Here are the video highlights from Wednesday's two sites:
We left our hotel outside of Çanakkale early, driving across the Troad (the region of the northwestern corner of Anatolia named for Troy) until we got to Assos. A rather minor Greek city in the Classical period, it nonetheless became famous in the fourth century B.C. when its tyrant, Hermias, invited to the philosopher Aristotle to come there to found a school of philosophy. Its acropolis sports the remains of a lovely little temple to Athena. But perhaps the best part of the site are the stunning views of the Aegean in three different directions.
|My class "getting some depth" for a photo in the remains of the Hellenistic tower|
|The site plan|
|Remaining columns of the Athena temple|
|Artist's reconstruction of the Athena temple|
When our guide, Fatih, had finished his historical and basic archaeological tour of the acropolis, I talked to the students about Paul’s visit to the area. Started with the account of the apostle’s visits to nearby Troas, in Acts 16:6–10 and 20:7–12 and then talked about Paul’s one known visit to this very site, Assos, in Acts 20:13–16. We then sang “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord,” after discussing how we should go and serve wherever the Lord directs us.
|Teaching on site about the apostle Paul|
|The students, hopefully listening!|
|Our group pic at the Athena Temple on the Assos acropolis|
|One of the stunning views out over the blue Aegean|
|With my colleague, Jared Ludlow, and my boss, Eran Hayet|
|Our guide, Fatih Eraslan, poses with Kyle Miller|
|Ode to a Grecian Urn?|
After a two-plus hour drive, we arrived at Bergama, where we had lunch. This is the modern city around the ancient site of Pergamum. The seat of an important Hellenistic kingdom, Pergamum aspired to be both a new Athens and to rival Alexandria as a cultural center. It is also on of the "Seven Churches of Asia" mentioned in Revelation 1–4.
|Ascending to the Pergamene acropolis|
|Our group picture, "with depth," at the Trajan Temple|
|GQ on site: Dan, Ethan, Travis, and Kyle|
After viewing the Temple of Trajan (where we took some great group pics), we then pointed out the vaulting underneath the platform that supported the temple and its precinct. This was significant to us, because Herod extended the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with similar vaulting, so this gave us some idea of the engineering that was involved.
|Reunion pic: former students Logan, Cameron, Abe, Tucker, Amanda, Vladi, and Daniel|
|The Trajan Temple, dark gray, stands upon a large platform supported by vaulting, light gray, that extended the natural hill top|
|A view of the vaulting|
|Another reunion pic of former students|
|Looking out over the modern Turkish city of Bergama below|
|The theater at Pergamum is the world's steepest|
The weather really favored us, for which we were grateful. It was rather cold in Istanbul, but at least it did not rain. Despite concerns about the forecast, things were fine in Troy the day before, and today we had quite beautiful weather, almost warm. What a contrast to last semester’s visit, when we were caught in a torrential downpour while at the Trajan Temple!