Saturday, June 14, 2008
Euromos-- The Growth of Paganism in the Christian Era
We will begin our tour of places I visited this summer in Turkey. The first is in some ways one of the oldest and most well preserved of the Greek cities visited. It is also today one of the most obscure and difficult to find, as it is not on the beaten track that any tour bus would go on, and yet it is clearly visible from the road. This was a critically important city of the Greek league in Asia Minor, and it has clear connections with the famous Hellenistic ruler Mauselos, whose mammoth and grandiose tomb gave us the term 'mausoleum'.
The distinction of this second century temple built to the honor of Zeus (see the honorific inscription in the picture below) is that it is one of the 3-4 best preserved Greek temples from the first or second century A.D. and it shows beyond cavil that paganism was still alive and being supported by massive building projects such as this one. What is interesting about this one is that the city was no longer a major and crucial city north of the port at Bodrum and yet the building projects went on. What this temple also shows is that it was not only the Emperor cult that was being supported by the propaganda of
erecting religious buildings. One needs of course a tour guide to find such important but obscure sites, and you will find him depicted above :). Enjoy.