Brook hopes you'll make yourself at home and read through her scrolls to learn more about her work as an author, her research, travels, thoughts, and adventures!"
Don't forget, it's GIVEAWAY TIME!!!
On Sunday, June 7th, I'll be drawing a name of one of my readers to win both books (autographed!) in the Antonius Trilogy. To enter, all you need to do is subscribe to my website. If you've already done that, you're automatically included!
This week, we're taking a virtual tour to Ephesus, located in Kusadasi, Turkey. Perhaps the most famous building in this historic site is pictured at the right. This is the Library of Celsus, built in the early 2nd century AD by Titus Julius Aquila to honor his father. I'd consider this a mighty slick Fathers' Day gift! This is only the facade, and ruins of portions of the walls can be seen behind it.
As in previous sites, many things that I saw in Ephesus, such as the Celsus Library, wouldn't have been built at the time of Marcus Antonius's story. However, Ephesian ruins were more generous than those in Alexandria, when it came to showing remains from the 1st century BC. And the city of Ephesus will be featured boldly in my next book, Antonius: Legend.
Our first stop will be the magnificent Terrace Houses, dating from the 1st century BC--during the Late Republican period into the Imperial Age. There is some evidence to suggest that a few of these dwellings were still in use by the 7th century AD.
Apparently, there had already been some lofty terraces built on this hillside during the Hellenistic Age, and when the Romans came along, they began building private homes, using the massive terrace stonework as a base. These were obviously homes of the rich and famous, as they had both hot and cold running water, and huge, open views. However, that large open view was the only window in each house, so it was grandiose, since it provided the only source of natural light for each one. To the left is an overview of one of the Terrace Houses. Upon visiting, one follows a stair-path, highlighting mosaics, wall-paintings, and other architectural features. Without a doubt, this portion of Ephesus was my favorite, and became inspiration for Marcus's visits to the city in my story.
My husband took this photo on the right and I'm so glad he did, as it is a perfect example of how the Romans plumbed a home (domus). Behind the lovely frescoed decor are pipes that brought in fresh water for the families living here. Remains of hypercaust baths have also been discovered, so these wealthy inhabitants had a pretty sweet life in the Terrace Houses.
Above are two pieces of the abundant art that has been discovered in the Terrace Houses. On the left is a fabulous Medusa mosaic. In this rendering, the artist actually succeeded in making the snake faces rather cute! On the above right is a second-style theatrical fresco from the late Republic/early Imperial period. Even in the House of Augustus on Rome's Palatine Hill, one can find similar wall-paintings with theatrical masks as the subject. Theater was such a popular entertainment in the Classical Age, and as you scroll down, you'll see that Ephesus had its own phenomenal venue for shows.
Most ancient cities had a main thoroughfare, similar to streets like Broadway in NYC. In Rome, it was the Via Sacra, Alexandria had its Canopic Way. In Ephesus, it was the Arcadian Way, and it's pretty certain that Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra used this entry into the city shortly before their showdown with Octavian. The lovely columns decorating the sides of the road were added later, but Marcus and Cleo saw all of the busy shops, some of whose walls can still be seen in this photo.
The Canopic Way led straight to the enormous theater complex, and Paul the Apostle found that handy, as he spoke there, during the earliest days of Christianity. Rich and poor alike used this road, and I found it intriguing when taking photos that someone carved a circular game-board, similar to ones I've seen in the Forum Romanum, right in the middle of the thoroughfare! (See below, bottom right.)
When people visit the city these days, the Arcadian Way and Theater complex are now toward the end of the tour, where one exits the archaeological site. However, one has to use imagination to think how fantastic the ancient city would have looked to a visitor approaching on the Arcadian Way, seeing the theater for the first time. And look at the paving of this road...gorgeous marble slabs would have been shimmering!
From this angle, you can see how the Arcadian Way would have approached the theater. WOW! What a view! By the Roman Imperial Age, this complex seated 25,000 spectators.
That being said, it was built in phases. Lysimachus of Thrace was likely the designer during the early 3rd century BC, beginning the theater concept by building atop an earlier structure. During the 1st century BC, a second phase included lower seats in the cavea and a two-level stage/scaenae frons--a very typical Roman theater design. It was this second phase that would have been seen by Marcus, Cleopatra, and Paul.
Later, in the Flavian period, the upper level seats were added, along with yet another in the scaenae frons, allowing for even more elaborate staging. All-in-all, Ephesus's theater was one of the ancient world's grandest.
Next week, I'll be finishing up the series Through My Lens, by sharing my trek through ancient Philippi! Hope to see everyone there. Until then, don't forget to subscribe to my website for the giveaway and... READ ON!