Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Side . . . Harbor of Pirates

Photos by Jack Waldron
I woke to the sound of cannon bursts; aimed at the once glorious temples of Apollo and Dionysus, which stand at the entrance to the harbor of Side, the ghosts of the ancients held out fists of silver and gold in a plea to pacify the pirates.  The tourist mecca of Side sits amongst the ruins within the walls of the ancient city.  As one will see upon a visit, this is both discouraging and encouraging, the former, because the tacky shops and their owners devalue the beauty of the site, while at the same time, draw the money that is needed to support the restoration and preservation of the ruined monuments and structures.  An example of this is the massive restoration and preservation of the Monumental Nymphaeum Fountain (pictured below) that sits just outside the outer city wall.
Above and pictured from the front right, the Monumental Nymphaeum Fountain that sits just outside the outer city wall, which is just across the road (pictured below).
Pictured above is the outside of the outer city wall, while the inside of the outer city wall with its support arches for a walkway to used by the defenders of the city is pictured below.
Once inside both the outer and inner city walls, there are several colonnaded roads that sheltered pedestrians and shops from the summer sun.  The colonnaded road pictured below, runs beside the theater and extends from the Temple of Dionysus (which is at the far right center of the photo next to the theater) to the Temple of Men (in the opposite direction of the photos view).  
Below, the huge arches of the theater rise above the remains of a Hellenistic temple, most probable a Temple of Dionysus when considering its proximity to the theater (as is also the case with the Temple of Dionysus at Pergamum), and which is also situated just inside the Roman Monumental Arch, that the modern road passes under.
The 2C AD theater is almost certain to have incorporated an early Hellenistic theater as the shape is greater than a semicircle.   
Pictured above, the artificial structure rises upon the vaults, as the slope on which the original theater was constructed was not sufficient.  Pictured below, the inner vaults of the upper auditorium.
Pictured below, the stage building and orchestra are currently being restored and preserved in order to display some of their original Roman splendor.
I am not always a fan of what the Romans considered to be improvements on earlier built Greek theaters.  Greek theaters were almost always situated in a direction that allowed the audience a view of nature and natural wonder beyond the confines of the theater building.  The Romans, with a view to master things, including nature, constructed massive stage buildings with cavities to display there human/god images and architectural hubris, thus confining and directing the space, and ultimately cutting nature from the equation.  One of the saddest and most egregious examples of this can be seen at the Theater of Taormina, Sicily.
Pictured above, the theater rises over the Main Agora and the Temple of Tyche, goddess of fortune.  The circular cella was surrounded by twelve Corinthian columns, and once contained a magnificent ceiling of sculptured marble slabs depicting signs of the Zodiac, a swan and a naked figure of a young man, as described by Beaufort, upon his visit to Side in 1811-12.
Pictured above, the theater stands beyond the Main Agora, with the Roman Monumental Arch at the far right of the photo (see close-up below), and the Nymphaeum of Titus and Vespasianus 74AD, which is situated below left of the arch.  To the right of the arch is a 5C AD Roman bath that has been restored and houses the Side museum.
Below, the Nymphaeum/Monument of Titus and Vespasianus 74 AD.
The 5C AD Roman bath complex sits outside the Roman Monumental Arch, and houses the Side museum.  Below, one of the pools of this now exposed section of the baths.
Below, a stele inscription from the deceased Pluteus, reminiscing on her life and love.  The Side museum entrance has numerous transcribed stele which will fascinate . . . if one can bare the heat!
The punishment of Ixion:

Ixion married Dia, a daughter of Deioneus (or Eioneus) and promised his father-in-law a valuable present.  However, he did not pay the bride price, so Deioneus stole some of Ixion's horses in retaliation.  Ixion concealed his resentment and invited his father-in-law to a feast at Larissa.  When Deioneus arrived, Ixion pushed him into a bed of burning coals and wood.  These circumstances are secondary to the fact of Ixion's primordial act of murder; it could be accounted for quite differently: in the Greek Anthology (iii.12), among a collection of inscriptions from a temple in Cyzicus is an epigrammatic description of Ixion slaying Phorbas and Polymelos, who had slain his mother, Megara, the "great one".

Ixion went mad, defiled by his act; the neighboring princes were so offended by this act of treachery and violation of Xenia that they refused to perform the rituals that would cleanse Ixion of his guilt (see catharsis).  Thereafter, Ixion lived as an outlaw and was shunned.  By killing his father-in-law, Ixion was reckoned the first man guilty of kin-slaying in Greek mythology.  That alone would warrant him a terrible punishment.  Wikipedia
Pictured above, a carved relief from a sarcophagus.  Below, a sculpture of a female figure.
Pictured above, a burial site as found in the field.  Below, glass bracelets that adorned the wrists of the ancients.
The sarcophagus of a child sits in what used to be the courtyard of the 5C AD baths.

Pictured above, a frontal view of the State Agora 2C AD.  Below, a diagram of the structure, the niches of which housed copies of well-known Classical Greek statues, and which were found during excavations of the site.

Above, an ancient road leads from the State Agora to the colonnaded street (pictured below) that runs nearly parallel to the outer wall.  One can almost experience the shops, houses and people that once occupied it.

Pictured above, the 2C AD Temple of Men, which is situated along the sea where the main colonnaded street ends, is a semicircular building dedicated to the Anatolian moon god, who is often depicted as a handsome youth wearing a Phrygian cap.  Further up the main colonnaded street heading away from the sea is another ancient bath (pictured below).
A waterspout that would have filled the pool surrounding it can be seen in the picture below.
A pool of some sort is pictured below.

I met lovely Marium while exploring Side . . . here she stands in front of the Temples of Athena and Apollo at sunset.
The 2C AD Temples of Athena and Apollo were quarried and dismantled during the Byzantine period in order to build a basilica.  The basilica has since been destroyed, leaving the ruins to be sifted through for the original temple members, of which, several fluted columns in the Corinthian order, column bases and part of the entablature and pediment of the Temple of Apollo have been erected once again.  Little remains of the Temple of Athena.
Images of Medusa ornament the frieze of the entablature.
Below, a view of the Temple of Apollo from the back corner.


*All photos and content property of Jack Waldron (photos may not be used without written permission)