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Charles Fellows in Aphrodisias
Posted By Biblical Archaeology Society Staff On February 5, 2013 @ 1:01 pm In Archaeologists, Biblical Scholars & Works,Biblical Archaeology Sites | 1 Comment
British archaeologist and explorer Sir Charles Fellows (1799–1860) discovered the ruins of a number of ancient cities in Asia Minor (modern Turkey), including Xanthus, the ancient capital of Lycia, which he excavated under the sponsorship of the British Museum but he funded personally. He was knighted in 1845 for his assistance in having marble reliefs and monuments from this area brought to England. Public response to their London exhibit was sensational.
On his way to Lycia, Fellows spent three days at Aphrodisias. The following account of his visit to Aphrodisias is taken from the meticulously documented and illustrated report he presented to the British Museum, published as An Account of Discoveries in Lycia, being a Journal Kept during a Second Excursion in Asia Minor (1840). In it he describes the relationship of the pagan and Christian ruins at the site.
Aphrodisias is not in appearance the site of an ancient Greek city; it lies low, and its principal buildings are not, as usual, elevated above the rest of the town. It is difficult to describe the ruins of this city; I never saw in one place so many perfect remains, although by no means of a good age of the arts. The opinion I shall venture to give is founded wholly upon my observation of the ruins as they exist, in perfect ignorance of any historical accounts. I have copied many of the inscriptions, and hope to increase my knowledge by their after-examination…
The stadium on the north side of the city is still magnificent, running from east to west, and having both ends circular; most of its seats are still remaining, and in itself this building alone would repay the trouble of a visit to this city. On the south side is a small hill, artificially formed, probably to contain a theatre, the ruins of which face the south-east; a few foundations would lead us to suppose that temples may have ornamented this little acropolis. In the centre of the city stood a beautiful Ionic temple; fifteen of its white, marble, fluted columns are still standing, and some have tablets left uncut where the shaft was fluted, telling by their inscriptions that they were offerings to the temple of Venus or Aphrodite, the goddess to whom the city was dedicated…
My next description carries us to an age probably two or three centuries subsequent to the Christian era. The whole of the temples and public buildings, excepting only the stadium (which, by a wall built across it near the circular end, seems to have been converted into an amphitheatre) must have been demolished; for a city arose…composed of the remains of temples, tombs, and theatres, removed, although uninjured. The reversed inscriptions and inverted bas-reliefs bear testimony to the change…Even the Pagan name of the city was changed, for in [one] inscription it appears to be called Tauropolis…
The Cross, with the alpha and omega, and other monograms used by the early Christians, are the emblems over the gates. Sarcophagi within the walls tell the end of many of the wealthy Christian inhabitants; and others are registered upon the bases and columns of temples which were afterwards used to support Christian churches…
The walls of the town, in their present decay, show better the extent of depredation and size of the former city than any other remains; it is equally a study for the lover of art, of history, or of morality…
The substructure (Platas) is (the property) of Adrastos Polychronios, the son of Glykon, the son of Glykon, the son of Leon, the son of Hekatomnon…on that substructure he built a monument, lying upon the substructure, and both the sarcophagus (Soros) and the compartments (Isostae) in it, and the other things in it. In that sarcophagus I buried Barilla, my wife; and likewise I wish myself to be put into the sarcophagus, but nobody else. Into the first compartment, lying under the sarcophagus, I wish my (second) wife, and Polychronios my son to be buried. But in the other compartment I wish to be put Tatianos and Adrastos, my children; but nobody else to be put either into the sarcophagus or into the compartments…But if, contrary to the directions, anybody shall bury another (in the monument), let him be accursed, and besides pay into the most holy treasury five thousand denaria, of which one-third is to be his, who institutes proceedings.* 
Some of the sarcophagi of the Byzantine age are richly wrought, and, although many of them are of Christian date, they appear to have retained the Pagan devices: at the end of the one represented appears an altar burning in front of a door…
We had provisions with us, and our only want of firewood was supplied by these civil but simple people. It was amusing to see their curiosity when we were copying inscriptions, by beating wet pulpy paper into the hollowed letters in the marble, and allowing it to dry in the sun; they showed great delight, and soon learned to assist us. I regretted my not understanding the words in which they indicated their surprise, but I read it in their unaffected and expressive countenances. The instruments, and their use in making observations of our latitude and longitude, as well as the taking our altitude by boiling the thermometer, were of course all objects of wonder to them, and I dare say will be long talked of by these simple people. Three days appeared but a short time to remain in this interesting place.
*  Published by Boeckh, 2824, from the manuscript of Sherard, who saw the monument in a more perfect state.
Angelos Chaniotis. “Godfearers in the City of Love ” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2010, 32–44, 77.
Exposing St. Nicholas’ Christian Capital at Myra 
The Lost Sites of Ancient Cilicia 
Apostle Philip’s Tomb Found in Turkey 
Of Pirates and Virgins: Greek and Turkish Scholars Colloquiating 
Newly Established Hiking Trail Guides Adventurous Travelers Through Turkey’s Archaeological Wonders 
Join Dr. Mark Wilson on the BAS tour Abraham’s Country: The Ancient Civilizations of Turkey  from September 14-28, 2013.
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 *: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/charles-fellows-in-aphrodisias/#note01r
 Exposing St. Nicholas’ Christian Capital at Myra: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/exposing-st-nicholas-christian-capital/
 The Lost Sites of Ancient Cilicia: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/the-lost-sites-of-ancient-cilicia/
 Apostle Philip’s Tomb Found in Turkey: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/apostle-philip%E2%80%99s-tomb-found-in-turkey/
 Of Pirates and Virgins: Greek and Turkish Scholars Colloquiating: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/archaeology-today/archaeologists-biblical-scholars-works/of-pirates-and-virgins-greek-and-turkish-scholars-colloquiating/
 Newly Established Hiking Trail Guides Adventurous Travelers Through Turkey’s Archaeological Wonders: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/newly-established-hiking-trail-guides-adventurous-travelers-through-turkey%E2%80%99s-archaeological-wonders/
 Abraham’s Country: The Ancient Civilizations of Turkey: http://www.bib-arch.org/travel-study/turkey-2013.asp
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