Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Tale of Four Cities

In 408 BC, the three city-states of Rhodes: Ialyssos, Lindos, and Kamiros joined together to form the new capitol Rodos at the northern tip of the island.

Learning about the city-states, I really felt the tie to our own country's history. They were designed to protect their citizens, their rights, ensure their liberty and provide them with opportunities. In return, citizens were responsible for participating in politics and in obeying the law.

Early on, we planned to visit all four cities. I was a little disappointed that Ialyssos had the least amount of actual Greek ruins. It's strategic location high on a hill with good land for growing crops nearby was attractive to the Byzantine monks, Genoese merchants, Christian Knights, Turkish, and Italians too! Everyone built something on, or around the old city.

Lindos had the most stunning setting high on a point jutting into the sea. More of the acropolis was left because thankfully, the Knights of St. John simply built their castle walls around it. We were delighted to see the small harbour where the Apostle Paul landed around 52 AD to teach the Greeks the Gospel. The city of Lindos still sits below the castle walls and is filled to capacity with bus loads of tourists. Even in the "off season", we counted twenty-six buses in the parking lot. Beautiful white city, but go EARLY in the morning!

Kamiros was the smallest of the city-states. After a severe earthquake in 226 BC, the same quake that took down the Colossus, the city was abandoned and only rediscovered in 1859. We loved wandering around here because we were in the actual old city. The walls of the homes and public buildings were still in place. We explored them, then climbed the long central stepped street up the hill where the many columned stoa and temple of Athena stood, and looked out to the sea. The columns were no longer in place, but we could imagine how beautiful it would have been.

The new capital, Rodos, was laid out in the "new" grid system which was much in vogue at the time, with planned residential and commercial quarters. When Jeff saw a map of the ancient city, he was instantly in love. It was nothing like the twisting maze of roads that exist in the medieval city and the modern city today. We could barely imagine the original Greek city walls that measured 15 kilometers around, but the few corner columns left of the temple of Apollo are massive! We also liked the restored theater and stadium which are still in use for events.

A hundred years after the city-states created Rodos, the city was attacked by Demetrios of Macedonia. Rodos successfully withstood the siege, and celebrated by using the materials from the abandoned siege engines to fund the building of the Colossus. Talk about public funding for the Arts! The Colossus was one of the inspirations for the French artist who designed the Statue of Liberty. The radiating "rays" from the head of the sun god Helios look familiar to us encircling the head of our Lady Liberty. Sometimes we don't realize how closely our present is linked to the distant past.

Jeff's Corner: If the grid system existed today, I could get to the beach quicker!


Rob and Amy said...

Hey guys!! Very educational - can you believe you're in Greece?!! I finally got pics on my blog - check it out!

Yvonne said...

I can't believe all you are able to see and experience! Thanks for the map - that was a great help to me. Glad you are enjoying your experience.
love you,

JackieG said...

Sorry your Greek tale will soon be coming to an end. Thanks for taking us along for the ride. I enjoyed every entry. Wishing you safe travels home, and may you make all your connections!