Some sites have changed little

The fact that at some sites so little has changed since our earliest Western accounts is a precious boon to anyone interested in the history of archaeology - interested, that is, in studying the developing Western consciousness and understanding of the classical past. As already suggested, reconstructing just what traveller X or tourist Y actually saw in the 18th century in parts of Rome or France or England can be difficult, for the pace of population growth has much altered the face of the landscape as well as the monuments surviving within it. But in parts of Turkey, we can walk around with the earlier accounts in the hand and, seeing just what they saw, understand them better. Indeed, anyone wishing to study just what sites looked like in Western Europe in earlier centuries could learn much by visiting sites in Turkey before increased industrialization, population pressures and prosperity change them for ever.

Some sites have changed a lot

But if some areas would easily be recognized by our 18th century traveller, others would appear much richer, thanks to the continuing digs on prestigious sites such as Perge or Aphrodisias. To return year after year to this latter site in its pleasant, lightly wooded valley is to find changes each time, as yet more monumental complexes are revealed by the spade, so that our knowledge of the site and, through it, of ancient life, increases steadily. Comparing the site today, using perhaps Erim (1986), with the half-page account of the ruins in the 1960 edition of the Blue Guide (in which Ephesus rates seven pages and a double-spread map) is to realise just how startling the progress of the last thirty years has been. As for Perge, over the past few years the collapsed scenae frons of the theatre, destroyed by an earthquake perhaps a millenium ago, is gradually being cleared, and the blocks being dumped in approximate order, like an infant giant's building bricks, in the nearby stadium. Theatre decoration in the West is often sparse and usually badly weathered; at Perge, on the other hand, the uncovered blocks are still crisply carved and sparkling white - with the bonus that each can be examined on the ground, and studied from all angles. This is also the case with the Sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma, thrown down by an earthquake in 1493, the drums of whose rearmost columns look like the relicts of a particularly neat game of draughts played by giants. More recent earthquakes are equally devastating: one in 1957 flattened much of the town of Fethiye, and badly ruckled the tiers of seating in the theatre at Xanthos.

Not that the destructive power of earthquakes necessarily left less than had been there previously. For example, a great earthquake in AD 17 ruined no fewer than twelve cities in Asia Minor. It is described by Tacitus (Ann. 2.47). No doubt this occasioned great losses; but at Sardis, the worst hit of all, it presented great opportunities which the senatorial commissioner, Marcus Ateius, grasped in order to resurrect the city (Guralnick 1987, 46ff.). At Aphrodisias, conversely, an especially bad earthquake in the earlier seventh century seems to have hastened the city's decline.

The text and illustrations of this book will make clear the beauty of the country and the magnificence of her architecture. However, we should not forget the friendliness of her people. They have not yet been systematically exposed to the glories of mass tourism, but vigorous development in several of the coastal areas covered by this book means that this experience will not long be denied them. People and setting make a suitable framework and complement to the splendour of Turkey's Greek and Roman remains.

Bibliographical Notes

Ancient history and archaeology, general: Boardman (1980) and Cook (1962) for illustrated surveys of the Greek diaspora; Jones (1971) for the cities they built. Mellaart (1978) for the archaeology of ancient Turkey. Green (1990) for a scholarly and witty account of Hellenism. Boardman (1986) for a history of the classical world reflecting modern scholarship.

There are several excellent atlases in various styles. Kinder & Hilgemann (1974) has short note-like entries facing coloured maps, and their first volume is world-wide, therefore covering much more than the Greek and Romans: look here for the basics on the Persians, Etruscans, Hittites, Phoenicians and the rest. Talbert (1985) deals only with classical history: his maps (although in black and white) are clear, and his text discursive. In a larger format, with more pictures, see Levi (1980) and Cornell (1982). For the historical geography of Anatolia, Ramsay (1890) is still useful, to be supplemented by the periodical Anatolian Studies, and Lloyd (1967). For a census of Greek, Roman and Byzantine settlement in SE Turkey, see Hellenkemper (1986). Lloyd (1989) is an excellent traveller's history of Turkey, much broader than just the Greeks and the Romans. For the accounts of earlier travellers, see Stoneman (1987A) and Stoneman (1987B). Taylor (1989) has some useful plans. Sinclair (1987ff.) for an excellent multi-volume architectural and archaeological survey of ^IEastern^i Turkey.

Guide Books of various types: Although there are works dealing with the periphery (e.g. Cook 1973 for the Troad, and Haynes 1974 for SW Turkey), the fullest archaeological guides are those by Bean (1965ff.), which deal with Western Turkey by areas; they have a good selection of half-tones, and useful maps and plans; and the historical context for each city is always well set. In some respects, considering the amount of subsequent work at some sites, they may need supplementing. They are of great use to the serious investigator, who might yet prefer a single-volume study, such as Akurgal (1985), (now past its sixth edition) which, well illustrated and with many more site-plans than Bean, covers the whole of Turkey. But just as caution might dictate belt and braces, so the traveller might like to take along Cemil Toksoez' A travel guide to the historic treasures of Turkey (rev. ed. 1986) which, like Akurgal's, is on sale throughout Turkey. Not every site is treated at equal length (or with plans of uniformly high standard, or recent design) in both books; this is an important point for the more isolated and less visited ones - so taking both is a good idea. Cynicism may still result from comparing what you see on the page with what you can find on the ground. What is more, you will certainly need a compass, naturally to get your bearings, and then even to discover some of the remains, which may well be hidden by undergrowth or trees. A pair of binoculars can save a lot of leg-work.

British Museum Publications have a series entitled "Exploring the Roman World"; volumes on Roman Turkey and on Roman North Africa are announced for publication in 1991.

Two excellent general guidebooks are Freely (1979) and McDonagh (1989). Freely's, like all the Companion guides, is a discursive handbook in 400 pages to the whole of Turkey, which can be read at home, but which is really designed to be taken with you. But for sheer, packed information, McDonagh's 597-page Blue Guide dealing just with the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts (and their hinterland) is hard to beat: with its 160 pages of history and general information, and its plans of the main sites (but of few of the lesser ones), it forms a good complement to Bean or Akurgal. It will soon be accompanied by a similar guide to Eastern Turkey.

Given the excitements that can accompany the visiting of some out-of-the-way sites, it cannot be long before a Michelin-type system of icons becomes popular, including: gumboot: marsh or swamp; dog: carry stones and sticks; mountain: steep ascent; falling rocks: dirt road and steep ascent; one hand over the eyes: site overgrown, and you can't see anything when you get there; hand above eyes and shading them: nothing to see except a few foundations; both hands over eyes: traumatic ascent/descent; H: trip only to be attempted in a hired car. And so on.

Guidebooks to specific sites are becoming plentiful: e.g. Keil (1964) for Ephesus, Kleine (1980) for the close-together trio of Priene, Didyma and Miletus, and Kleine (1966) and Kleine (1968) for Miletus alone; Mansel (1963) for Side, Ozgur (1988) for Perge; Schede (1964) for Perge; Ozgur (1988) for Aspendos, Erim (1986) for Aphrodisias, Kahler (1949), Zeybek (1970), and Radt (1978) for Pergamum, and now also Rohde (1982) and Radt (1988). So are scholarly guides to regions, well illustrated with picture and maps: see Onen 91984) for Lycia, and Onen (1986) for Caria.

Guidebooks to museums could usefully become ^Imore^i plentiful. See Bammer (1974) on Ephesus for a good model; or Raeder (1984) for the Priene objects in Berlin.

Travel books - as distinct from guidebooks - would include Stark (1954), Stark (1958) and, for doing it by sea, Kinross (1955).

Le Glay (1986) for his university lectures on cities, temples and sanctuaries of the Roman East.

Full scholarly treatments of individual sites tend to be large, expensive, multi-volume, and published over years or decades. For examples of summaries to the genre see Schlager (1981) for Phaselis; Judeich (1984) for Hierapolis, Hanfmann (1983) for an abbreviated guide to the Sardis digs, and Guralnick (1987) for a summary. Frequently, the author of the site report has written more accessible summaries, such as Erim (1986) for Aphrodisias. An excellent and well-illustrated scholarly overview of many aspects of "Anatolia in Classical Antiquity" is provided by Akurgal (1978), the Proceedings of the Xth International Congress of Classical Archaeology, with this as its theme.

For keeping up with annual campaigns, the German Archaeological Institute publishes two useful annual volumes. The Archaeologische Anzeiger concentrates on accounts of sites and finds in which they have an interest: for example, see 1987 501-29 & 1988 461-85 for Radt's well-illustrated accounts of the previous season's work at Pergamum, or 1980 123-36 and 1982 345-82 for R. Naumann's digs at Aizanoi. Again, the best conspectus to published articles and books on classical archaeology is their Archaeologische Bibliographie. In periodicals, The Journal of Hellenic Studies publishes summaries of work in the Greek East; and M. J. Mellink publishes a well illustrated overview (arranged by period and then by site) of Archaeology in Anatolia in The American Journal of Archaeology, reporting on the previous year's work.

Art & architecture: Useful and scholarly general handbooks of art and architectural history are Pollitt (1986), especially for sculpture, and Hanfmann (1975), which is most valuable for urbanism and ideology. See Robertson (1975) for a well referenced and standard treatment of Greek art from the origins through Hellenism. Brown (1980) for late Antiquity, Bieber (1961 & later editions) for Hellenistic sculpture; Bieber (1977) for the important question of copies. The most up-to-date survey, with the best collection of large-scale photographs, is Akurgal (1987), in German; but it is far from pocket-sized, and some of its plans leave a lot to be desired; for a broader picture- book, Akurgal (1966); see also Akurgal (1980).

Next chapter begins...

From here you may also go to The Preface, Archaeology in Turkey, Building for Splendour, Town Planning, Roads, Water Supply, Aqueducts, Harbours, The Architecture of Work & Leisure, Religion: Temples & Special Sanctuaries, Funerary Art & Architecture, Decline & Renewal, The Conclusion, The Bibliography, or The Table of Contents

Greek & Roman Cities of Western Turkey