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Monday, August 19: Day 119 – We’re in Ruins

NOTE: Often I post and Rob then goes back to correct typos, spelling, spellcheck oddities, etc. If you read it from an email link, you get MY wacky version. If you read it a few hours later from the website, you get Rob’s cleaned up version. Take your pick!!

Side

Side has the remains of a city wall that encircles the current bustling city and seaside resort.

The building material in the city of Side is a composite of rocks and shells. It is near the ocean and one uses what is nearby.

I asked Ertunga if there is national pride for hosting some of the world’s greatest treasures. He said no. They only study modern Turkey from 1923 until today or Ottoman Empire history. Modern is Ataturk and religious is Ottoman. Ancient ruins are not part of their Turkish history but times of occupation by other nations. He still believes that they should study the ancient history since it occurred on their land.

Arabs visitors are not interested either. They only want to experience what they don’t have such as green areas and waterfalls. Different nationalities value different things.

There is a Roman AND a Greek theatre. A Temple of Apollo awaits the comings and goings of the sailors to give sacrifices.

Aspendos

This is a second century Roman city in Pamphylia. There is not much left of the city but the theatre makes up for it.

The governor of the ancient city had a very beautiful daughter and it was time for her to marry. She had many suitors. The governor said that he would give her to the man who did something good for the country.

One man built an aqueduct and Zeno built a theatre. The governor chose the man who built the aqueduct to marry his daughter because he decided that the aqueduct would most benefit his country. Zeno was crushed.

Later, the governor and his daughter came to the theatre and were seated on the top row. Zeno whispered, “I deserve her.” The acoustics were so outstanding that the king heard this and changed his mind. He decided that anyone who could build a perfectly designed building with superior acoustics can build anything. Can you find us in this picture?

I asked Ertunga the name of the aqueduct builder and he didn’t know. Rob says that no one remembers the name of the runner-up.

This 15,000 seat theatre is amazing! In 1930, Ataturk announced that the doors of this theatre should never close!!

They have musical performances today … classical instrumental and vocal music. Evening performances have beautiful lights for a special treat.

While we were there, we heard an impromptu vocal performance.

By the 16th century, it was used as a camel overnight stop. They blocked the side entrance and added an arch.


Sagalassos

Sagalassos is in the region called Pisidia. There no Biblical record of Paul being here, but it is on the way from Perge to Pisidian Antioch which is recorded in the Bible.

During that time (and even today), it is dangerous to travel by yourself and as a couple. There were bandits along the way. People would wait for a group and travel in a caravan. Paul likely did the same. (This reminded me of the Great Migration of Wildebeests. They all go together. Maybe this is where it originates.)

The archeology is done by the country of Belgium. Can you see that they have uncovered a beautiful mosiac?

Here is a new word for me: martyrion. This is a monument erected to honor a Christian martyr.

Here is a mausoleum that was built for a general. The top was used for a watchtower. The bottom decoration shows a first century ancient traditional dance of women holding a banner that is still done today.

A basilica is a church word today referring to the type of structure. Actually, the basilica structure originated from Roman times. It was like a city hall where official business was done.

The structure had a center nave flanked by two aisles. The entrance was in the west and the altar in the east.

Today we see an early church that was once a Roman parliament building.

One must have water to have a city, especially one that is on a mountain. There are two fountains still functioning today.

The remains of a Roman fountain still exist with overhead decorations of Medusa heads for protection and a central shell alluding to the birth of Venus.

There is a tunnel entrance on the right in order to escape through the mountain if under siege. Rob and Ertunga went in. It got narrower and narrower but if you faced certain death, one would likely keep going.

Also there is a Greek fountain which has produced water for over 2,000 years.

Ertunga got a key so that we were able to see the Neon Library.

Libraries were built by very wealthy people as one had to construct the building and fill them with scrolls.


We had a wonderful lunch in a restaurant overlooking beautiful Lake Egirdir. Our meal was fried (and fileted) sea bass caught fresh from the lake.

After a short drive of weaving roads, we at arrive at Pisidian Antioch of the Bible. Yalvac is the modern city today. Its farms are known for roses and apples.

Once out of the van, we asked to use the bathroom. In this country, it is the WC. (Why is that? Is water closet too long? Or too embarrassing? In some countries, I have asked the location of the WC but they don’t recognize those letters in English … but the word toilet is universal albeit more embarrassing to say.)

Often, the girls’ toilets are a hole in the ground but there is ALWAYS a throne somewhere. Seek and ye shall find. Enough bathroom humor!

We start to follow the WC signs and Omar says to get back in and he will drive us. Perhaps to a better one? We jumped back in and he drives us for a minute with lots of turns, etc.

After our bathroom business was complete, we got back in the van. Rob prepared for the long journey back by starting to eat some cookies. Omar drove about 50 feet and opened the automatic door.

“We’re here?” exclaimed Rob with a voice muffled by cookies.

We could have walked. We think that it was a courteous gesture but maybe our gait was slowing or our inquiry for a bathroom seemed a little too urgent??


Antioch I & II gave their names to over 20 cities. It was a great honor to have a city carry the name of an emperor. One is even in Syria, and it’s ownership is under dispute. (Laodicea was the wife of Antiochus II so I guess he wanted to bestow her name on a city instead. She must have been something else!)

We often honor streets by naming them after famous people. Or if you are George Foreman, you name ALL your children, George Foreman.

Today we are visiting Pisidian Antioch. The Roman Proconsul of Cyprus, Sergius Paulos, was from Pisidian Antioch. He became a believer after Paul preached the gospel and revealed a false prophet.

Why did Paul go to Pisidian Antioch?

Paul was certainly well versed in his knowledge of the Old Testament and the history of the Jews. He had the best Jewish teacher and mportant connections in Jerusalem.

When Paul was at the synagogue on the Sabbath, they were excited to hear him speak and comment on the reading from the Torah.

They were fascinated with his preaching. He said that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. They wanted to hear more and asked Paul to return in a week so that they could hear more. The Jewish leaders were upset but the Gentiles were thrilled. Pisidian Antioch is where his first sermon was directed first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. They left in a hurry and headed to Iconium.


Nike is the god of victory. It is pronounced Knee-cah. We have Americanized that word and even then incorrectly, as it would rhyme with Mike.

Pisidian Antioch reminds me of a little Perge since one of the main streets has a cascading fountain in the middle. It had a population of about 100,000.

There is a nearby aqueduct and we see lots of ancient water “pipes”.

From THE main Street called Cardo Maximus,

we can see the aqueduct in the distance.

One could run water brought directly to their homes but they had to pay for it, and it was taxed. This is known due to letters of complaints from the town’s people.

In the beginning, Christians were persecuted. Constantine reduced the persecution by tolerating Christians, and then allowing them to build churches. He had no problem with paganism.

After Constantine, Theodosius II accepted Christianity as a religion. Pagan temples became Christan churches.

There was an economic crisis in the pagan temples due to the persecution. More Christians (alive or dead) meant no temple offerings and taxes. Christians don’t contribute. Since Theodosius II would no longer give money to the pagan temples, they soon died out.

An emperor is a son of a god until he dies and then he becomes god. When Domition ruled, he declared himself god while alive. He was not well liked on so many levels.

Epiphany is a term used when you are allowed to see the god once a year through a triangular window.

A temple was built by using natural rock as a wall. A sacred place often means a meteor has landed from the gods so a temple is built.

A small Roman theatre built in 4th century which held 6,000 people.

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