Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ephesus, Kusadasi, Miletus, Didyma, Magnesia

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.


  1. so how big would a London theatre be if it were supposed to seat 10% of the population?!

  2. You are making me laugh because your question turns political for me. The issue that popped into my mind was that the total population of the city included the slaves, and they were not counted as part of the total population. So we would have to subtract from the total population of London, those who consider themselves to be slaves. And who would that be?

    Certainly not the happy retiree's like me. I cannot believe that a person can quit working and have this much fun. Remember, I worked for so long at the university and was surrounded by so many young people that I forgot to look in my own mirror, and so was really surprised when I retired and started hanging out with my own cohort. Where are all these old people coming from was the split-second question that crossed my mind many times. Now I can't answer that question, but I know what they are doing. Wherever I go, they are out having fun. Even in Calgary.

    Wyona and I were shopping at Canadian Tire yesterday and we saw a little 3 year old carrying a toy fishing rod. He dropped it and went a few isles. Then he realized it was gone out of his hands and started looking for it, but it was too many isles out of his immediate view. Wyona picked it up and was waving it at him, but he couldn't see her. Then we called to him, but he wouldn't have heard us. Then his grandfather came along, and was trying to get him to move along on their combined shopping trip, but the little guy just wouldn't move, and kept turning in circles, wondering where that fishing rod was. Wyona waved it at the grandfather and signaled the question, does your little guy want this or should I just put it up on this counter. The grandfather smiled. Wyona walked to the little boy and handed him his lost selection and then hand in hand, the grandfather and the little boy wandered down another isle together. Now, that is the kind of fun retirement is all about. And for sure -- no feeling of slavery among the old, or at least among the three old people who were having their fun at Canadian tire.

    Back to your original question -- I have no idea how big the theatre would have to be in London. But I have a question back for you. In the free tourist package, there was a small clay token modelled after the clay ticket tokens used to get into the theatre then. The masks of comedy and tragedy are imprinted on the token. I put the piece of twine that was in the package, through the token and wore mine for the day. And now I have carried it all the way around the world and home. And I can't seem to throw it out. So it is laying beside my pearls -- hard for me to tell which has the most value since I treasure them equally. The question is, why would I treasure such an item.

    Am going to see Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar in HD at the theatre today. If you count the movies as theatre, the combined number of people watching that today might match the number would could get into the theatre at Ephesus (or London).

    Remember, Paul, the Apostle, wasn't allowed to preach at Ephesus? What do you think he would say to such a large crowd going to see a pop musical and getting all of the messages today that he wanted to tell then. I spent my morning refreshing my mind on the lyrics.

    Maybe I will just take along my theatre token from Ephesus, too, as good luck.