October 20, 2012
Greg, Moiya, David, Margaret and I travelled to see ancient Ephesus today. A long time ago Wyona told me that this trip would be an event to remember. I hardly know where to start talking about it. I want to read more about the library at Ephesus. When I get home, I probably will. I want to see more pictures of the country side, hear more about the history of Anatolia, and learn about the ancient ruins and how they have been pieced together to let us know about civilizations that existed thousands of years ago.
The streets are paved with marble. Only 20 per cent of Ephesus has been uncovered, the work done using money from private individuals, universities, corporations (BMW, for example) and the tourist dollar. We walked through the gates of Hercules. One tour group had stopped to take pictures there, each one stretching out their arms from one gate to the other, thus stopping all of the other tour groups behind them. A tidge irritating to be held back that way. I knew what to do when I saw Greg just duck under the arms of the tourist who was holding us back and carry on. I followed him under her arms. My first act of rebellion ... that day.
A statue of Hadrian has crumbled. His foot stood on the world, the marble sphere of which still lingers in a niche, evidence, the guide said, that none of us will linger though the world seems to continue without us. “What building is across from the library, do you think,” said the guide. “A school,” said one woman. “In a way you are right,” he answered. “The school of love. A brothel. This is the reason that the library of Ephesus was for men only,” he went on. “There was a tunnel built from the library to the brothel, so that men who were afraid of their wives could say they were going to the library. Times don’t change,” he said. I hope he is wrong.
At its political height, Ephesus was about 300,000 people, 1/5 of whom were slaves. Of the others, less than one percent were Jews. Archeologists know there was a Jewish presence there, for at night Jews would go out and scratch graffiti into the rocks – a menorah is etched into one of the steps of the library. The Christian presence is known in the same way – there is a fish scratched into the street tiles, the word for fish being one of the earliest symbols of Christianity, a symbol that predates the cross
I asked Margaret if she knew any scriptures or stories from Paul’s Epistles to the Ephesians. She said no, but she thought that her husband, Peter, would. Since Peter didn’t come with us on the holiday, he doesn’t count. I didn’t know Biblical allusions, so I asked Greg and Dave Wood as they were standing near the exit of the site. Dave came up with something like, “You are no more foreigners and strangers, but fellows in Jesus Christ, ....” and then David could quote more about Jesus Christ being the rock. That really made me laugh. Good for Dave.
Moiya could remember the guide telling us to read Ephesians 18 and 19 for more of the story of Paul in Ephesus, though he did point out the theatre where Paul was to have preached to thousands. A jealous seller of souvenirs marshalled the crowd against Paul and he lost his speaking engagement there. Then the guide told us 300,000 people in Ephesus, 50,000 of whom were slaves. The theatre was build to house 10% of the population at any one time, ... so we were looking at a theatre that would hold 50,000 people and which still does The guide listed contemporary singers with international fame who perform there in concert still, the people sitting on the marble seats, the sound reflecting off of the marble for near perfect acoustics. Poor Paul to have missed his chance to speak. And fortunate, those whose talents still draw crowds of 50,000 there.