July 9, 2011

Aizanoi was a pleasant surprise. Its temple of Zeus is apparently one of the best preserved in Turkey, the theater is pretty spectacular, there are some Roman bridges, baths, a stadium, forum, and a round building with Diocletian’s Price Edict inscribed on it. All these things are spread around the modern village of Çavdarhisar.

Temple of Zeus


Outside the Temple of Zeus


Under the Temple


Theater from the Stadium






Price Edict!



July 4, 2011

Impressive? Sure. But crowded and without much shade…





South Gate of the agora


The bouleuterion or council chambers




The Inscriptions Museum, closed (apparently as usual)


Library of Celsus

Smintheion near Chryse

June 29, 2011

What to do when mice are eating your crops? As Johannes Nollé explains in “Boars, bears, and bugs: farming in Asia Minor and the protection of men, animals, and crops” (In S. Mitchell and C. Katsari, eds. (2005) Patterns in the Economy of Roman Asia Minor: 59):

Since ancient farmers in Asia Minor did not have as effective a poison as strychnine, all they could do was seek refuge in praying to Apollo Smintheus, the tutelary god against mice. He was worshipped throughout the whole North-West of Asia Minor; and the centre of the cult was the Smintheion near the small town of Chryse in the Troad (now called Gülpinar), which later belonged to the territory of Alexandreia Troas.

The site is relatively small and is in desperate need of explanatory signs but it’s certainly worth a visit (even more so, I bet,  if the museum were open but apparently that’s only the case in July & August).

Remains of the temple

Storks do apparently eat rodents...


Some sort of sacred way lined with dedicatory statue bases?

No idea... A cistern?


Fragment of a Greek inscription

Kelsey Museum (University of Michigan)

March 22, 2010

I’d never been there before but apparently it was recently renovated and expanded. Well worth a visit!

Bust of a Flavian or Trajanic man

Grain mill

Spurius family inscription from Cumae, second century BCE

Bust, possibly of a Roman empress, CE 200-225.

Detail of 5th century BCE kylix (drinking cup) featuring man pressing grapes

Glass unguentarium from Fayum region (2nd century CE)

Quote of the Day

September 9, 2009

In many cases the components of epitaphs will have been taken by the letter-cutter from ‘manuals’ or collections of formulae or books of poetry. This is the only explanation for the inscription from Annaba in Algeria that reads: Hic iacet corpus pueri nominandi (Here lies the body of a boy, name to be given/inserted). The letter-cutter followed the manual quite literally ‘to the letter’, without noticing that he was to insert a specific name in the space provided.

– Maureen Carroll Spirits of the Dead: Roman Funerary Commemoration in Western Europe (2006) page 106.