Friday Photo: After Aphrodite

24360_385452232635_4030147_nToday’s Friday photo is an image of the ruins of Aphrodisias, an ancient city in Turkey near to modern-day Denizli. During its ancient heyday, Aphrodisias was the site of flourishing sculpture production, although it suffered from earthquakes several times in its history. As the name suggests, the city was devoted to Aphrodite, and a temple in her honour was a major part of the urban landscape. As this photo attests, however, the city survived into the Christian period–seen in these Byzantine cross panels. They brought new symbolism into the temple when it was converted into a church for Christian worship. These panels are a beautiful reminder of the ways in which Hellenic and Roman traditions were incorporated into the new Christianity, endowing it with everything from the basilica form of church architecture to the iconography of Christ and his angels.

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One thought on “Friday Photo: After Aphrodite

  1. Reblogged this on Ghost River Studios Blog and commented:
    The artifacts and architecture of Turkey are remarkable, with its rich blend of spiritual traditions. At its best, the Ottomans brought together artists and philosophers from every corner of the world and every path of faith. Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr said the Mulsim Cailiphs would send Christian artists on learning missions, so they could return and paint even more beautiful Christian icons. Aside from the cuisine, which I love, my interest in all things Turkish began with a Ripley’s Believe It or Not story about a Turkish prince, who losing his shield in a battle, tore off an armored door from the fort his forces were defending, and used it as his shield for the remainder of the day. The Dr. Who account from “Voyage of the Damned” is my favorite historical summary of Turkey during Christmas:
    “To repeat, I am Mister Copper, the ship’s historian, and I shall be taking you to old London town in the country of UK, ruled over by good King Wenceslas. Now, human beings worship the great god Santa, a creature with fearsome claws, and his wife Mary. And every Christmas Eve, the people of UK go to war with the country of Turkey. They then eat the Turkey people for Christmas dinner like savages. (The Doctor Who Transcripts)”
    There is something wonderful, exciting, and mystical about a country the very roads of which are older than the discovery of the continent on which I live.

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