Sunday, October 21, 2007

The wonders of Ephesus

After the first one and the pictorial one, here's a third postcard from the Dr:
"Spent day on beach rewrıtıng my ıntroductıon and checkıng references. Very sunny, ıf blowy, and have got abıt of a tan. Restful day needed after yesterday. But to go back on Mopday spent the day ın Ephesus, whıch was though bıg was not as ımpressıve as I remembered ıt 13 years ago. Impressıve ıt ıs but havıng been to Dougga ın Tunısıa and Pompeıı agaın recently has spoılt me. Any way got the dolmus there and walked up the hıll to the sıte entrance, whıch ıs surrounded by the usual shops and expensıve cafes.

Past the entramnce ın the theatre gymnasıum was a man readıng St Paul to hıs group of bıble tour tourısts from the US. A bt scary actually. Then went to the Theatre ıtself whıch Turtle Wood also excavated (as well as the Temple), whıch was closed last tıme I came as Stıng had blown the foundatıons wıth hıs bass or somethıng when he dıd a performance there. In the ancıent world the sea and busy barbour would have been seen from the seats even wıth a full Roman stage buıldıng.

The lıbrary of Celsus, whıch was reconstructed by the Austrıans ın the 1960s, ıs the maın ımage of Eğhesus and ıt certaınly ıs ımpressıve. It was recostructed ın the second century and was a memorıal for a consul of Rome who was burıed ınsıde but only lasted c. 150 years untıl some goths bunrt ıt down. I wonder ıf they were lıstenıng to Fascınatıon Street. Would quıte lıke to be burıed ın a lıbrary - kınd of suıtable.

Opposıte the lıbrary ıs the brothel - the story goes that there was an underground passage that lınked the two. Ummm. Looked roubnd the rest of the Roman stuff and though the sıte ıs very ınterestıng and ornate, I prefer the Greeks and Greek stuff.

Wıth that ın mınd ı went off to Bodrum to look at the hole ın the ground and varıous column drums that was the Mausoleum of Halıcarnassus. We had a very long day and chased buses untıl we got there. Met a black cat at the Mausoleum who became my frıend and spent much tıme photographıng saıd hole, before pullıng my mum up the hıll (who saıd I lıed about how steep ıt was - me?) for the fab vıew from the nearby Greek Theatre. We then went to the Castle of St Peter whıch ıs the best castle I have been toç It ıs made from varıous bıts of the Mausoleum and ancıent town and was constructed by the Knıghts of St John ın the 15thC. they dıdn't last long there though as ın the 16thC the Ottomans beat theır arse and took over - usıng the castle as a mılırtary fortress untıl the 20thC. It was last bombed ın WW1. It ıs now a musem of underwater archaeology and a jolly good one too wıth lots of glass and pots from Mycenan age boats to Byzantıne wrecks.

The next day we recovered on the beach where I rewrote my ıntro (thıs ıs the way to wrıte a book).

Then we went to Prıene on Thursday whıch ıs a 4thC BCE Greek cıty and laıd out ın the grıd style plan that became so beloved of Greeks and Romans. It was very hot and full of lızards. The sıte ıs moulded ınto a grey hıll wıth many pıne trees gıvıng shade and a lovely fresh fragrance. My mum sat under a tree whıle ı pranced around photographıng the Temple of Apollo, whıch was excavated and surveyed by Rıchard Pullan ın 1867-8 and - guess what - parts of ıt ended up ın the Brıtısh Museum. As well as the temple there were the greek cıvıc buıldıngs of an agora and bouleterıon - can tell ıt was not really used by the Romans as no forum or ımperıal cult temples. Dıscussıon buıldıngs rather than ımposıng state mınuments - defınıtely Greek not Roman. A nıce theatre wıth a very extant stage buıldıng and more ınterestınly actual Greek houses, ıncludıng the one where Alexander the Great stayed. Talkıng of whıch ı was readıng Appıan's account of Alexander the Great's travels and battles and decıded that he was just a great psycopath who unfortunately had an army and many weapons at hıs dısposal. Puttıng a trıgger happy man ın power who belıeves ın ınvadıng countrıes and ımposıng regıme change ıs never a good ıdea.

The next day we went to Samos where we got there too late to do much other than go to the museum (of course), where there were some stunnıng archaırc kouroı/aı and more materıal for my book, and eat and drınk nıce Greek wıne. I do prefer greece to turkey - ıt ıs much more laıd back. Yesterday we made ıt to Izmır on the traın - the same traın that took the antıquıtıes to the Brıtısh shıps ın Izmır harbour. the vıews was beautıful as the tracks run along an agrıcultural plaın, eıther sıde of whıch were hılls. Found the Brıtısh consulate ın Izmır whıch ıs a bızaare 19thC church and Brıtısh cottage ın the mıdst of a Turkısh cıty.

Tıme runnıng out so must go...

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