Tuesday, February 7, 2017

June Calender writes

April on the Turquoise Coast

“On the coast we have to expect surprises,”
    Erdal said. He meant it as a warning.
    I hoped it was a promise.
And he was right:
    Sunny days turned to gray
    Warm breezes to chill wind;
    One night dancing and laughing on deck
    The next awakened by crashing thunder,
    Flashing lightning, feet running on deck,
    Gullet pitching and rolling amid waves.
    At morning light, a safe, calm harbor,
    A town not on our itinerary.  Free time
    For steamy hamam, soap bubbles, massage.
Next day, sparkling seas, water true turquoise.  Yes!
    And every other shade of blue,
    Where Antony and Cleopatra honeymooned.
    April, a fine time on the Turquoise Coast.

Image result for antony cleopatra painting Mattys Terwesten

Cleopatra and Mark Antony -- Mattys Trwesten


  1. Türk Rivierası (the Turkish Riviera), also lnown as the Turquoise Coast, is in southwest Turkey along the he Aegean and Mediterranean seas. In addition to its thousand kilometers of beaches, it contains the ruins of two of Antipater of Sidon's "Seven Wonders of the World," the mausoleum of Maussollos in Halicarnassus built between 353 abd 350 BCE for a Persian satrap and his sister-wife Artemisia II of Caria (their sister was Ada, the adoptive mother of Alexander the Great), and the Artemision, the temple of Artemis in Ephesus (near modern Selçuk), originally built (according to Callimachus) by the Amazons, Amazons who fled there seeking the goddess' protection from punishment by Dionysus and later by Heracles; destroyed by flood in the 7th century BCE, it was rebuilt by Croesus of Lydia ca. 550 BCE; destroyed again in 356 BCE in a deliberate act of arson by Herostratus to gain immortal fame (the Ephesians executed him and forbade mentioning his name); its destruction coincided with the birth of Alexander the Great, causing Plutarchus to claim that Artemis was too preoccupied with his delivery to save her burning temple; Alexander offered to pay for the temple's rebuilding, but Ephesians refused the offer and, beginning in 323 BCE, rebuilt it themselves after his death. Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum in ca. 484 BCE, and St. Nicholas ("Santa Claus") in Patara, near Demre. The volcanic mountains near Dalyan were perhaps the inspiration for the fire-breathing chimera slain by Bellerophon, the grandson of Sisyphus; his brother Chrysaor sprang from the severed neck of Medusa at the same time as Pegasus the flying horse (they were all the offspring of Poseidon); astride Pegasus, he flew close enough to the monster to lodge into the beast's throat a block of lead that he had mounted onto his spear, and when the lead melted due to the chimera's breath the creature suffocated.

  2. Marcus Antonius chose the region as the most beautiful wedding gift for Cleopatra VII Philopator. He was was one of the triumvirs who ruled Roma following the murder of Julius Caesar; she was the last independent ruler of Egypt. In 41 BCE he summoned her to Tarsus to seek her support against the Parthians. She arrived in great state, and Antonius was so charmed that he returned with her to Alexandria. After betting him that she could spend 10 million sestertii on a dinner, she dropped one of her pearl earrings into a cup of vinegar and drank it after it dissolved. At her instigation, Antonius ordered the death of her rival sister Arsinoe, who had been banished to the Artemision. In December 40 BCE, Cleopatra gave birth to twins fathered by him. Four years later he passed through Alexandria again en route against the Parthians, renewed their affair, married her (though he was still married to the sister of his fellow triumvir Octavianus, the heir and great-nephew of Caesar), settled permanently in Alexandria, and fathered another child. In 33 BCE, after years of deteriorating relations, Octavianus convinced the Senate to levy war against Egypt. In 31 BCE, his fleet faced the combined fleets of Antonius and Cleopatra off the coast of Actium, but Cleopatra deserted her husband and Antonius was forced to withdraw. Then Octavianus invaded Egypt. When Antonius' troops deserted to Octavianus, he cried out that Cleopatra had betrayed him. Fearing his wrath, she sent messengers to tell him that she was dead, and Antonis stabbed himself in the stomach but not fatally. Cleopatra sent instructions to bring him to her but would not open her door; instead she had him tied up and hauled him through a window. She tore off her clothes and covered him with them, beat her breasts, and mutilated herself. Antonius tried to calm down, drank a glass of wine, and died. Octavianus captured her and ordered his freedman to prevent her from committing suicide, but she killed herself by prodding an asp with a spindle until it bit her. Her son by Caesar was proclaimed pharoah, but he was captured and killed. However, Octavianus spared her three children by Antonius and had his wife raise them.

  3. A hamam is a "Turkish bath" that relies upon water rather than ambient steam and is similar to Greco-Roman practices. It begins with relaxation in a "warm room" heated by a continuous flow of hot, steamy air, promoting perspiration. Then the bather moves to an even hotter "hot room" before washing in cold water and receiving a massage. The bather finally relaxes in a cooling room, where drinks and snacks are served. Often, hammams are located near mosques, since it is customary to perform ablutions before praying. Between the 10th and 15th centuries Turkish realms took Anatolia from the Byzantine Greeks, and the two cultures merged in many ways, including public bathing. A typical hamam consists of three basic, interconnected rooms: the sıcaklık (or hararet -caldarium), which is the hot room; the tepidarium (warm room), and the soğukluk (cool room, frigidarium). The Roman frigidarium included a cold water pool in which patrons immersed themselves before moving on to the warmer rooms, but Muslim customs preferred running water to immersion, so the cold water pool was dispensed with, and the sequence of rooms was revised, so they generally used the cool room after the warmer rooms and massages rather than before. Whereas the Romans used it as preparation, the Ottomans used it for refreshment and recovery. The sıcaklık usually has a large dome decorated with small glass windows that create a half-light and contains a large marble stone, a göbek taşı (tummy stone) at the center for customers lie on, as well as niches with fountains in the corners, and is used for soaking up steam and getting scrub massages. The warm room is used for washing up with soap and water, and the soğukluk for relaxing, dressing, and sometimes napping in a private cubicle after the massage. Many Byzantine accessories continued in use, such as the peştemal (a special cloth of silk and/or cotton to cover the body, like a pareo), the nalın (wooden or mother-of-pearl clogs to prevent slipping on the wet floor, and the kese (a rough massage mitt). Hamams are not exclusive to men, but they contain separate quarters for men and women or different availability times. (A few hamams also contain mikvehs, ritual cleansing baths for Jewish women.) As social centers, they became places of entertainment (especially in the women's quarters) and ceremonies.


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