Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Visualising Antioch - a major breakthrough

Some time ago a comment was left on a post that referred to a project that the commenter was working on to create a recreation, using CAD/CAM software, of the city of Antioch in its glory days. The commenter was I think in Japan or Thailand but could never get any more detail as they never left an email address.

Now up pops a comment from Dr.Kayhan KAPLAN, at Hatay's Mustafa Kemal University, on one of my weekend postings that indicates that he has recreated the city from four different angles using computer graphics. Frankly it is a major contribution to visualising the city and a great start to the task of making Ancient Antioch real for people for whom a  map is a mystery. 

The recreation is obviously modeled on Wilber's map. I now subscribe to the Poccardi and Uggeri visions of a longer pointed island towards the southern end rather than Wilber's "roundish" island.

Some comments I would note:
  • The river branches are wider than I suspect they were. 
  • I have my doubts about the amphitheater on the Island (this would seem to have been on the mountain slopes where the recreation also shows another amphitheater) 
  • The aqueducts (there were two) ran partly underground on the slopes of Mt Silpius so weren't always visible from a bird's eye view. 
  • Most evidence seems to suggest the palace was parallel to the hippodrome and abutted it along own side rather than being at a 45 degree angle as portrayed here
  • The street patterns of the Island are clearly shown to be at a different angle to the rest of the city which is as Poccardi theorises
  • The blocks of the city don't seem to be as dense as they probably were (or as many of in number, over 200 in some estimations) to accommodate 400-500,000 inhabitants. 
  • The palace recreation is clearly based on Split which is entirely understandable and does a great service in making the loggia facing the suburbs (as per Libanius) make sense
  • I doubt the area outside the Gate of the Cherubim was as extensive or as rural as portrayed
  • I also think the walls along the Orontes branch running through the city were probably much lower and less important than shown here. With the Theodosian rebuild they became more important.
This is truly a great job and certainly something the raises the challenge of getting some real digs going to underpin this vision. In the good old days, Dr Kaplan might have been cheered along the Colonnaded Street for this job!


Judith Weingarten said...

Thanks for this exciting news. I've picked it up on my blog; see The Glory Days of Antioch"

Bones said...

Any idea where we can see this 3D rendition these days? Apparently the site is no longer up.