From The Athenian Acropolis To The Aegean Sea

The Temple Of Olympian Zeus

From the Athenian Acropolis one can look down and see what is known as the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

This temple was dedicated to Zeus, the chief of the gods. Construction on the temple began in the 4th century BC but was not concluded until the 2nd century AD, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. To honor Hadrian an arch was built for his entrance into the city. If you look near the lower left hand corner of the picture you can see Hadrian's arch with the columns on top. The completed temple was ultimately destroyed by barbarians in the 3rd century AD.

This temple was dedicated to Zeus, the chief of the gods. Construction on the temple began in the 4th century BC but was not concluded until the 2nd century AD, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. To honor Hadrian an arch was built for his entrance into the city. If you look near the lower left hand corner of the picture you can see Hadrian's arch with the columns on top. The completed temple was ultimately destroyed by barbarians in the 3rd century AD. Much of the remaining ruins were used for other building projects in the city. All that is left is pictured above.

The Agora In Athens

We left the acropolis and descended toward the ancient Athenian agora (marketplace). What a beautiful view the merchants/shoppers had as they looked up at the Acropolis.

This picture was taken from the agora in Athens, looking up at the Acropolis.

This picture was taken from the agora in Athens, looking up at the Acropolis.

The following pictures are also from the agora in Athens, with a brief explanation under each picture.

A "stoa" is the word describing the practice in Ancient Greek architecture of providing a covered porch or walkway. These were commonly found in or near the marketplace. This one at Athens was among the most impressive. The style is known as Doric. These buildings provided an area for merchants to sell their goods, no matter the weather. These buildings were also used at times for religious gatherings. This stoa at Athens was originally built by King Attalos II of Pergamon, who ruled between 159 BC and 138 BC. It was destroyed in 267 A.D. by a Germanic nomadic people known as the Heruli. In the 1950's the Rockefeller family paid to have it restored.

A "stoa" is the word describing the practice in Ancient Greek architecture of providing a covered porch or walkway. These were commonly found in or near the marketplace. This one at Athens was among the most impressive. The style is known as Doric. These buildings provided an area for merchants to sell their goods, no matter the weather. These buildings were also used at times for religious gatherings. This stoa at Athens was originally built by King Attalos II of Pergamon, who ruled between 159 BC and 138 BC. It was destroyed in 267 A.D. by a Germanic nomadic people known as the Heruli. In the 1950's the Rockefeller family paid to have it restored.

A Fig Tree in the Agora at Athens

A Fig Tree in the Agora at Athens

Although it is somewhat hard to visualize from this picture, these ruins represent a theater built by Agrippa in 15 B.C. which had a seating capacity of about 1000 people. It was two-stories and was covered. However, it was also destroyed by fire in 267 AD. Later, around AD 400, a Gymnasium was erected on the site. Note the gigantic pedestals which were salvaged from the debris of Agrippa's Odeion.

Although it is somewhat hard to visualize from this picture, these ruins represent a theater built by Agrippa in 15 B.C. which had a seating capacity of about 1000 people. It was two-stories and was covered. However, it was also destroyed by fire in 267 AD. Later, around AD 400, a Gymnasium was erected on the site. Note the gigantic pedestals which were salvaged from the debris of Agrippa's Odeion.

This temple was built on the northwest side of the ancient Agora in Athens. It was dedicated to the god of metal-making. Construction began in 449 BC and was completed in 415 BC. It is regarded by many as the best preserved ancient Greek temple. It was known for, among other things, housing bronze statues of Athena and Hephaestos, the god of metal.

This temple of Hephaistos was built on the northwest side of the ancient Agora in Athens. It was dedicated to the god of metal-making. Construction began in 449 BC and was completed in 415 BC. It is regarded by many as the best preserved ancient Greek temple. It was known for, among other things, housing bronze statues of Athena and Hephaistos, the god of metal.

Upon leaving the Agora in Athens we returned to our hotel for another nice meal and preparations to leave the next morning aboard a cruise ship at the Port of Pieres, just a few miles from Athens. In my next post, we will explore Paul’s journeys on the Aegean Sea and some of his missionary excursions to the surrounding islands.

Love and prayers to all,

BJC

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Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

From Corinth Back To Athens

Although I miss my family, brethren and friends, I am having the time of my life! Every day is jam packed with things to see, and each new thing that I see is enhancing my understanding of the Scriptures more and more. At the close of my last post I was reporting on the sites in Corinth. One thing that I did not mention is our visit to the Corinthian museum.

The Museum At Corinth

Although the museum is not all that large, it does contain some interesting items. I have listed some of these below with explanatory captions.

At the entrance of the museum are these headless statues. This is a common sight for this time period.

At the entrance of the museum are these headless statues. This is a common sight for this time period. When armies would attack a city they would lop the heads and arms off of the revered statues in the city, thus symbolizing the removal of strength and power.

There are headless statues all over the different sections of the Corinthian ruins. The following pictures are but a sampling of headless statues in and around the Museum of Corinth.

Off WIth Their Heads!

A Headless Statue Near Corinthian Bema

Headless Statue in Corinth Museum

More Headless Statues In The Museum of Corinth


Back To Athens

After leaving Corinth, we had a nice lunch near the Corinth Canal. Then we made the drive back into Athens. Incidentally, the town of Athens is a very adventurous place to drive/ride. Our bus drivers were amazing in handling the traffic. The traffic in Athens is incredibly congested. The growth of Athens has been remarkable. Back in the 1800’s, the population of the city was approximately 10, 000 people. Presently, there are an estimated 5-6 million residents. The following pictures reflect this congestion…

This picture does not do justice to the clusters of houses and buildings all over the city just like those depicted here.

This picture does not do justice to the clusters of houses and buildings all over the city just like those depicted here.

Looking down from our hotel, I was amazed at the congestion of houses and traffic.

Looking down from our hotel, I was amazed at the congestion of houses and traffic.

There are motorized bikes all over the city--and they are fearless. This picture was taken when traffic was moving. Notice how these three motorcycles cut right in front of a moving bus! And this is the general rule--not an exception to the rule!

There are motorized bikes all over the city--and they are fearless. This picture was taken when traffic was moving. Notice how these three motorcycles cut right in front of a moving bus! And this is the general rule--not an exception to the rule!

To The Acropolis of Athens and The Parthenon

One of my very first posts showed a picture of the Athenian Acropolis from a distance. It was now our chance to see it up close and personal. However, there were other things to see along the way. For instance, the following picture is one of the Theater at Athens. It was one of about 40,000 theatres scattered throughout the regions of Greece, Turkey and Asia. By all standards the Athenian theater was small in size. It could only seat 6000 people. This is largely because it started out as an indoor theater. There was once a roof of wood upon the theater but the ravages of time removed it long ago.

This theater is still in use during the summer for outdoor plays.

This theater is still in use during the summer for outdoor plays.

A Closer Look At The Theater In Athens

A Glimpse At The Parthenon

This was the Temple dedicated to Athena, built in the 5th century B.C.

This was the Temple dedicated to Athena, built in the 5th century B.C. It sits atop the Acropolis of Athens.

Next to the Parthenon is the Erechtheum Temple. It is held up by six pillars shaped like maidens — the Caryatids. The Erechtheum takes its name from a shrine dedicated to the Greek hero Erichthonius, and the temple was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

The temple was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

The Erechtheum temple is next to the Parthenon. The Erechtheum temple was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.

Mars Hill Is Just Below These Temples

I always pictured Mars Hill as some giant sized hill, but as the picture below shows, it was not all that large.

Mars Hill, the place where Paul gave his famous sermon, recorded in Acts 17, is the stone hill just behind the tall pine tree in the center of the picture.

Mars Hill, the place where Paul gave his famous sermon, recorded in Acts 17, is the stone hill just behind the tall pine tree in the center of the picture.

As I stood on Mars Hill, looking up at the temples upon the Acropolis, I gained an even greater appreciation for Paul’s statement that God dwelleth not in temples made with hands (Acts 17). I can very easily envision Paul gesturing toward the Acropolis when he said these words.

As Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill, this is how close the Acropolis and its temples were to Paul and his hearers.

As Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill, this is how close the Acropolis and its temples were to Paul and his hearers.

As you approach Mars Hill, there is a plaque containing the Greek record of Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill. It was beyond thrilling to sit on Mars Hill and listen to Paul’s Sermon read unto us from Acts 17.

Shane Fisher, reading Paul's Sermon on Mars Hill, as recorded in Acts 17.

Shane Fisher, reading Paul's Sermon on Mars Hill, as recorded in Acts 17.

I want to go on and on about this, but again it is late, and the bus is coming early in the morning to take us to four of the seven churches of Asia sites. I’ll give the rest of the story in Athens in my next post, and move from there to some of Paul’s journeys by sea.

Thanks so much. Love to all.

BJC


Published in: on May 25, 2009 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

From Athens To Corinth

It’s Great To Be Back On Line

I wanted to offer a new post much sooner than this, but when we got on board the cruise ship we learned that internet access would cost 1 euro per minute. One euro is roughly equivalent to $1.35 in American dollars. I just could not afford $1.35 per minute when it takes me an hour or two to finish this online. Anyway, now that we are in Turkey the internet access in the hotel here is free! I have so much to tell you.

From Athens To Corinth

We arose early on Thursday morning to travel by bus from Athens to Corinth. It was about an hour and a half journey by bus. It was very exciting to look up at the road sign which read…

Corinth is just ahead!


Corinth Canal

Before arriving in Corinth we had an interesting stop at the Corinth Canal. This canal (pictured below) was necessary because of the land mass which separated the Ionian Sea from the Aegean Sea. In ancient times, before the canal was built, they would dock the ship at one port and either put the ship on rollers and drag it to the other sea, or they would have to completely unload the ship and drag its contents across land to another ship.

Nero was actually the one who moved the first shovel full of dirt to break the ground to build the canal. However, Nero died shortly thereafter, and the project was abandoned. In fact, it was not built until the years 1881-1893. I took pictures of the canal from both sides.

The Corinth Canal

Pointing toward the Aegean Sea

Pointing toward the Aegean Sea

The canal is very steep and very impressive. There was some construction going on near the canal, as advertised by the following sign…

Would You Do This?

A Visit To AcroCorinth (The Acropolis of Corinth)

The word acropolis is actually a compound of two Greek words. “Acro” refers to the highest or extreme point. The word “polis” is the Greek word for “City.” Hence, the acropolis is the highest point of a city. The most famous Acropolis is probably the one in Athens, where the Parthenon is located. We will examine it later. However the Acropolis at Corinth is also a fascinating site.

A First Look at AcroCorinth

And for a closer look at AcroCorinth…

Note the fortress on top of the mountain

Note the fortress on top of the mountain

The Temple Of Apollo In Ancient Corinth

Near the Acropolis of Corinth is the Temple of Apollo, which dates back to about the mid sixth century B. C. It had been built on the same spot as a previous temple, and was actually rebuilt by Roman colonists. This means that it is absolutely certain that when Paul came to Corinth (Acts 18:1-17) he would have encountered this temple to Apollo, not to mention many other surrounding temples. Today, only seven of the original 38 columns are still standing. The remains of the Temple Of Apollo are pictured below…

Temple Of Apollo In Ancient Corinth

Another prominent temple is the Temple of Octavia located nearby

Another Corinthian temple

Another Corinthian temple

In visiting Corinth, Paul came to know of the Corinthian devotion to temples, and thus he emphasized to theĀ  Corinthian Christians, “ye are the temple of God” (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). He wanted them to see God’s temple, the church, as more magnificent than any earthly temple they saw in their midst.

The Corinthian “Agora” (Marketplace)

The term agora means marketplace, and the agora was the centerpiece of city life. It was here that people would come to buy and sell. Because Paul was a tentmaker, like Aquila and Priscilla, with whom he abode (Acts 18:2-3), he was very likely one of those who would sell his goods (tents) in the agora. The ruins of the agora at Ancient Corinth are pictured below.

Ruins Of The Agora of Corinth

The Fountain in the Agora at Corinth

The Fountain in the Agora at Corinth

The Bema (Judgment Seat) In Corinth

In the midst of the Agora of Corinth are the ruins of the Bema (a word meaning judgment seat).

Jews brought Paul to this very place and tried to bring charges against him

Jews brought Paul to this very place and tried to bring charges against him

It was a thrill for me to rehearse the events of Acts 18:1-17, while standing at this spot with the rest of the group. We were reminded of how certain Jews made insurrection against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat. However, Gallio viewed their complaints as a Jewish matter with which he wanted nothing to do. So he drove them away from the judgment seat. They then retrieved Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue and brought him to the judgment seat and gave him a beating. Gallio looked the other way and remained uninvolved.

I will never again quote Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:10 without thinking of how he was brought before the judgment seat in the very city of Corinth. He wrote that “we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ” to give an account of what we have done, whether it be good or bad. How will our appearance before the judgment seat end?

I originally wanted to report on Athens as well, but the hour is late, I am weary and the alarm clock will be ringing in about six hours to start another day. Thanks for reading. I look forward to our next visit.

BJC

Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

From Paris To Athens

The Flight

Well, any hopes I had for another great seat on another long flight were dashed when I ended up in the very last row in the aisle seat right next to the only bathrooms on the plane. This created longer lines than you’ve ever seen at the Department of Motor Vehicles. There was a steady stream of passengers lining up. Everytime I started to try to catch up on some zzzz’s, someone would lean all their weight on my chair and jolt me into full awareness. Cramped conditions and an ice cold meal with entrees which I still cannot identify made this flight less pleasant than the previous one—but wait a minute—reality check. I am headed to Athens, Greece, not to mention Corinth. Time to quit complaining and start rejoicing at my many blessings.

Arrival In Athens

It was very interesting to walk into the airport in Athens and to see all the Greek letters in a place other than the New Testament.

Greek Letters--But Not In My New Testament

I even understood some of the Greek I was reading.

Can You Find The Word Exodus On This Sign?

A Sermon Idea In The Athens Airport

Sermon ideas are all around us, and I couldn’t resist taking a picture of an advertisement in the Athens Airport. I have never seen a more appropriate name for Beer than the one below.

What An Accurate Name For Beer. It is certainly full of myths.

The Mystery Traveler?

In the Sunday afternoon meeting before we left on our trip I joined in (via the internet) on an informational meeting conducted by tour leader, brother Tony Lawrence. He made mention during the meeting of a mystery traveler, and then proceeded to walk over and turn the sound down so that I could not hear what was going on. I wondered if it were possible that my wife Tish could be the mystery traveler. She had wanted to go on the trip but the trip started during the last week of her school responsibilities. I wondered if she might be planning to meet me later in the trip.

When we arrived in Athens there was a woman holding up a sign with the name of our tour group upon it. As I looked to my right I saw a sign with my name on it, covering the face of an unidentified male. When he pulled the sign away from his face I knew who the mystery traveler was. It was…

The Mystery Traveler!

My good friend and brother, and former co-worker, Sean Hochdorf. Sean works in Arusha, Tanzania as the Dean of Students at the Andrew Connally School of Preaching. He met us in Athens so that he could enjoy the trip, and his coming certainly increased my joy as well.

Athens at Sunset

We arrived at the Park Hotel and enjoyed a delicious meal on the 8th floor. What a view. From our dining area we could see the Acropolis in Athens off in the distance.

The Acropolis In Athens--At A Distance

and a beautiful sunset…

Athens at Sunset

A Much Needed Night of Sleep

After dinner, Sean and I tried to sit in the lobby and do some catching up, but I kept falling asleep. We both agreed that we needed a good night’s sleep.

In my next post, I will report on the amazing day we had today in seeing Corinth and Athens. It is almost midnight here in Athens, (8 hours ahead of CST). In the morning we will leave to board a ship in order to sail the Aegean Sea and visit some of the ports and places Paul visited on his missionary journeys.

I am so moved and motivated by what we saw today that it is hard for me to shut this down and go to bed, but it was a long and physically demanding day for all, especially those of us who walked more today in one day than in a couple of years combined. Anyway, Good night to all, and may God bless you as much as I feel blessed right now.

Published in: on May 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Journey Is Underway!

It is surreal to think that I am in Paris, France, typing this post with bright sunshine all around, while knowing that it is 4:00 a.m. back home in Southaven, MS.

The 8 and a half hour flight on Air France was not as bad as I feared, mainly because I was fortunate enough to snag an exit row, with unlimited leg room and a wide open space in front of me. I didn’t feel closed in or cramped at all…but the chances of me getting that seat again are probably not good.

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The food on the flight was interesting for someone like me. I ate some crackers with the French words “aux olives” on the front. I hate olives but took a chance on these and they were quite good, actually. The meal was Chicken Fricasee or Parmesan. I chose the chicken, and again it was quite good. Even the bed of rice with salmon and little bits of red peppers (I think), was tasty. I figured if I’m going to see the world, that I ought to taste some of its fare as well.

Fruit for breakfast and a muffin topped it all off. Then I needed to walk it all off. I got my chance. We landed in Paris, took a bus, and then walked for what seemed like forever through the Charles De Gaulle airport, on our way to our flight to Athens. We got to the gate so early they would not let us go through security just yet, so we went to a little cafe where I was anxious to find a Diet Coke. I found a Pepsi Max for I can’t remember how many euros, but the man kept telling me 6 dollar, 8 dollar. I settled for six and enjoyed every priceless drop.

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I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know the group. There are about 20 of us on the trip and we are already bonding together.

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I miss my family but am so thrilled to have this opportunity to improve my Bible knowledge. I can’t wait to tell my family, my church family, and my MSOP family all about it!

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 4:26 am  Leave a Comment  

In The Steps Of Paul

In just a few short days, Lord willing, I shall be blessed with one of the greatest opportunties of my life. I will be taking my first trip to the lands of the Bible. Most people think of the “Bible lands” as being confined to the area of Jerusalem and Palestine. However, we must not forget that a good portion of the New Testament is devoted to the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul.

Jesus predicted that the gospel would begin in Jerusalem, spread to Judea, then Samaria, and ultimately to the uttermost parts of the world (Acts 1:8). A large section of the book of Acts chronicles for us the spread of the gospel message, with a zoom in close up of Paul’s missionary work.

Brother Tony Lawrence, a graduate of the Memphis School of Preaching, will be leading the trip. He has a great organizational skills, and good experience in leading such travels.

in addition to visiting some of the sites of Paul’s missionary journeys, we will be privileged to visit the isle of Patmos, where John was when he received the Book of Revelation.

The very place where John received the visions recorded in the Book of Revelation

The very place where John received the visions recorded in the Book of Revelation

Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm  Comments (1)