National Geographic : 1967 Aug
W ORKERS discover with the Virgin, ern church, in an lit brought to Dr. Erim t trait of Maurice Tib from A.D. 582 to 602. Ruins of Byzantin daily life. Burial wor glass bottle, impartin householder poured bronze lamp, shaped l a wick at the chin. 290 disarray. I was seeing Aphrodisias at last! I can never forget the enchantment of those first hours in this place of derelict splendor. The rickety houses of the old village nestled amid pear groves, pomegranate bushes, and tall plane trees. In dusty alleys and courtyards, we saw beautifully carved sarcophagi being casually used as laundry tubs. Fluted column sections propped stairs and balconies. Frag ments of inscriptions still spoke from the scrap stonework of a wall. The ruins of the ancient city lay all about, between the houses, in the fields, among the graceful poplars. In a golden sunset I walked into the magnificent stadium, where cheers from 20 or 30 thousand throats echoed 18 centuries ago between the long banks of stone seats (pages 282-3). Fourteen erect columns of the Temple of Aphrodite, most sacred of the city's shrines, had defied the ravages of time, war, and earth tremors (pages 286-7). Here and there a mar ble face would return my stare-a faun, a Medusa, or a bull would peer at me from the brambles and the clinging vines. Roman Baths Show Taste for Living I found that Aphrodisias spreads out from a conical knoll, or acropolis, that is probably entirely man-made. Two miles or more of Late Roman and Byzantine fortification walls enclose the greater part of the site. Northwest from the acropolis stand in majestic files the surviving columns of the Temple of Aphrodite. Close on the southern flanks of the temple lie the remains of a com plicated early Byzantine structure we called the Bishop's Palace. Between the palace and - the acropolis, in a growth of young poplars, Stands a magnificent row of high-style Ionic columns, all that remains of what was prob ably a portico of the agora. *To the south of Aphrodite's temple, the city Baths of Hadrian, with their elaborate cen ;_ .- tral heating, are yielding amazing evidence stian relics of the Roman taste for luxury. And on the northern fringe of the site, barely within the ed the bronze cross, incised top, and saints of the East h-century tomb. A villager Clad in wind-blown gossamer, this lady he gold coin bearing a por- of Aphrodisias welcomed Dr. Erim to her erius, Byzantine emperor city. Shortly after his arrival in 1961, he found the head in a ditch; it fitted perfectly e homes held articles of on the body discovered earlier by villagers. ked chemical changes on a Fortresslike tiara and an inscription identify ig a milky iridescence. A her as a personification of the city. She once oil into the mouth of the formed part of a frieze honoring a prominent like an actor's mask, to fuel citizen. Other figures from the group appear on page 281. KODACHROMES BY KENANT. ERIM© N.G.S. KODACHROME BYJONATHANS. BLAIR © N.G.S.