Opramoas was a very wealthy Lycian citizen who lived in the first half of the second century AD in the small town of
Rhodiapolis in eastern near present day Kumluca (Eskihisar). He is well-known for his philanthropy and lived during a period when the Roman Empire provided peace in Lycia Anatolia and public works in cities were highly developed. It is not known exactly how Opramoas became so wealthy, but it is known that the rents he received from his lands and the interests he received from commercial ventures and banking operations made up a portion of his wealth.
Not much is left of Rhodiapolis besides a theatre, but the remains of Opramoas’ mausoleum were found there and among the rubble long inscriptions were discovered which once decorated the walls of his tomb. These long inscriptions describe the good deeds Opramoas performed during his lifetime, letters from the emperor and records of the assembly. They are the longest known inscriptions in
Anatolia in the Greek language where information is provided regarding administrative, social and economic activities and relations. Other inscriptions found in other Lycian cities give other details about this esteemed man.
Based on inscriptions it is known that Opramoas:
- Was promoted to prominent posts from 110-155 AD and acted as an administrative, military and religious leader in the Assembly of the Lycian Federation and in important cities of the region. He was honored many times in the Assembly of the Federation, many of which were approved by the Roman emperors.
- Donated much money for the rebuilding of more than 30 Lycian cities following the catastrophic earthquake in 141 AD in which they were demolished. At
he donated 200,000 denarii to repair the theatre, the Artemis Eleuthera temple and the gymnasium, assuming the marble decoration of the gymnasium and adjacent peristyle. Myra
- Donated money for civic buildings, such as baths and certain oracular shrines. Many cities received money such as Choma, which received 7,000 denarii towards a stoa and a temple for Augustus. He is also known to have funded the construction of the theatres of Xanthos, Tlos, and Limyra. At Tlos, he donated 60,000 denarii for the "exedra in the baths" and towards the amphitheatre.
- Distributed wheat to needy citizens and donated money for the education and nourishment of needy children.
- Provided dowries for some government employees and young girls, and funeral expenses for some elderly.
- Assisted in the funding of festivals and ceremonies organized in honor of the gods and emperors and held festivals in his name every four years to help pay for these expenditures.
- Owned lands in many Lycian cities, some of which he donated directly for charitable purposes and others from which he donated the income.
Researchers have determined that during his lifetime Opramoas contributed approximately 2 billion denarii for these activities - an enormous amount, considering that the wage of a shepherd or manual worker was about 10 denarii.A man to my heart, one who deserves at least a statue on a high pedestal!