Thursday, August 26, 2004

Rhodes, Greece--August 26th

The Colossus of Rhodes has long since disappeared. There seemed little else that struck our fancy, so we decided to spend our day in the old walled city of Rhodes. This is a picture of the Avenue of the Knights, heading toward the Castle of the Knights (looking south, I believe). Christian knights ruled Rhodes from the 1100s to about 1522, as I recall. They were clearly at the peak of their power in the late 1300s through the early 1500s. About 13 different nationalities of knights had permanent residences in Rhodes during the late medieval period.

Every doorway along the Avenue of the Knights has a set of shields above it. This is above the French Knights' Doorway.

A medieval stone sewer grate.

Main entrance to the Knights' Castle.

Knights' Castle entrance, looking up at the ceiling.

Look at the mass of those towers! And the crenelated caps! Are these perfect examples of chess castles or what?

Massive building!

Inner courtyard, Castle of the Knights.

How's that for inlaid stonework?

Terrible photo. But if you look carefully, you can see a Chinese man in the urn. . . . Clearly, there was a lot of trade all over the world even in the medieval era!

Amazing stone mosaics.

From the choir. . . . If I recall correctly, the Italian government brought in a lot of these artifacts from all over the Mediterranean while it briefly controlled the island in the late 1930s.

Detail. What with all the stuff that Mussolini brought into the castle—wonderful as it was, we were more interested in the “true history” of the building. And I’ve shown you, as best I can, what really belonged in the building. So we moved on.

We walked down a side street, headed east, I believe. Not too far on, we came to the medieval clock tower. Notice the porous volcanic rock from which the wall is made? We found this kind of stone just about everywhere we went in the Mediterranean.

Just half a block away, you come to the Muslim Library. The Muslims defeated the knights and took over Rhodes in the early 1520s. This library dates from that period.

The yard of the Muslim Library.

All these little, restful nooks and crannies!

Notice the walkway patterns made from pebbles!

The mosque. (across the street from the Muslim Library)

Moseying on further east, we eventually ran into the city wall. In the interim, however, we kept finding all these wonderful little nooks and alleyways. . . .

You can tell: this is a narrow alley (or roadway—depending on how you view it!).

Notice the stone archways/buttresses across the top of this alley! . . . Sarita and I enjoyed wandering down paths where few tourists venture.

This old windmill sits right next to the city wall.

Coming back west, we found our way to the medieval hospital, which is now the archaeology museum.

Loved the ancient lion, but wanted to show the mosaic flooring in the courtyard as well. (Sorry you can't see the detail very well!)

Amazing archways.

Ground floor.

More stone mosaics.

The same mosaic looking down from above.

Look at those cannon balls! From stone?!?

Stairway to the second floor from the main courtyard.

The main ward of the hospital. On the second floor.

Notice the doors along the side. These enter into small cells, perhaps as large as 5' x 10', though I'm tempted to suggest they may have been more like 4' x 8'. I asked one of the young women who was present why these cells were there. In essence, her answer was that these were isolation wards. Patients who were dying would be placed in these cells, partially to prevent the spread of disease, but partially so that their passing would not disturb other patients. . . . I guess, speaking solely for myself, I would question the latter explanation. Clearly, any dead bodies would have to be removed from their cells. And inmates of the main ward would observe the comings and goings. . . .


Stonework details now found in the main ward.

The burial stone for one of the knights. Look toward the bottom: "Obiit Anno Christi M.CCCC.LXXXXIII. AVGVSTI XV"--"Died [in the] Year of Christ 1493, August 15."

"The original ceiling"--made of wood--one of the girls who was present there told us. --How would you like forthe ceiling in your home to last 700 years?

I am embarrassed! How quickly one loses the details. . . . I believe--but cannot remember for sure--that this was supposed to be a statue of Athena.

A stone head of Bacchus, the god of wine. Notice that the face is bloated, as if with wine; but it is also done in a red stone, the color of wine.

An ancient funerary stela (or stele). We saw many more of these--and gained a better understanding of them--at the archaeology museum on Mykonos.

High-relief stone carvings for funerary artifacts and memorials.



You've read about the bronze laver (wash basin) in the tabernacle or temple of the Old Testament (see, for example, Exodus 30:18); here's something like that from the Greek islands! Notice the heads carved into the stand. (Compare the basic concept of this stone work to, for example, the bronze work King Solomon requested of Huram of Tyre (see 1 Kings 7:13-40.)

Not a very high-contrast photo. But can you make out the large dolphin in the background?

One style of jar or pot. . . . Watch how the styles change and the craftsmanship improves!






How's that for a candlestick?

A different style. Can you see the different qualities of these jars as compared to the earlier ones?








I'm sorry, I didn't take adequate notes to remember what these two objects are.But they certainly aren't crude!

Gorgeous urn. What detail!

I'm sorry for the low quality of these photos. My camera was really not up to the task!

Bronze mirror from approximately 700 BC. . . . And we're supposed to believe that human beings are "just animals"?

Imagine finding old bronze sword blades like these from somewhere between about 900 and 850 BC!

Bronze implements of war from a warrior's burial. About 900 BC.

Left: A gold "funerary mouth band"; upper right: gold-plated brass earrings; lower right: gold finger ring. About 800 BC.

All kinds of clothing pins from the 8th Century BC--some 2700 years ago or more!
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