Biblical Turkey Guide
Sardis was The capital city of King Croesus who was considered as the richest man on earth in the ancient times. Due to gold bearing river Pactalus and gold collected in the area, Lydian Kingdom became one of the great Kingdoms of the antiquity. Lydians who minted first coins with a fixed and guarantied value and were so proud of their richness and their impregnable fortress, they were sure that no army on earth could capture their city. But the city was captured twice when Lydian guards were careless and sleepy. After each disaster, the city was recovered but slipped back to false sense of security.
Accusations and blames for the church in Sardis is easy to understand: It is blamed not to be careful and watchful. It is warned to strengthen spiritual defenses.
Sardis, the capital city of Lydian Kingdom, is one of the most spectacular archaeological site of Turkey. Excavated by the Princeton and Harvard Cornell Teams, Sardis houses amazing number of grand monuments.
This Ionic Temple with immense dimensions was first built for goddess Artemis 300 BC by Antiochus, the king of Sryra. During this first contruction period main cella walls and ......of the temple was built. The temple was designed as dipteros plan having 8 colums on the shor sides and 20 coloums on the long sides and it fased to west like the other Artemis temles. A shirne, built in the 6 century BC is situated on the western part of temple.
Second period of construction started 150 BC during the Hellenictic period when Artemis shared her temple with God Zeus.The plan of the temple follwed the unusul plan of architect Hermogenes, psevdo dipteros
Third Period of contruction started 150 AD when Emperor Antinius Puis and his wife Faustina were whorshipped at the temple. Artemis this time left her temple for the Roman Emperor.
Synagogues and Gynasium Complex
Earliest human settlement in Gygian Lake area was disscaved by the Amrican archeologist. Early towns and tombs revealed the early history of the town. Peple of Sardis believed that their city was ruled by the hreclic dynasty first. Then time of king Candulos who was so proud of the beatity of his wife, the dynasty changed once more. Candolos wanted his minister Gyges to see his wife naked. Altough Gyges objected to suggestion, it was an orfder from the kig and he had to do it. He saw the quenne naked but the quenne saw him also. Following day he was invited by the quenne who said;
I know yous saved me naked. Now you have to choise. Either you kill the king and become the king and my husband or I will perish you. Gyges did the latter. He killed the king and becme the Kydian king.
AFter Gyges we have golden ages for the Lydian kingdom. Lydians discovered the gold in the nearby hills. At the beginning this was electurum which was mixture f gold and silver. Lydians who were the first people using the coins minted their first coins in electrum. But use of electurum with the chamge of gold and silver persentage caused a great peoplems for the city. Time came, people dudnt trust thr Lydian coins any more. Then Lydians started purifying the gold and seperating it from the silver. They had a special medhod to do so. They hammered the electurum and had very thin layers of the gold. They put those thinlayers of electurum, salt and broken pieces together and they started to heat them togother. After being melted, silver went with the salt leaving the gold in its pure state. People of Sardis had their Cybele, Kubaba goddess of fertility who was also protecress of the mines and gold. Her shire was discovered in the gold refining area of Sardis.
Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis is one of the greatest temples of anciet world. Before the present day temple, Lydians had a shirine for goddes Cybele, mother goddess of Anatolia.
The first temle started by Syrian Kings after the death of Alexander the great.
This was a popular avenueu of Sardis dating to 6 and 7 centuries. Around corner of the street, American archeologist discovered a latrina with well preserved seats. The shops after the latriana were owned by the Christians while the shops close to synagogues were owned by the Jewish people. A restaurant, a hardware shop and paint shop belonging to Jacop, who was one of the ovners of the synagoges were discovered. The name of Jakop was found on a small piece of Pottery.
When Persians control Anatolia, they built a road for their postal system. The Royal Road started from Sardis and went all the way down to Susa, the capital city of Persia.
Teh existance of Jewish people went back to 6 centuryBC. The city was then called Sapharad and Jewish population came from Jerusalem after the Babylonian destruction of the city. Fisrt century BC, there eas well established Jewish community in Sardis. Even we know, the jewish population in Sardis were given a hall to do their assemblies after the major earquake of 17 AD because of the great aid they gave for the reconstruction of Sardis. Alhough we know the Jewish population in Sardis optained many privilages given by Roman Emperors and given even a bulding to practice their religious ceremonies, we have no idea where the early synagogues were located. It was a great suprise for the archeologisst when they hit this hall with elongated form. Great number of incription in Greek and only three in Hewrew giving the nmes of donors indicated the existence of a symagogues over here. Most of donors held the hoonoray titile citicen. These were kind of dedicational incriptions on the mozaics and wall mozaics. One mozaic panel in the middle of the main hall was a gift of priest and teacher of the wisdom. A discovery of a carving which depicted a menorah sign, a palm tree and ram horns confirmed the existence of a synagogues. American archeologist also discovered a stone piece with a Jewish writing on it " Shalom" peace. Synagogues like the rest of the city was abondened in 616 AD. The jwish comminity were dispersed.
There are a lot of ancient material reused in Sardis Synaggues. During the digs, ameriacan sholars disceved the remains of a shirine for Cybele underneath the florr of the synagogues. Te hirine was used from 6th century BC down to 3.century BC. One of the carvins discoverd in the area shows the figures of both Cyble and Artemis with their worhippers. The shire of Cybele must have been in this area and that was possibly the shire mentionesd by Herodotus ans Plutarch.
Gynasium Bath Complex
This complex covers an area of 5 1/2 acres and it was the most impressive public building in Sardis. in the middel of the busy downtown area. This plan follows the imperial type having a symetrical orser plan following an axis. In the incription these buildings are called gynasia or baths inerchangebly. Easter side of the coplex is taken by huge palestra for pyscical exersises. The gynasium/bath coplex was built in the 2 century AD. But Imperial had was added in 211 AD and it was renovated in 5th century.
After palatra visitors arrive to Marble Court dedicated to Imperial Cult. Here we have two stroyed building having beatiful coloumns. The incription in red colour mentioning the names of Emperor Caracalla and Geta (his name is erased) and their mother Julia Domna in 211 AD. On the podium there is another incription in yellow colour mentioning the 5th century restoration of the Marble Hall by a civil leader. The use of very difrent type of coloums, multy stroyed arrengmet, imposing pedimented group in the center, use of many statues, policromatic effect of the coloum remind us the stage building of a theatre. This suggest a link with the emperoro and wine God Dyaniosos.
The marble court was contructed in 1964 -1973 following basicly the design of 211. AD arrengement. But also the feateurs of the 5.century alteration were retained. Marble Hall was not in use any more after the 4th century when Imperrial cult was abolished, surpressed. The restoration has nearly 60/65 % of the original work. Al the walls were covered with the marble. Today the columns supprt onlry their own weights.
People went to baths after the execises and games. After undressing and exercising in the palastera, they run for the hot baths. They moved from the tepid rooms to hot ones eventualy ended up at caldariom, the hottest part of the co mplex and main nathing area with heated pools. Then they moved to cold section of the bath, after the cold bath and swim in the pool they had massage and they bodies were annointed and perfumed. This was the end of the hours in the bath and they were ready to go home and have big dinner.
The Temple of Artemis
It was one of the 7 biggest temples in the ancient world. The contruction of the temle started a generation after the campign of Alexaner the Great. With its size 45*99 metters it became rival to Ephesus, Dyma
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