year to ANSİAD, thinking Opramoas should be a model for today’s businessmen. He said the management accepted the application, marking a first in the world.
“The membership certificate was given to Kumluca Mayor Hüsamettin Çetinkaya because Opramoas was from Kumluca. As a reference, I gave the name of Roman Empire Antonius Pius in the letter. I am very excited about it. We brought together the past and the preset. We told the businessmen ‘let the most precious businessman be a model for you; let him be your honorary member.’ Almost 2,000 businessmen are members of this association. This is a first in the world. Opramoas deserved it and ANSİAD got this chance. No association in the world has a 2,000 year-old ancestor,” the professor said.
Besides Pius, the application letter also included doctor Heracleitos, Kumluca Mayor Çetinkaya and Akdeniz University academics Çevik and İsa Kızgut.