Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Street Layout

It would be best to say that the layout of Antioch is Hippodamian "with a twist". In fact a number of "twists" or changes in direction.

It was long known that Antioch employed the classic Hippodamian grid. The explorations of the 1930s showed that the grid had a kink in it where it slightly altered course once it crossed the Parmenios. The colonnaded street's course veered slightly more towards the east.
The grid was on a per strigas basis with the narrow ends of the blocks facing the main street with the long sides facing the side streets. This means that there would have been a very large number of junctions along the colonnaded street.

Explorations at the Island, showed that the orientation there was totally different from the main section of the city. The new orientation there was signalled by the various baths, the "temple" and the hippodrome's positioning. Thus Downey and Wilber came up with their map showing the novel layout of the "new" town on the Island.

The research of Poccardi has thrown this latter assumption into question. He doesn't doubt the totally variant layout of the Island but he goes back to the aerial photos of the 1930s and notes that the still unexplored northern end of the Island would seem to have a street pattern more in line with that of the rest of the city.

This may suggest that originally the Island's layout was as one with the rest of the city and that a major urban renewal associated with the construction of the more grandiose civic infrastructure of the Island prompted a wholesale reorientation of the bulk of the Island in a Haussmannesque gesture.

Lassus points out in his Portiques study that the current street plan of 1930s (plus some of the layout of farms to the north) gives a clear idea of the block size of the city. After 2,000 years and with 11 metres of overburden, the street pattern of the village of Antakya still largely clung to the layout put in place in the days of the city's founders. These blocks were very sizable at 166m x 58m. Poccardi posits that the blocks on the Island (by utilising the "temple" as a form of measuring stick) were around 107m x 35.5m.

Assuming the side streets were nine metres wide, then the number of blocks along the colonnaded street would have been around fifty by our calculations. However, we came to examine in detail the map that Lassus provides in Portiques of Antakya in the 1930s. While almost all the blocks are equal (where they correspond to the ancient streets and even where a street is "missing"), there is one block, between Meydan Cd and Çarşı Cd (in the current street names) that is 50% wider than the normal blocks. This extra width is shown on both sides of the colonnaded street posibly indicating a different function in this block that necessitated a change in the block width (possibly an agora as the Bouleterion was thought to be around here). This might signal an interesting target to dig.

Poccardi's study also debunks the classical Downey layout of the Island and the case is very well argued. Overlaying the Downey map on the aerial photographs shows that the Downey orientation is just not correct and doesn't fit the physical evidence. The implications of this are to shift the main avenues, the tetrapylon and probably even the Imperial palace from where Downey/Wilber put them.

To prove Poccardi's point might be relatively easy with some minimal excavations.


Above is the Downey-inspired map through a few other iterations (it was used for the Antioch - The Lost Ancient City exhibition). As can be noted there are nowhere near fifty blocks shown along the length of the street.




The Temples

The historical texts are bursting with mentions of the many and various shrines of the pagan ascendancy in ancient Antioch. However, at this time the ruins of only one of these establishments is known. That is the massive temple structure evident on aerial photographs of the Island from the 1930s. Despite its uniqueness and accessibility, it is not known what deity it pertains to or where it meshes with the historical sources. It is depressing to think that we have better evidence for the shrines of fourth-rate provincial outposts than we do for the religious hotbed of Antioch.

In cataloguing the temples, the task must needs be scattergun as the information is so confused, contradictory or vague. So this chapter must be regarded as a work in progress where we shall add snippets as we go along accumulating them.

Ares: Morey claims that the Temple of Ares was near the Parmenios and located near the "Middle Gate", somewhere in the vicinity of the Forum of Valens. The temple contained a bronze statue of the Fortune of Rome in an apse and one of Caesar in the open space at the centre. Surely this temple must have been the same as the Temple of Mars, with whom Ares was interchangeable?

Stinespring's translation of the Arab text from the Vatican includes the following: "And when the time and the horoscope were correct they fell to the construction. And the architects made their beginning at the temple named after Mars situated east of the Arch of Fishes; and they held a fine festival of him (Mars) and planned (to repeat) it every year in his honor." Exactly what is "east" in this context is not clear as the points of the compass were liberally interpreted in the ancient texts. The Arch of the Fishes is disputed in Margoliouth's review of Guidi's translation. He prefers to call it the Bridge of the Fishes.

Jupiter Capitolinus: this temple was on the acropolis and was supposedly built by Tiberius (according to Sartre quoting Downey quoting Malalas). Livy in his History of Rome states: "A magnificent temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, which he (Antiochus Epiphanes, so much earlier than Tiberius) promised to build at Antioch, of which not only the ceilings, but all the walls were to be covered with plates of gold, and many other edifices which be intended in various places he did not finish, as his reign was short." We elaborate further on a possible site for this in another post.

Dionysus: Sartre uses the same source(s) to mention Tiberius building a temple to Dionysus. The location is unknown. Morey refers to Tiberius building a sanctuary to Dionysus and Pan. Lassus also netions this and sites it behind the theatre.

Zeus: Morey speaks of Diocletian building to this god. He also speaks of Tiberius building a temple to Zeus. According to Lassus, Antiochus IV placed a statue of Zeus Nikephoros in that god's temple. Beow can be seen a coin struck in Antioch that includes a statue of Zeus, seemingly standing in a grotto. Holm reports that Alexander IL Zabinas (also Zeb-), 128-123 B.C., plundered the temple of Zeus in Antioch and struck, evidently from the proceeds, gold staters with the image of Zeus Nicephorus.

Zeus Philios: accoring to Lassus

Zeus Olympios: according to Lassus.

Zeus Keraunios: according to Boucher this was in the "older" settlement of Iopolis that stood higher up the slopes of Mt Silpius and was eventually combined into the enlarged city fo Antioch.

Asclepius: Morey refers to Domitian building a temple to this god.

Nemesis: Morey speaks of Diocletian building to this god

The Muses: otherwise known as the Museion. According to Lassus, this was near the agora of Epiphania, was founded under Antiochus Philpator, burnt under Tiberius, reconstructed by Marcus Aurelius and then under Probus, embellished under the Empress Eudoxia in 438 AD. Constantine converted it to use as the prefectory of the comes Orientis but it was burnt down in a riot of the Green faction on the 9th of July 507.

The Pantheon: Lassus claims Augustus restored this building. Boucher claims that Julius Caesar had found it in a state of ruin and repaired it and replaced its altar.

Aphrodite: according to Lassus was located near the amphitheatre of Caesar,

Artemis: noted by Lassus. Boucher says in his work "...ascribed to the Assyrian queen Semiramis. When Cambyses and his wife Meroe encamped here on his way to Egypt with the Persian army, they found the roof falling in through age. The queen asked Cambyses to have it repaired, and the king raised its height, adding an enclosure large enough for a religious festival named from Meroe, a celebration still retained in Roman times. The queen set apart some estates for the upkeep of the temple, which may actually have preceded the foundation of the city, and established priestesses to serve it. The interior was furnished with Persian splendour, equipped with thrones, couches, and bows all of gold."

Athena: noted by Lassus

Calliope: the patron "nymph" of the city according to Lassus

Heracles: according to Lassus

Io and Kronos: on the slopes of Mt Silpius, according to Lassus, giving its name to Iopolis

Tyche: the goddess of the city, according to Lassus. The famous statue may have been housed here or in a special columned canopy (baldachin) type structure. Below is an example of a particularly fine Antioch minted coin of Trebonius Gallus. Many of this mints coins during this emperor's reign show the Temple of Tyche. All are very similar with the arched baldachin and the four columns (we have seen them termed Ionic in some scholarly texts, though this image appears to show Corinthian). So the texts correspond with the coins implying that, if accurate, the Trebonius coins may be the only extant images of an Antiochene temple.


Boucher states in reference to Seleucus' initial building activities at Antioch: "when the materials of Antigonia were shipped down the Orontes to Antioch, the Fortune of that city, a bronze figure holding a cornucopia, was also transferred, and placed in an open-air shrine, or tetracionium, with a lofty altar in front".

Isis: Holm reports that Seleucus IV. had built an Iseum in Antioch

Timeline



300 BC Antioch founded by Seleucus in May as capital of the Seleucid Kingdom.
300-64 BC Seleucid rule. Temple of Athena and Temple of Ares probably built in this period.
246-44 BC Brief occupation by Egyptians
188 BC Seleucid empire pays tribute to Rome after military defeat
175-64 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes expands and beautifies the city. Charonion carved.
166 BC Introduction of gladiatorial games
96-83 BC Political instability: six kings in 12 years
83-69 BC Antioch occupied by Tigranes II of Armenia
64 BC Annexed by Romans under Pompey; becomes capital of province of Syria
47 BC Julius Caesar visits Antioch, builds a Kaisarion basilica, amphitheater and theater
40-39 BC Occupation of Antioch by the Parthians
37-36 BC Antony and Cleopatra may have wed in Antioch
31 BC -14 AD Public buildings of Augustus and Tiberius, including the colonnade
41-54 Foundation of the Olympic Games at Antioch under Claudius
66/67 Outbreak of violence against Antiochene Jews
70-80 Theater built at Daphne with spoils of Jewish wars
115 AD Earthquake; Trajan escapes to Hippodrome
117-38 Hadrian improves water supply system
161-65 Co-emperor Lucius Verus resides at Daphne
192 Antiochenes and Pescennius Niger, governor of Syria, challenge imperial authority of Septimus Severus; city is punished and Olympic Games suspended
212 Caracalla returns imperial favors to city and restores Olympic Games
215-17 Caracalla and his mother, Julia Domna, rule from Antioch.
235-60 Antioch captured by Sapor I
266-72 Antioch ruled by Queen Zenobia of Palmyra
272 Aurelian defeats Zenobia and recaptures Antioch
284-305 Public buildings and economic revival under Diocletian
314 Birth of Libanius
336 Libanius leaves for Athens to complete his education.
337-61 Reign of Constantius II.
338 Constantius is in Antioch as emperor of the East; Antioch is used as headquarters in the war against Persia
340 Libanius opens his own school of literature and oratory in Constantinople; has immediate success.
341 Great Church of Antioch completed
346 Libanius transfers his school to Nicomedia due to jealousy of rivals in Constantinople
344/7-407 Life of John Chrysostom
354 Libanius returns to Antioch; stayed for the rest of his life (d. 393). Among his pupils were John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzen.
356 or 360 Libanius delivers the Antiochikos (Oration XI) for the local Olympic Games
Nov 3, 361 Constantius dies
361-63 Reign of Julian; efforts at revival of paganism
Winter 361-62 Drought and resulting shortage of wheat in Antioch
July 362 Julian arrived in Antioch. At once began to visit temples and shrines on proper occasions, especially temples of Zeus, Zeus Philios, Tyche, Demeter, Hermes, Pan, Ares, Calliope and Apollo, sacrificed under the trees in the palace garden, and ascended Mt. Casius to sacrifice to Zeus (Julian, Misopogon, 346b-d; Libanius, Or. 1.121f; 15.79; Amm. Marc. 22.14.4). Festival of Adonis sufficiently alive at this time for him to be met by wailing women on 18 July.
Oct 22, 362 Temple of Apollo in Antioch catches fire; roof and statue of Apollo are burned. Julian suspects Christians; the Great Church is closed and liturgical vessels given by Constantine and Constantius are confiscated. (Theophanes, Chronicle, p. 50, 14ff, ed. De Boor; Theodoret, Hist. eccl., 3.12.4; Philostorgius, HE 7.20; Sozomen HE 5.8 9 (last two seem exaggerated, according to Downey, 170).
Feb 363 Julian posts his Misopogon outside palace in Antioch
March 5, 363 Julian left Antioch for Persia; said he would not return but go to Tarsus after the campaign; dies in battle.
363-64 Reign of Jovian (just 9 months), who was a Christian but tolerated pagans
364-78 Reign of Valens in East, headquartered at Antioch (brother Valentinian I ruled the West). Constructed Forum of Valens at Antioch. Still an official policy of religious tolerance, but Valens made magic a capital offense.
382 Anti-pagan legislation under Theodosius (CTh 16.10.8)
c.383 Monks destroyed pagan temples in Antioch. Libanius suggests only four of the great temples remained now. (Zeus, Athena, Dionysus, Fortuna) (For the Temples, Orat. 30.51) Temple of Justice/Nemesis in stadium at Daphne had been destroyed by 387 (Or. 29.7) Sanctuaries on hills around Antioch still intact by 388 (Or. 56.22)
384 or 386 Libanius writes to Theodosius For the Temples (Oration 30)
387 Riot of the Statues in Antioch
June/July 391 Overthrow of the Serapeum by Theophilus and his monks (Sozomon HE 7.14)
392 Theodosius forbids pagan cults (CTh 16.10.12)
393 Death of Libanius
399 Theodosius rules destruction of temples (16.14.16)
408 Theodosius orders destruction of altars and confiscation of buildings (16.10.19)
458 Great earthquake under Leo I
484 Pretender emperor Leontius reigns from Antioch; ousted by Zeno
507 Circus riots; the synagogue at Daphne is burned
525-26 Fire and earthquake in Antioch
Nov 29, 528 Great earthquake in Antioch. City is renamed Theopolis, “City of God.”
540 Antioch captured and sacked by the Persians
542 Bubonic plague epidemic in Antioch
540-65 Major rebuilding effort under Justinian, focusing on defenses and infrastructure
588 Octagonal Great Church was destroyed by an earthquake (Late Antiquity, 304)
611-28 Antioch occupied by Persians
638 Antioch captured by Arab caliphate. Was made a city secondary to a military district.
969 Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas recaptures Antioch
1084 Antioch taken by Seljuk Turks
June 3, 1098 Antioch captured by Crusaders under Bohemond
1098-1268 Frankish principality of Antioch
1268 Antioch captured by Mamlukes under Bibars
1517 Ottoman Turks capture Antioch
1920 French Mandate over Syria established
1932-39 Princeton-led archaeological excavations of Antioch
July 22
1938
Elections for the new Republic of Hatay
June 29
1939
Turkey annexes Republic of Hatay

An Annotated and Highly Subjective Bibliography

Karl Otfried Mueller (Carolus Odofredo Muelleri in his latin guise): This German scholar is the godfather of research on ancient Antioch. His chief text is the relatively inaccessible (until recently) Antiquitates Antiochenses published in the 1830s at Gottingen. His great contribution was to bring together most of the hitherto scattered references to the city and its buildings and topography and put them together in one source. He also produced a conjectural map which turned out to be wildly wrong but was a splendid shot at the task considering that he had not been to the site and there was little available beforehand except other maps that were even more fanciful.

Muller burned brightly at his moment in time and unfortunately died young, succumbing to "exposure to the sun" in Athens in 1840. His text can be found at:

http://books.google.com/books?id=kvQHAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=kunstarchaeologische&ei=FLnvR4pghsLJBJLZteMH

pages 800 onwards in the essay "De antiquitatibus Antiochenis"

Richard Forster: This German scholar wrote a homage to Muller in 1898, based upon his own recent trip to Antakya and provides a guide to the accuracies or not in the Muller text with further references to the historical texts. Forster was also the author of a translation of Libanius's Oration the Antiochikos. The Forster piece is required reading and still remains one of the most interesting accounts on the historical topography of the city. The text can be found at:

http://books.google.com/books?id=H8oPAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&lr=

Page 115 onwards..

David Margoliouth on Ignacio Guidi:For one genius of Middle Eastern scholarship commenting on another, one cannot pass by this piece.

http://books.google.com/books?id=1s4sAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#PPA157,M1

This is a book review with a twist. Margoliouth uses the opportunity of reviewing Guidi to find a quasi-parallel text in the Bodleiian library and then compare it to the the far more famous text that Guidi translates and comments upon from the Vatican Library. Both are great as they illuminate some of the structures and history of the city written by a visitor in the period when little other text exists on the city (i.e. the pre-Crusader period).

William Stinespring: Later in life this author was the Professor of Divinity at Duke University, but when he wrote this still unpublished thesis he was a student at Yale's Divinity School. This is a translation of the aforementioned Vatican text by an Arab (-speaking) traveller to Antioch. It is useful not just for its translation into English of this important piece but for its attempts to date the original text. It also contains a map (prepared on the eve of the Princeton explorations) that does not move the ball forward on locating sites in the city (in fact it is upside down in the text!). Despite the map, the thesis is a must-read.
The Description of Antioch in Codex Vaticanus Arabicus 286
by WF Stinespring, Yale, 1932.

To our knowledge copies only exist in the Yale and Duke Library systems.

Clara ten Hacken: In a similar vein we have the essay on another writer that may of may not be related to the Vatican text. The writer expands upon the history of this text and what is known and then translates key parts. This is a travelogue of churches in the area of Antioch. A lot of the translated text does remind the reader of the wording of the Vatican text.
The Description of Antioch in Abu al-Makarim's History of the Churches and Monasteries of Egypt and some Neighbouring Countries

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=DO8qTYM71tQC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=clara%2Bten%2Bhacken%2Bantioch&ots=7Khg8BIXxw&sig=PEBFOyjLHncZiY05gcotDJMzmVA#PPR5,M1

Page 185 to 216
Grégoire Poccardi: this piece in French is fascinatining for its new take on the street orientation of the Island. While sounding dry it is a fascinating use of the aerial photographs taken in the 1930s to posit that the orientation of the street pattern of the Island was different to that projected by Wilber's map based upon the excavations of the Princeton. It also discusses the mystery Temple on the Island in more depth than we have seen elsewhere.

L'ile d'Antioche a la fin de l'antiquite: histoire et probleme de topographie urbaine. L. Lavan (éd.), Recent Research in Late Antique Urbanism IV, Portsmouth (New-Jersey), Suppl. JRA, 42, 2000 p. 155-172.
Pour un nouveau plan urbain de l'île de l'Oronte (Ville Neuve) du IIIe au Ve siècle à Antioche de Syrie, G. Poccardi, in MEFRA, 106, 2, 1994, p. 993-1023.
Étude de la permanence des tracés urbains et ruraux antiques à Antioche-sur-l'Oronte - J. Leblanc et G. Poccardi in Syria, 76, 1999 (Mélanges en hommage à Ernest Will 2), p. 91-126.

Note sur l'emplacement possible du stade olympique de Daphné (Antioche-sur-l'Oronte) »,J. Leblanc et G. Poccardi, dans ARAM Periodical, 11-12, 1999-2000 (Actes du colloque "Antiochia and Edessa", tenu à Oxford, du 12 au 14 juillet 1999), p. 389-397.
Antioche : évolution d'une ville de l'époque hellénistique à l'époque islamique. G. Poccardi, dans M. Mazoyer, J. Pérez Rey, F. Malbran-Labat et R. Lebrun (éd.), La Ville au cœur du pouvoir (Actes du colloque tenu à l'institut catholique de Paris, les 7 et 8 décembre 2000), Paris, Éd. L'Harmattan, Coll. : Kubaba, 1, 2001, p. 275-299.
L’eau domestiquée et l’eau « sauvage » à Antioche-sur-l’Oronte : problèmes de gestion, J. Leblanc et G. Poccardi in B. Cabouret et C. Saliou (éd.), Antioche de Syrie : Histoire, images et traces de la ville antique (Actes de colloque tenu à la Maison de L’Orient (Lyon) du 4 au 6 octobre 2001), Lyon, Suppl. Topoi, 5, 2004, p. 239-256.

Edward Greswell: This work is the be all and end all on Ancient Greek calendars. Not exactly a crowd-pleaser, but so thorough that we can see why this book written in1862 has never been topped.
Origines kalendariæ Hellenicæ; or, The history of the primitive calendar among the Greeks

Jesse Casana: This archaeologist is one of the few active players in exploration of the Antioch area at this time. He is based at the University of Arkansas. The main field he is working on is the Amuq River Valley Project, which is being organised by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. His report below is one of the most recent practical pieces on the current state of ancient Antioch and includes a lot of detail on the ancient agricultural economy of the region.

The Archaeological Landscape of Late Roman Antioch -

Frederick Norris: This scholar from Emmanuel School of Religion is the author of the most extensive work on the religious infrastructure of ancient Antioch. This is the best source for identifying which gods were worshipped and what evidence exists of their temples. He has also written upon the manifestations of the Eastern cults in the city and has a work in progress on Judaism and Christianity before Constantine .

Antioch on-the-Orontes as a Religious Center, 1. Paganism before Constantine. Aufstieg und Niedergang Teil II, Band 18, Teilband 4, Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 1990.

Isis, Sarapis and Demeter in Antioch in Syria.The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 75, No. 2 (Apr., 1982), pp. 189-207

Granville Downey: Without detracting from the others cited, this scholar is located at the centre of Antiochene scholarship. He was the most prolific and varied of the writers on the city in the 20th century and remains the modern touchstone for matters related to Ancient Antioch. He was primarily working out of the Dumbarton Oaks division of Harvard and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and at Yale University. Stinespring makes reference to an Index on Antioch that Downey was working on in the late 1920s and early 1930s at Yale but I have never seen any other reference to this seemingly abandoned project.

How can we list his prolific output? We shall list his main work here for the moment and add more over time.

A History of Antioch in Syria from Seleucus to the Arab Conquest, Princeton 1961.

Libanius' Oration in Praise of Antioch (Oration XI) - Translation and Commentary. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 103, No5, Ocotber 1959.

The Gate of the Cherubim at Antioch, The Jewish Quarterly Review, 1938.

The Olympic Games at Antioch in the Fourth Century A.D.. Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol 70, (1939) pp 428-438.

The size of the population of Antioch. Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol 89, (1958) pp 84-91

Strabo on Antioch: Notes on his method. Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol 72, (1941) pp 85-95.


The Architectural Significance of the use of the words stoa and basilike in Classical Literature. American Journal of Archaeology Vol 41. No. 2 (April-June 1937) pp194-211

Jean Lassus: This French academic was one of the last survivors of the 1930s expeditions to be still writing on the theme. His 1972 volume finished the series on the excavations thirty years after the other volumes had come out. What it lacked in freshness it more than made up for in thoroughness and is by far the best of the five volumes. His article in ANRW is almost a book in its own right and is a must-read for tying together the explorations with subsequent thoughts in the field of Antiochene studies plus a wealth of historical detail on structures in the city. His great specialty is the colonnaded street.
La ville d'Antioche à l'époque romaine d'après l'archéologie Aufstieg und Niedergang Teil II.8 (1977) 54-102

Les Portiques d'Antioche, Princeton 1972

Joseph, Pere Michaud - This French priest, with a bad case of wanderlust, was an important scholar of the Crusades. In the interests of veracity he decided to go and visit the places of historical import. The difference here is that he went in the 1830s when he had to contend with brigands, and brigandish Ottoman officials. Eventually he got to Antioch and from there he despatched letters to his friends. These were gathered together in at least eight volumes. The one of most relevance is the following in which he quite literally walks the whole of the city walls and counts towers, seeking out the sites from the Siege of Antioch.

Correspondance d'Orient, 1830-1831, By Joseph Fr. Michaud, Baptistin Poujoulat pp 104-144
A.F.Norman: This scholar was a professor at the University of Liverpool. This work is a translation of some of the Orations of Libanius, including the most important the Antiochikos (Or. XI). The footnotes are not all that great. There is a useful bibliography. All in all we prefer the Downey version. This volume also includes the Orations XXXI, LXII, XXXXIII, XXXVI, XXXXII, LV and III. These seem to be a mix less of the Hellenic culture of Antioch than of Libanius's travails and personal gripes (which Libanius was never one to keep to himself!).

Antioch as a Centre of Hellenic Culture as Observed by Libanius, A.F.Norman, Liverpool University Press, 2000.

George Haddad: This scholar wrote a thesis at the University of Chicago in the late 1940s which is still the last word on socail life in Antioch. If one wants to read how the Antiochenes partied, this is the work to go to. The author swiftly went on to become the Professor of Ancient Hirtory at the University of Syria and then, alas, disappeared from the flow of things. This work covers a myriad of topics related to the arts, thinking, the lifestyles, attitudes and even ethnic groups that made up the Antiochene pysche.
Aspects of Social Life in Antioch in the Hellenistic-Roman Period, PhD, Univ. of Chicago 1949

Julian: It is not common that an emperor also had something intellectual to bring to the table. The two most enduring examples are Marcus Aurelius and Julian the Apostate. In the case of the latter the object of his essay was the haughty Antiochenes. The translated Loeb text of the Misopogon can be found here.

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/julian-mispogon.html
Bouchier, Edmund Spenser: We hankered after a copy of this for a long time even though we had seen a critique somewhere. Finally we found it in a digitised version here:

A Short History of Antioch, Oxford, Blackwell, 1921
No sooner are we a few pages in and we discover a major faux pas with the five bridges connecting the Island to other side of the Orontes and two bridges connecting the Island to the main part of the city. This flies in the face of Libanius and plain logic. Then we got all excited to see in the contents that page 238 had a picture of the Bridge Gate. We get there and find that it is just the very well known etching by Casas of the St Paul Gate that the author has mistitled. This casts a pall over whatever else is said.
Christine Kondoleon. It is not usual that an exhibition catalogue excites us, but this work is an important contribution to Antioch studies for the many and varied essays it contains. It also brings together photos of some of the more prosaic items discovered in the 1930s excavations (and later). Our one criticism would be the addition of non-Antioch items as fillers or examples. In any case, this is a must have item.

Antioch: The lost ancient city. Princeton, NJ. 2000

Browning, Robert. This is the first of the modern commentaries on the riots (the so-called revolt of the Statues) in 387 AD. Browning makes a good case of the disturbances being caused by the "rent-a-crowd" agitators and idlers that hung around the theatre and hippodrome in Antioch.

The Riot of A.D. 387 in Antioch: The Role of the Theatrical Claques in the Later Empire, The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 42, Parts 1 and 2, (1952), pp. 13-20

Quiroga Puertas, Alberto. This work is a doctoral dissertation by a candidate of the University of Granada. It focuses on the Orations XIX-XXIII of Libanius with side excursions into the homilies of Chyrsostom on the events of 387 AD. This is a truly massive work and a must-read in tying together the historical and religious tensions that rent Antioch in its "Golden Age". These were the tectonic plates rubbing together under a vulnerable city. This scholar has also produced other works on Antioch & Libanius in Spanish.

Relacion retorica-historica-mitologia en los discursos XIX-XXIII de Libanio de Antioquia, Univ. de Granada, Tesis Doctoral. ISBN: 84 338 37 346 Depósito Legal: Gr 2435-2005

Lestrange, Guy. This author wrote the book which reveals quite a bit of urban history isn the "dark" period from 530 AD until the Crusader seige. In this volume he devotes a chapter to the Arab-speaking authors who worte about their travels to Antakiyyah. This is immensely useful on several fronts as its talks about the churches, their state and how they were demolished or scavanged for materials. It also talks about the remnants of temples and other structures from the Classical period. It is only one chapter but manages to group together quite a lot of visitors through the site, some brief, some quite detailed.

Palestine under the Moslems, London, 1890.

Hirth, Freidrich. This author's work sheds a totally new light on the Antioch story because he finds references to Chinese visitors who made it to the Roman Orient and carried back their views of what they had seen and put them to paper. We are particularly amused to see his comment (made in 1885) of the great difficulties he had in finding a copy of Karl Otfried Muller's Antiquitates. Some things never change! The section on Antioch in the below is only around five pages but well worth reading for insights into the extent of the city, the walls and gates and the best account of the clepsydrae.

China and the Roman Orient, researches into their ancient and medieval relations. as represented in old Chinese records. Leipzig, 1885

White, Karin. We could not resist making reference to the following article. Its connection to Antioch is slight but quite amazing in light of later history. Basically it posits that that the Roma (gypsy) groups moved from India to the West in the period up until the 11th century and that their transit was via Antioch (where they were known as the Zott) with arivals in 669, 710 and 720 AD. There initial task was to rid the area of lions that preyed upon travellers. We have seen references to these lion "outbreaks" before but it is a very novel new spin that the Roma "fixed" the problem. Apparently they were then summoned to Constantinople to deal with predators ravaging the imperial game preserve. There you go!

http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/goudenhoorn/72karin.html

Catherine Saliou is an academic at the University of Poitiers and one of the most important current authors on Antioch and the other cities of the region. She has bravely picked up the baton of Jean Lassus on the subject of colonnaded streets and added significantly to scholarship with her writings on the bathing establishments of the city. I have not yet got my hands on the bathing articles but the following is a very interesting exposition on the veracity of the claims relating to the positioning of the Golden Octagon and the "nearby" Porta Tauriana. An excellent piece that overturns some conventional wisdom on these subjects.

« À propos de la Taurianè pulè. Remarques sur la localisation présumée de la Grande Église d’Antioche de Syrie », Syria 77, 2000, p. 217-226.

The elusive piece on the baths is:

« Bains d’été et bains d’hiver : Antioche dans l’empire romain », dans B. Cabouret, P.-L. Gatier, C. Saliou (éd.) Antioche de Syrie, Histoire, images et traces de la ville antique = Topoi, Supplément 5 (Lyon 2004), p. 289-309.

Malalas: this is a key ancient source. He is little translated but copiously utilised, though an Australian team in recent decades converted his works into English. We attach here a link to a translation of Eighth Book in the 1831 version by Dindorf in Greek. It is useful for reading Malalas's spin on the early days of the city under the Seleucids.

Johannes Malalas, BOOK 8 (pages 192-213)

Lew Wallace: we might as well throw some fiction into the mix, as it is sometimes hard to discriminate fact from fiction in writers like Malalas. Mr Wallace was in fact a Civil War General and author if the book Ben Hur. Most know the movie but I read the book when I was fourteen. It took me six months as it was quite a chunky publication andf there were other distractions at that age. Here I have discovered an excerpt that specifically relates to the chariot race scene, which was a highlight also of the movie. Before we dismiss it as lightweight I would note that a recent thesis I read on magic practices in the ancient hippodromes begins with a discourse on the chariot race scene in the film!

Ben Hur, Lew Wallace.







Friday, March 21, 2008

Sink of Iniquity?

Was it conceivable that they would ever give up
their beautiful way of life, the range
of their daily pleasures, their brilliant theatre
which consummated a union between Art
and the erotic proclivities of the flesh?

Immoral to a degree—and probably more than a degree—
they certainly were. But they had the satisfaction that their life
was the notorious life of Antioch,
delectably sensual, in absolute good taste....

Julian & the Antiochians: C.P. Cavafy

Antioch, if one can believe commentators writing from Rome and other points
west, was a combination of 1890s Paris and 1920s Berlin in its decadence and pursuit of the pleasures of life.


It certainly was a party town. As Maurice Sartre writes " Its holidays were famous. The calends of January brought an annual three-day holiday; the Olympic Games, begun under Augustus and renewed under Commodus, were held every four years and lasted 45 days in July and August; other holidays honoring Artemis and Calliope drew artists and athletes. In addition to these Greek holidays, there was the maiouma, the May holiday in celebration of water, in which Antioch combined ceremonies honoring Dionysos and Aphrodite that lasted 30 days, while the Adoneia (honoring Adonis) took place from the seventeenth to the nineteenth of July. The Jewish holidays, which attracted audiences with their resounding trumpets, were equally lavish.....To visitors, however, Antioch seemed to live in an atmosphere of perpetual holiday, as Julian observed in 362."

Of course the Romans themselves were no slouches at celebrations and parties. It was quite easy to blame all the ills of the world (in Rome) upon flute players and mimes that drifted to the metropolis from points east.
Martial wrote, "Orontes in Tiberem defluxit!" ("The Orontes empties into the Tiber") and he wasn't commenting on a geographical phenomenon. Frankly our response would be that the quality of the flow was all one way.

Antioch was an eastern city. Its weather was by all accounts most congenial (Libanius rhapsodises
about its beneficial breezes). This was conducive to lots of outdoor activities over a much longer period of the year than elsewhere. The city also was an important administrative center to which powerful people were sent to keep an eye on the Eastern borders. This class had ample resources and thus a lively culture of partying developed and with it all the requisite festivities. The many mosaics found in the 1930s gave the impression that tricliniums (dining rooms) were the key part of every household and that their furnishing was a key factor in status and diversion. That the city was also economically well-positioned and could supply itself with food meant that the local grandees were well padded financially.

Reports indicate that the city also was enormously polyglot. Not only did it attract enterpreneurs and fortune hunters but also the artists and flaneurs who usually flutter around such flames. It was a major soruce of luxury goods with perfumes and textiles being major exports to the West. In this respect Antioch was the Paris of the Roman Empire. The numerous ethnic groups bought skillsets but also exotic costumes and behaviour. It is interesting that we have Chinese accounts (see Hirth) of the Roman East but no Chinese accounts of Rome. The old adage may have been "see Paris and die" but the even older one was "see Antioch and head back East".

Antioch also was head and shoulders above Rome on the social front. Rome was infamous for its squalor, urban chaos and poverty while Antioch was well-planned, well watered, clean and seemingly better balanced from the social standing point of view. While the "poor will always be with us" Antioch seemed to have not an oppressive number.

This does not mean the city was without its travails. We have mentioned elsewhere the hippodrome factions and Browning writes in detail of the theatre claques that rioted in the "Revolt of the Statues" and so upset the decorum of the city in the eyes of Libanius and Chrysotom.

Then there was political turmoil. It seems the Antiochenes could get up a full head of steam over a good philosophical argument but murder and mayhem did not figure highly in the local persona. While Rome was a regular bloodbath the only dubious despatching we can think of linked to Antioch was the demise of Germanicus, the potential rival for the imperial purple that Tiberius faced.

The best source for all things social in Antioch is George Haddad's 1948 thesis on the social life of the city which really gives the most thorough round-up of the myths and realities of the decadent metropolis of the East.

The Antiochene "Year"

This is a rather curious dating system. It only has relevance when looking at ancient texts, but it is worth mentioning.

The Antiochene "era" was reckoned from the 1st of November 49 BC. The first year therefore of Antioch was nearly equivalent with the 264th year of the Seleucid year count. The Seleucid year began in October.

To complicate matters further, there were different names for the months in Antioch. These were Panemus,Apellæus, Xanthicus, Dius, Dystrus, Hyperberetæus, Pertitius, Dæsius, Artemisius, Dioscorinthius and Loüs.

An interesting source on this subject is:

THE HISTORY OF THE PRIMITIVE CALENDAR AMONG THE GREEKS by Edward Greswell

The Hippodrome

Antiochenes were famous, or infamous, for a variety of things and chief amongst them was their love of chariot-racing. The city had its main circus on the Island and had another hippodrome at Daphne, where the Olympic Games were staged.

The Circus on the Island has already been mentioned here as probably being linked to the Imperial Palace complex as was the Circus Maximus in Rome. The Antioch circus was one of the largest specimens in the empire and had enormous seating capacity estimated at around 80,000.

The hippodrome was one of the few visible remnants of the city when the Princeton team arrived in 1932 and so it was the focus of part of the first season with extensive excavation and delineation of the carceres (starting end) of the stadium. The excavation of the carceres and of the long sides of the Circus of Antioch, begun in 1932, was continued in 1933 with a goal of finding the plan and projecting the appearance of the superstructure.In the 1933 season the long east side along the wall of the arena and the exterior, and one half of the semi-circular north end was cleared. As a result Mr. John W. Lincoln was able to draw a complete plan of the east side, the north end and the arena. The excavations revealed the rubble and concrete foundations of a podium, a maenianum primum, an ambulacrum, and a maenianum secundum. In elevation these elements were carried on raking barrel vaults of rubble and concrete with intradoses of radiating blocks of limestone and piers of limestone. There were good indications that an annular barrel vault supported a gallery with a colonnade of red granite columns above the maenianum secundum.

Stillwell's plan of the excavation can be seen below (enlarged by clicking on the image). It can be noted that the left side next to the palace was largely unexcavated. If the palace was connected (like the Circus Maximus) then it would be in the unexcavated portion that the evidence for the linakge would be found.


In Campbell's opinion the date of the construction of the Circus could be deduced from coins dating from the fourth century B.C. to the second century B.C. that were found in the undisturbed stratum below the level of the top of the foundations; in this same stratum were many sherds of late Hellenistic pottery; and a coin of Antiochus VI Dionysus, 144-142 B.C. was found embedded in the rubble and concrete of the foundations. This evidence and the preserved masonry make a date in the first century B.C. seem probable.

The original structure was probably that reported as having been built by Q. Marcius Rex, the pro-consul of Cilicia in the first century BC (probably started around 67 BC).It must have been expanded later as the city grew in importance and population.

It was not difficult for the team to work out the original dimensions. The track was 499.5m in length and 70-75m wide. The radius of the curvature of the semi-circular end is 31 m.; of the carceres, 130 m.; while the long sides bow slightly in a curve whose radius is 41m. The outer wall of the circus was designed with the usual arcades, having an arch to each vaulted bay supporting the seats.

Campbell notes in his report on the Third Season that "the excavation of this campaign added to the data already obtained the location, dimensions and construction of the spina. This was a continuous construction, 283.3 m long by 8.30 m wide, with a foundation of rubble and concrete faced with blocks of limestone. The metae had large semicircular foundations of rubble and concrete which were continuous with the spina. There were drains along both sides of the spina and across both ends between it and the metae; these yielded a number of lead tabellae defixionum".

Campbell in his report on the 1935-6 season added:

"The Porta Pompae and the paved area outside it were located, and in the angle between the west long side and the carceres, the foundation of a vaulted passageway into the arena was uncovered. Trial trenches between the west cavea and the river revealed a large structure connected with the circus, which may prove to be the imperial palace".

By the 1930s all material that could be stripped from the structure had been taken over the centuries leaving the concrete stairwells as the prime reference points. Interestingly the land had not been cultivated over the site as the soil was "sour" in the estimation of local farmers.

Racing continued until the Christian era outlawed such frivolities.

The obsession of the locals with the racing included the obligatory riots as the factions of the Blues and Greens struggled for supremacy. Malalas makes mention of disturbances in the reign of Anastasius. An uprising by the Green faction was put down in the Circus by Constantius in the Autumn of 494 AD. He also records a tumult between the Green and Blue factions at Antioch in the third consulship of Anastasius, and soon afterwards another sedition at the time of the Olympiad at Daphne ; probably at the Olympiad of July 508 AD. On this occasion Procopius, Count of the East, was compelled to flee; Menas was slain, and the Green faction prevailed.

Stinespring's translation of the Vatican Codex relates in a passage about the villages "outside" the city (for by then the Island had been made extra-mural:

"The fourth has the name Drumarsina; and in it there is a great theatre 300 cubits long, and 200 cubits and 50 quasabas wide. This contains 72 columns, 36 columns on each side. And in the center is a piller 43 cubits high with a circumfernce of eleven cubits. Upon this is a statue of a horseman which is tied to every column round about it....."

By its shape it is clearly the hippodrome and not a theatre. We have read a report (Humphrey, Roman Circuses, p. 458) that the spina of the hippodrome had an obelisk, brought (like those in the Circus Maximus and Circus Flaminia in Rome) from Egypt.

Curse tablets were found in the excavations showing appeals to the supernatural to affect the outcomes on the contests.

Chariot races have seeped through into popular culture in the form of the chariot racing scene in the film Ben Hur, which is set in Antioch. The link for that is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbQvpJsTvxU

Justinian

Justinian I (527-565 AD) renamed Antioch as Theopolis (City of God) in an attempt to curry divine favour and ward off further earthquakes. A fruitless effort indeed!

He also restored many of its public buildings after the great earthquakes of 526 and 528 AD, the destructive work of which was completed by the Persian king, Chosroes I, twelve years later. These tribulations (with plague thrown into the mix) had caused Antioch to lose as many as 300.000 people. Justinian made an effort to revive it, and Procopius describes his repairing of the walls (as quoted in the our section of the City Walls). He then expands upon Justinian's other construction activity in the city:

19 This, then, was what the Emperor Justinian accomplished concerning the circuit-wall of Antioch. He also rebuilt the whole city, which had been completely burned by the enemy. 20 For since everything was everywhere reduced to ashes and levelled to the ground, and since many mounds of ruins were all that was left standing of the burned city, it became impossible for the people of Antioch to recognise the site of each person's house, when first they carried out all the debris, and to clear out the remains of a burned house; and since there were no longer public stoas or colonnaded courts in existence anywhere, nor any market-place remaining, and since the side-streets no longer marked off the thoroughfares of the city, they did not any longer dare to build any house. 21 But the Emperor without any delay transported the debris as far as possible from the city, and thus freed the air and the ground of all encumbrances; then he first of all covered the cleared land of the city everywhere with stones each large enough to load a waggon. 22 Next he laid it out with stoas and market-places, and dividing all the blocks of houses by means of streets, and making water-channels and fountains and sewers,51 all those of which the city now boasts, he built theatres and baths for it, ornamenting it with all the other public buildings by means of which the prosperity of a city is wont to be shewn.52 He also, by bringing in a multitude of p173artisans and craftsmen, made it more easy and less laborious for the inhabitants to build their own houses. 23 Thus it was brought about that Antioch has become more splendid now than it formerly was. 24 Moreover, he built there a great Church to the Mother of God. The beauty of this, and its magnificence in every respect, it is impossible to describe; he also honoured it with an income of a very large sum. 25 Moreover, he built an immense Church for the Archangel Michael. He made provision likewise for the poor of the place who were suffering from maladies, providing buildings for them and all the means for the care and cure of their ailments, for men and women separately, and he made no less provision for strangers who might on occasion be staying in the city.

Procopius was of course at his obsequious best with phrases like "more splendid now than it formerly was" being very hard to believe. This was particularly poignant as the city had lost all the spectacular structures of the Island. No other accounts are so lavish in praising what must have been a much diminished and less intellectually and socially stimulating city drifting into a long period of religious orthodoxy and economic and political decline.


The Princeton Excavations

The only serious attempt to excavate the remains of Antioch was undertaken by a team led by Princeton University.

Between 1932 and 1939, archaeological excavations of Antioch were undertaken under the direction of the "Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and Its Vicinity," which was made up of representatives from the Louvre, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Worcester Art Museum, Princeton University, and later (1936) also the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University and its affiliate Dumbarton Oaks.


The expedition was mounted against the difficult economic situation in which the world found itself. The grand plans to hunt down the major buildings of the city (the Octagon, Palace etc) went by the board after the first season. Money became tight and the museums started calling the shots over the former leadership by the academic forces. The museums were less interested in the historical timeline, urbanism and the architecture ... as in the rich trove of mosaics that began to be unearthed. Thus, except for the exploration of the colonnaded main street, all the cash and focus switched to a mosaic scramble.

The limited funds also meant that the team had to rely upon the willingness of local landowners (with some cajoling from local French colonial officials) to permit excavation on their land. The only excavation of the "old" part of the city was one hole on a recently cleared site in the centre of the modern town. To get down to the level of the Seleucid city involved an excavation 11 metres deep on a very cramped site. This revealed part of a circular plaza on the famous colonnaded street but the site limitations meant that nothing more than this tantalising fragment could be revealed.

Daphne was still rural so excavation was very fruitful there with substantial mosaics being uncovered in the numerous villas. The first year excavations at the Island were relatively unencumbered also as it was just farm and orchard land. The latter year excavations more north along the colonnade were easier than in the town but still hampered by the fact that the modern road ran along the course of the former main avenue. The photo below shows the entubation of the Parmenios that was uncovered by Lassus at the point where the colonnaded street crossed this "river" (supposedly on the fringe of the Forum of Valens).The tunnel consisted of two vaulted channels each 6.4 metres in diameter.


On top of all these travails there was that other bane of Antioch (besides the earthquakes) which was the floods. The short excavating season was truncated one year by a massive flood that filled the diggings and stopped activities for weeks.


It is important to put this into political context. The province of Hatay had been split off the crumbling Ottoman Empire in the early 1920s and given to France to rule as a Mandate (as were Syria and Lebanon). This was a source of tension with Turkey as there was a large Turkish population in the province. A controversial plebiscite took place in 1938 (with allegations of "bussing in" voters) which resulted in a victory for those pushing for the reincorporation of the province into Turkey. The handover was somewhat traumatic and the archaeologists virtually had to flee the site in short-order to escape the incoming new administration. On top of this the world shortly after drifted into World War II and the chance of follow-up on previous work was impossible. The first four volumes writing up the excavations had been published during the 1930s. It is indicative that the fifth and last volume "Les portiques d'Antioche" was not published until 1972 by one of the few survivors of the original team, Jean Lassus. At last reports, a lot of the lesser discoveries still remain crated in the storage areas of the Princeton Museum.


Staff photograph of the 1933 Antioch expedition. William A. Campbell of Wellesley College, who served as field director of the eight campaigns, is seated at the far right; Jean Lassus (the excavator of the colonnaded street) is standing third from the left. He represented the French interests in the expedition, .

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The City Walls

There is much to say on the walls, which is the part of Ancient Antioch that survives in best condition. The walls were in excellent condition (particularly on the mountain until the mid-19th century, when a demolition campaign was carried out. What we see today are the remains of the walls built in the 6th century.

However the excavations in the 1930s did uncover one patch of Seleucid era walls on the slopes of Mt Staurin. The photo below shows these were of superlative masonry.

The traveller, Tinco Martinus Lycklama, visiting in 1866 spoke of the stretch of the walls that ran along the Orontes and then by the side of the former (silted) branch of the river: " La partie qui s'étend au nord, le long de l'Oronte, a le moins souffert. Le mur, construit en belles pierres de taille, n'a de ce côté qu'une trentaine de pieds d'élévation, le fleuve formant là une première barrière qui protégeait efficacement la ville. De quinze en quinze mètres, la muraille est renforcée par une tour ronde ou carrée d'une quarantaine de pieds de haut ; huit de ces tours sont encore intactes et portent, gravée sur leur face extérieure, une croix, glorieuse signature de nos aïeux".

This part was a long straight section in which the Dog Gate and the Duke's Gate were located.

The most complete account of the walls in ancient times belongs to Procopius, writing in the time of Justinian, who rebuilt (and rationalised) the walls after the devastating earthquakes on the 520s AD. Here is what he said in his work De aedificiis:

"Above all he made Antioch, which is now called Theopolis, both fairer and stronger by far than it had been formerly. 3 In ancient times its circuit-wall was both too long and absolutely full of many turnings, in some places uselessly enclosing the level ground and in others the summits of the mountain, and for this reason it was exposed to attack in a number of places. 4 But the Emperor Justinian, contracting this wall as would best serve the need, carefully remade it so as to guard, not the same districts as before, but only the city itself. 5 As for the lower part of the circuit-wall, where the city was dangerously spread out (since it lay in a soft plain and could not be defended because of a superfluity of wall), he changed its course by drawing it inward as much as possible, it having gained protection by being compressed. 6 And the River Orontes, which had flowed past the city, as it formerly was, in a winding course, he thrust over so that it ran in a new bed, hugging the circuit-wall. 7 He did this by winding the stream round again by means of an artificial channel as near the wall as possible. In this way he both relieved the city of the danger arising from its excessive size and recovered the protection afforded by the Orontes. 8 And by building other bridges there he furnished new means of crossing the river; and after changing its stream for as great a distance as was necessary, he then restored it to its former course. 9 The upper part,in the mountainous portion, he managed as follows: on the summit of the mountain which they call Orocassias there happened to be a rock outside the wall and very close to it, nearly matching in height the circuit-wall in this place and making it quite vulnerable. 10 It was from this point in fact that the city was taken by Chosroes, as is related in my description of the event. The region within the circuit-wall was for the most part bare and difficult to traverse, 11 for high rocks and impassable ravines divide up that district, so that the paths from that place have no outlet. Thus the wall there is just as if it belonged to some other city and not to Antioch at all. 12 So he bade a long farewell to the rock, which, being close to the wall, was fiendishly devised to make the wall easy to capture, and decided to build the defences of the city as far away from it as possible, having learned from the experience of events the folly of those who had built the city in former times. 13 Moreover he made quite level the region within the wall, which formerly had been precipitous, building ascents there which would in the future be passable, not only for men on foot, but for cavalry, and would even serve as wagon-roads. 14 He also built baths and reservoirs on these hills inside the wall. And he dug a cistern in each tower, remedying by means of rain-water the want of water which had previously existed there.

15 It is proper to describe also what he did with the torrent which comes down from these mountains. Two precipitous mountains rise above the city, approaching each other quite closely. 16 Of these they call the one Orocassias and the other is called Staurin. Where they come to an end they are joined by a glen and ravine which lies between them, which produces a torrent, when it rains, called Onopnictes. This, coming down from a height, swept over the circuit-wall and on occasion rose to a great volume, spreading into the streets of the city and doing ruinous damage to those who lived in that district. 17 But even for this the Emperor Justinian found the remedy, in the following way: Before that part of the circuit-wall which happens to lie nearest to the ravine out of which the torrent was borne against the fortifications, he built an immense wall or dam, which reached roughly from the hollow bed of the ravine to each of the two mountains, so that the stream should no longer be able to sweep on when it was at full flood, but should collect for a considerable distance back and form a lake there. And by constructing sluice-gates in this wall he contrived that the torrent, flowing through these, should lose its force gradually, checked by this artificial barrier, and no longer violently assault the circuit-wall with its full stream, and so overflow it and damage the city, but should gently and evenly glide on in the manner I have described and, with this means of outflow, should proceed through the channel wherever the inhabitants of former times would have wished to conduct it if it had been so manageable".


Here we see an etching by Louis-Francois Cassas of the walls made in his trip there from 1784 to 1787. This shows a section of the walls on the south side of the city rising above the former Cherubim Gate. As can be noted they are in rather pristine condition. Shortly after this time a project to construct some massive barracks was initiated by Ibrahim Pascha and the walls were used as a quarry to provide material for the building program.

The image above comes from G.Rey's excellent study of the military architecture of the Crusades. It shows a cross section of one of the towers on the St George's Gate (Daphne Gate) section of wall.



The above image is a floor plan of the same tower

Here we have a section of the wall on the northern stretch sloping up from the Gate of St Paul (Beroea gate).

Here we have a plan of a typical section of that wall.

We came upon a book published in 1825 called:

Travels Among the Arab Tribes Inhabiting the Countries East of Syria and PalestineBy James Silk Buckingham

He relates his visit to Antakya a year or two beforehand when the walls still existed in some of their former glory.

"After passing through the interior of the town, we went to see the ancient walls in the southern quarter. These appear to have enclosed a space of nearly four miles in circuit; the northwestern one going along by the banks of the Orontes; the southwestern one climbing up the steep side of the hill which overlooks the city; the south-eastern one going along its summit; and the north-eastern one descending again over the side of the hill at the opposite extreme of the city, to meet that which ran along the river's banks; the whole thus forming an irregular square. They are generally about from thirty to fifty feet in height in their extremes, and fifteen feet thick throughout, having also square towers from fifty to eighty feet high, at intervals of from fifty to eighty yards apart. These towers are ascended by winding steps, not of a circular but square form, going up by flights of four or five, and landing on a platform. Their interior is divided into stories or chambers, finely arched over at their roof with a solid masonry of thin Roman tiles imbedded in thick layers of lime cement, and having in their sides embrasures for arrows or other missile weapons. Thes tones of which these walls are constructed are not large, nor is the rustic work any where seen ; but the masonry is, notwithstanding, solid and good. In some of the broken towers, alternate layers of thin tiles with lime cement, and the common stone work are seen in the construction, and the niches of the doors and windows are often formed of tiles alone. Around the inner front of the city wall ran a projecting cornice, formed by the overhanging of the upper stones, which are longer than the rest. These leave a space that admits of a passage from one tower to another on the top of the wall itself; and where the ascent is steep, as on the side of the hills, these projecting stones of the cornice are arranged as a flight of steps for the greater facility of communication. In the S.W. quarter the walls and towers are in one portion perfect, and in another, close by, much destroyed; until they disappear altogether, leaving a wide space between their last fragment here and the portion that continues along the banks of the river.

In the architrave of one of the southern doors is seen a Maltese cross, coarsely sculptured, which probably gave rise to the opinion of these walls being the work of the crusaders. An examination of the masonry itself, and the general style of their construction, is sufficient, however, to convince any one the least conversant in antiquities, that the whole is either a work of the Romans, or of Seleucus Nicator, the founder of the city, at the death of Alexander, and that the cross is, therefore, a more recent addition. I remarked, as a great singularity, that the architrave, which is generally composed of one large stone reaching from postern to postern, is here composed of five, the two end ones about five feet long each, and the three central ones not more than a foot in breadth, being dove-tailed into each other in the Turkish and Arabian manner, as if a modern work, or as if done at the time of placing the cross there, this emblem being on the central of the three smaller stones. This was the idea which suggested itself on the spot, at first sight of this singularity ; but the same thing was afterwards seen in the great southern gate of the city, where no cross was, and it then seemed to me quite inexplicable, as surely neither the strength nor the beauty of the fabric could be augmented by having these smaller stones dove-tailed into the centre, instead of having one single block for the architrave as usual. The doors themselves seem to have been hung exactly as the large stone doors in the tombs at Jerusalem, at Oom Kais, and the buildings of the Hauran; they were double or folding ones, the upper sockets for the pivots still remaining in the bottom of the architrave, and the square sills for the inner bars being still seen in the sides below.

Near to the southern door on which the cross is sculptured, is a new fountain, built by Djezzar, the late pasha of Acre, and ornamented by Arabic inscriptions in marble tablets. Close by these, are also two ancient bridges, originally of Roman work, going across a little torrent coming down from the steep sides of the hill without the wall. The first of these is of four arches, the inner parts of which are now nearly filled up with large masses of petrified water in the form of stalactytes, as seen on the ancient aqueducts at Tyre. It has received a modern repair, and is still used as a common road. The other of these arches is more perfect, but both are evidently of Roman work".

At least one of these "bridges" he refers to near the end would seem to be ruined sections of the aqueducts which were encrusted with calcareous buildup from the water that flowed through them for 1500 years, hence the "stalactytes". The little stream they cross is the Phyrminos.