Saturday, October 03, 2009

Chapter Three: Diary of a werewolf in Turkey (Claros and Notion)

Claros, outside of the modern city of Kusadasi, was an oracular temple dedicated to Apollo. We werewolves are very interested in oracles, even if they're not very accurate. Or specific. Or helpful.

There's a lot visible of the temple complex (which also contained a small temple to Artemis), thanks to the diligent work of archaeologists who removed layers and layers of silt deposited by the river nearby. Pilgrims would have come from all over to visit the temple and oracle, sacrifice animals and ask questions of the gods.

You can see that the site still floods, and the water has to be pumped out. You can also see the remains of an ancient water pipe, running across the ditch (by the ladder). The site was used for almost a thousand years, and rebuilt seven times, until it was defaced by Christians in 385A.D.

The reason it was rebuilt so often was that it was one of the most important oracles in the Greek world, after Delphi. In this case, the oracle was probably located under the temple. It may be that if you had a question, you'd descend beneath the temple...

...and move through a labyrinth of narrow tunnels. Remember, it would have been dark and quiet, and very eerie. Think claustrophobia, flickering torches, the sound of water dripping, perhaps chanting.

The oracle might have been situated near the spring, perhaps drinking from it, to be inspired by the gods. Or maybe the oracle inhaled gases released by the spring, which also would have been pretty inspiring. The oracle would provide an answer in a riddle; the job was to provide answers from the gods, not translate them.

But now, there are only frogs in the spring. Don't know if they are prophetic or not.

There's a lot going on in this picture. There's a cave on the hill; you can see the entrance in the cliff, just above the house. This might have been what originally led people to establish a temple nearby. You can also see a HUGE fragment of the statue of Artemis on the left (compare that torso with the person in blue).

This is a fragment of the statue's foot. The leg, found nearby, weighs close to seven tons.

Nearby Notion was a strategically-placed city. Where there is now a floodplain, you can see where the sea would have been, centuries ago. Great view.

Although there are some remains still visible on the site--walls, an agora--they're not as plainly visible as on other sites. Here, for example, is the remains of a theater.

It's a little easier to see from this angle.

There won't be any problem seeing any of the buildings or structures at our next stop, one of the most important in the ancient world: Ephesus.


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