Midas: Fiction and Fact

30 May 2010

The so-called Tomb of Midas in Gordium

King Midas of Phrygia is best known from Greek legend: the story about the drunken Silenus, the story about “the Midas touch”, the story about the donkey ears, and several others, including a nice parallel to the Roman story about the Lacus Curtius.

Yet, the Greeks also remembered him as a real king, the first to send presents to Delphi. This Midas had fought against the Cimmerians, had been defeated, and had committed suicide. He is almost certainly identical to the Mit-ta-a of Muški mentioned in the Annals of the Assyrian king Sargon II.

I’ve made a new page, which you can find here.


23 April 2010

Painted decoration of the temple of Düver, Early Achaemenid Age (Rijksmuseum van oudheden, Leiden)

In 2003, we traveled from the northwest of Turkey to the southeast. It’s a long trip along an endless road, and we almost believed we were the protagonists of a road movie. I will never forget the afternoon of the first day, when we crossed the beautiful plain of Sivrihisar. It is impossible to make a photo that catches the impressive emptiness of those fields, which are the heartland of ancient Phrygia.

Today, I wrote a page about the legendary kingdom of Midas and the Achaemenid satrapies, which you can find here.