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Decoding Didyma

Constantine the Great tore down the temple after the oracle said that Christians must die

When you are in an amazing place. What is the essence that you want to take away with you? The feeling you want others to share?

A pudgy, Hellenistic Apollo

For me, photos from an interesting place are servants. Their job is to draw memories and emotions back to the surface of my mind. They must also help me tell the story to others. Awhile ago, in A Question for Apollo, I told a story inspired by my visit to the ancient site of Didyma in what is now Turkey. The core of that tale came from my journal notes.

Thankfully, no one 'recycled' the marble into another building

This post includes part of my photo essay about the same place.

All this detail would have been painted

For many reasons the story and essay must be quite different. One of the main factors is that today, the colorful paint that once covered all the exposed stone is gone. Your eye and the camera can only see pieces of something pure and simple writ large. The impression is much more of  Washington DC’s Lincoln Memorial than Beijing’s Forbidden City. But, two millennia ago, the visual impact would have been dominated by rich colors everywhere, like a Greek Forbidden City.

My Greek is rusty, but I could read a bit of the inscription on this block

So, the photo essay must tell a story of light and shape, of purity and the power to endure. Dark mystery and monumental forces beyond human ken, not so much.

An archaeo-nerd playground

Fortunately for us, the ancient Greeks and Romans did the Architecture Thing better than anyone who was limited to stone and brick.

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