In a summer which has only been memorable for offering up no classic films of any genre whatever, one has to settle for the best of the rest. So, with some trepidation, we went to see the IMAX presentation of Hercules (Greek form of the name Herakles), starring Dwayne Rock Johnson (Mr. wrestler/body builder/fast and furious). This of course was bound to be an action flick, not famous for its wit, dialogue, or wisdom. Still, the sheer number of loud… Read more

By now you may be wondering—- o.k. we toured Ephesos, but where exactly did the temple of Artemis go? Glad you asked…. it’s long gone, after the earthquakes the spot where it sat turned into a mosquito filled marsh… and today there is exactly one column left standing, which we are viewing from high atop the hill where the Basilica of St. John is. But which John? There is a real problem in figuring which John we are actually talking… Read more

While it may boggle the mind of Americans, the Turkish government believes in supporting its important historic industries, for instance the Turkish carpet industry. While many countries in the Middle East have carpet makers, none have the quality and continuous heritage of making carpets that Turkey does. The problem is not mechanization, the problem is recruitment in this industry, because making handwoven carpets requires, thin, nimble, quick, mostly young fingers, and nowadays, most young girls (much less boys) in Turkey… Read more

Right across the street from the slope houses are the public baths and latrines. Men went at certain hours to the bath complexes, women at other hours. But of course only people who could afford it went. It cost money. The public latrines however seem to have been open to all. They look about how you would expect them to look, and BTW, no privacy in the privy. There is however an early image of Artemis by the door of… Read more

One of the more spectacular digs in all of Turkey has been the slope house dig, right in the middle of old Ephesos. We will now walk a little further down the hill, over mosaic inlaid streets, and enter the domain of the wealthy, and their penthouses downtown, seven of them, to be exact, and on three levels, with the two houses at the top level being the largest– like modern penthouses. Probably 95% of the wealth in antiquity was… Read more

Ephesos was a city of many temples, many gods, many priests, and Paul wanted nothing to do with any of them. The new excavation on the hill on the right side of the street has produced this. And here is the explanation….. Meanwhile, on the other side of the street and a little further down we have this… There were not merely temples everywhere, there were statues and steles of gods and goddesses everywhere, ranging from demi-gods like Herakles/Hercules to… Read more

Ephesos is the Greek name for the city (Ephesus the Latin one), and it refers to bees, hence the bee on the coin. The patron deity of the city, Artemis is represented on the other side of the coin, by the deer or stage. The Roman name for this deity was Diana, the goddess of the hunt. In Ephesos however the emphasis seems to have been on Artemis as a goddess of health, hygiene, fertility. The city of Ephesos was… Read more

The ride from Aphrodisias to Kushadasi is not terribly long, and along the way we stopped at my favorite leather factory, Kircilar. They make the very best leather coats and jackets, and wallets and belts and purses etc. out of lambskin. It’s beautiful stuff, and my groups always enjoy this stop, not least because two of them at least get drafted to model these items on the runway show,complete with the usual bouncy runway music. A good time is had… Read more

A trip to Aphrodisias is always a treat as it is a truly spectacular site, and now it sports the best museum related to the growth of the Imperial Cult in the first two centuries. In order to understand the relevance of this to NT studies one needs to recognize only two recent historical persons were being called God in the first or second century, either the Emperor or Jesus. There is then a case to be made that these… Read more

Down and across the Lycus valley from Hierapolis is Laodicea. This city was famous in antiquity, and famously had a water problem, not lukewarm water but brackish water. It was a huge city with two major theaters (one for morning one for afternoon performances depending on where the sun was) and a stadium, and it has become a huge dig, the most active ambitious dig perhaps in all of Turkey. Just reconstructing the streets in itself is an enormous task… Read more

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