İstanbul, unexpectedly

23 December 2010

The citadel of Byzantium

A personal post this time. I am on my way to Iran, where I was supposed to be present when a friend would affirm his commitment to an Isfahanian woman. I do not know if there is an English word for an ‘engagement party’, but that’s what it is. Unfortunately, I won’t be there, as my plane reached Istanbul with some delay, and I’ve missed my plane to Tehran. I’ll arrive one day too late, but for the time beıng, I am enjoying an unexpected stay ın Istanbul, one of the nıcest cities ın the world. Pity that I cannot take photos, as my luggage is lost.

Motya and other Mediterranean towns

15 December 2008

A Greek-Phoenician female mask; Museum Villa Whittaker.

A Greek-Phoenician female mask; Museum Villa Whittaker.

Motya is a Phoenician city, situated on a small island in a lagoon in the west of Sicily. The city was destroyed in 396 BCE by Dionysius of Syracuse, but was not really abandoned: archaeologists have found villas from the fourth century. Still, the island had become more or less empty, and remained so until archaeologists started to dig. They found city walls, a port, sanctuaries, and tombs. The finds are now in museums on the island itself, in Marsala, and in Palermo. You can find the first of three pages devoted to Motya here; a satellite photo is here.

I was also occupied with Assos, in the west of Assos. We visited the site in 2004, and later, we saw many finds in the Paris Louvre and the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul. Everything is brought together on this page.

Slonta in Libya is one of the weirdest ancient sanctuaries, as you will see on this page; for a more regular ancient city, go to Roman Cordoba; and for the delighs of rural life, go to Suq al-Awty, which was part of the Limes Tripolitanus.

The regular reader of this blog will have noted that I am still moving pages. I still have 154 pages to go.

30 pages on Constantinople

28 August 2008
Eagle and Snake in the Istanbul Mosaic Museum

Eagle and Snake in the Istanbul Mosaic Museum

Voilà, the first major contribution to my website in about a year: thirty pages on Constantinople. Interested in the Greek origins? Go here. Constantine’s city? Here is your page. Photos of the impressive land walls? Here you are. The full Latin text of the Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae is here, the Bosphorus has not been forgotten, and the photos of the Mosaic Museum are here. And if you want to have an overview of all pages – it’s here. Enjoy; I enjoyed my holiday.

Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae

16 July 2008
Imperial eagle, on a small arch in the Theodosian Wall, directly north of the Golden Gate.

Imperial eagle, on a small arch in the Theodosian Wall, directly north of the Golden Gate.

The Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae belongs to the ancient genre of “regionaries”: a list of monuments and civil servants in the regions of a city. The text was published by the great German scholar Otto Seeck, as an appendix to his edition of the Notitia Dignitatum (1876). The Notitia Urbis was written during the reign of the emperor Theodosius II (probably in 447-450) and goes back to official sources. Although the simple lists are not always easy to understand, the Notitia Urbis helps to know what the city must have looked like before Justinian‘s building program.