Oct. 26th: Aphrodisias

At first I was less than excited to be writing the blog for today – I have a fair amount of work to catch up on, emails to shoot off, places to explore, Classics to study, etc.

Then I thought it over – my mother has been complaining lately that I haven’t been writing any of the blogs, and much more importantly I realized what the two main events of the day were: A visit to Aphrodisias, and the devastating food poisoning that nearly universally incapacitated the FSP. Given this rich subject matter, I nobly accepted the assignment.

We all awoke from our sound, peaceful sleeps excited for what promised to be a particularly beautiful and well-preserved site. Well, truth be told, our sleeps weren’t quite sound or peaceful. In fact, most of the FSP was awake all night experiencing the wrath of Turkish cuisine. In addition, in Brett’s and my room, a mysterious scratching in the walls kept us awake and terrified until the early hours of the morning until our fatigue, dehydration, and nausea made us pass out in spite of the horrifying gnawing and screeching of what we later decided was in all likelihood a miniature dragon.

Our first stop was at the local market to pick out some delicious food and “genuine-fake” quality Turkish merchandise. Unfortunately, most of the FSP was still feeling battered and weary from a night spent battling the Vanth of digestive problems. Therefore, many opted to concentrate their efforts on merchandise – Eman picked out some “Beats” head phones which are shockingly still working, Cara scored a cozy North Face fleece to keep her warm during inter-frat transit this winter, and I got a comb! Now I can whip that bad boy out during casual conversation and inspire comparisons with The Fonz and other great comb-associated pop culture icons. Yeah. Awesome. Aaron got a rock.

After the market we piled on the bus for a pleasant two-hour drive to lunch, during which most of the FSP passed out. When we arrived we were seated at the “sick table” or the “normal food table” in an effort to contain and remedy the Turkitis that was still afflicting a good number of our party. The quarantine proved successful, and after a delicious/painful lunch, we pressed onward with joy and enthusiasm towards our only site of the day, Aphrodisias.

Aphrodisias is a city made of marble – literally! And we’re not talking faux-marble revetments, but solid, grade-A, Ionian marble. Turns out the residents of the town had the good fortune to settle just a stone’s throw from a massive marble deposit. Lucky, huh? Turns out they also had the good fortune to pick the right side in virtually every conflict they ever wrapped themselves up in – a sense of good judgment that, combined with their masterful sculpture and lucrative marble business, made them extraordinarily rich.

The site was lavish – from the temple of Aphrodite to the theatre to the stadium (the undisputed highlight of the site), every structure was opulent, well built, and shockingly well preserved (Eat your heart out, Pompeii). Unfortunately many FSP’ers had trouble enjoying the site due to continued stomach cramps, dizziness, and eruptions that would put Vesuvius to shame. Our intrepid Professor was feeling much better, thank God, and got to enjoy the site to its fullest. We all enjoyed watching him prance, prance, prance about – giddy as a schoolboy – exploring a site he had not yet visited during his academic career.

After a brief stop in the museum, which was quite impressive for a relatively off-the-beaten track site, it was back on the bus for another long ride to our hotel near the hot springs of Pamakkule. Much to our delight, we found our hotel features a “Thermal Jacuzzi Room.” After dinner, we decided to take a refreshing dip and combine our various viruses in a putrid stew of spring water and dead skin cells. It was glorious. To sum up the group’s opinion on this objectively disgusting and unhealthy activity, it is Aaron’s opinion that this sort of fusion swimming pool hot tub facility should be a legal requirement in all hotels.

Okay – that’s about it for today. We’re all feeling cleaner, stronger, and at least ten pounds lighter. We’re certainly strong enough to conquer whatever challenges tomorrow may level against us. Except a quiz. Dear God, I hope there’s not a quiz tomorrow before we get on the bus. That would be just awful.

Respectfully submitted,

T.H.

 

Photos brought to you by Eman:

The new king of Aphrodisias.
Tetrapylon!
If only the Circus Maximus was this well preserved.
“Is that a column I see?”
Teddy pokes around in a pile of marble blocks.
Remains of the Temple of Aphrodite, the patron goddess of Aphrodisias. You probably couldn't have guessed that from the name.
This was once a reflecting pool in the agora. Now it is dead grass.
Welcome to the theater. It's ever so grand.
The students admire the Sebasteion, site for the worship of the imperial cult.
Cat! And a Greek inscription.
An interactive map! What great fun!
Cara's got the orator pose down.
Putti (i.e. cupids) on pilaster capitals. Intricate.
Kathleen peruses the scenes of myth and imperial figures intertwined in the sculptural program on the Sebasteion.
Anchises, baby Aeneas, and Venus.

Hanging out on a tractor. That's how we roll.

 

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