Day 27-A

75

 

06-14-13

 

So this morning we rolled out of the hotel around 8:45 and went to the local archaeological museum of Sinope. I forgot my tiny notebook, so I was jotting notes down on my arm with a permanent marker, as per the usual, and one of the curators who spoke no English just walked up to me and handed me a piece of his notebook paper, so how you can see what I translate my notes from to make them suitable for this journal. The city of Sinop, the northernmost city of Anatolia, was founded by expatriates of Milletus (where we had previously visited, if you recall) in the 7th century BCE. A large exporter of tiles, popes, and other necessary ceramic gadgets and appliances, the city enjoyed great wealth and prosperity from trade both on land and via water. The name of the city comes from the goddess Sinop, who was the daughter of an obscure river god. Zeus fell in love with her madly and decided to grant her any one wish she wanted. And if his past was any sign of her future, she knew exactly what she would use the wish for: to protect her virginity from him. The city also boasted itself to be the hometown of Diogenes, the founder of the “cynic” lifestyle. Described by Plato as, “Socrates gone mad,” Diogenes believed in living minimally and truly understanding oneself. He lived in a bathtub by himself and was known to walk around with a lantern in search of a “good man” or “human being.” Once when he was in Corinth, Alexander the Great met him and agreed to give him anything for which he asked, to which Diogenes replied, “Please move out of my sun.” He didn’t believe that everyone should adopt his lifestyle, but that it was what he needed to do to become a human being himself. In a larger room of the museum, as well as outside in their garden, there were large pillars with dedications as well as steles, or essentially grave-stones. One pillar listed the accomplishments and victories of a great boxer of Sinop who won 150 big titles in all. And one thing I noticed about the steles was that after the name, years of life, and accomplishments of the deceased, the person who commissioned the epitaph engraving would add, “farewell!” to the end. And it struck me as peculiar that instead goodbye or so long, they chose farewell, as though they were truly wishing for their loved one to fare well on the next step of their journey in the afterlife. I think I’ll write about that creatively later. Also outside the museum was an unearthed Serapis sanctuary and a monument dedicated to the Sinop Raid, which forced an alliance among England, France, and the Ottoman Empire against Russia in the Crimean War in the 1850s. and the other day, Jarret and I had a beautiful “we both love the Crimean War because it’s obscure and the first war to employ photo-

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