Home Authors Posts by Saksagan





A Journey Through Ancient Lydia

Historical Overview

Situated in the ancient region of Lydia, Sardis unfolds its rich history at the foothills of the Tmolus Mountains, commanding a view of the Hermus River plain. Evidence of human activity dates back to the Palaeolithic period, around 50,000 B.C. Recent excavations primarily focus on the Archaic era, particularly the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., when Sardis reached its zenith as the capital of the Lydian empire Phrygian Art and Culture in Anatolia. Additionally, attention is given to the Late Roman era when the city continued to thrive.

Archaeological Marvels

Archaeological highlights from the Archaic period include the royal burial mounds at Bin Tepe, the city wall, and a gold-working installation on the Pactalus River. Monuments from later periods, such as the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine, boast structures like the temple of Artemis, a bath-g

Phrygian Art and Culture in Anatolia


Influences and Connections

Phrygian art, shaped by influences from Hittite and Urartian cultures, played a role in inspiring Etruscan art in Italy. Simultaneously, the Phrygians were directly influenced by the Urartu civilization in Eastern Anatolia. An example is the incorporation of the Urartian bull’s head figure into a distinctly Phrygian cauldron. Metalwork, utilizing known metal ores, gained prominence in the Early and Mid-Bronze Ages from 2500 BC. However, it was around 1000 BC that Phrygian metalwork, borrowing from pottery and metal vessels, became widely popular.

Phrygian Art Categories

Phrygian art can be categorized into three groups:

Local Phrygian ware
Urartian import ware
Assyrian import ware
These categories further distinguish artifacts found in mounds dating before 695 BC.

Evolution of Phrygian Pottery

Phrygian pottery during this period showcased fine polychrome ware, categorized as early and

Early Christian Influences and Phrygians in Anatolia


Early Christian Influences

The early spread of Christianity in this region owes much to St. Paul. However, the 2nd century AD witnessed the emergence of two distinct sects: Montanism and Novationism. Montanism, rooted in the teachings of the local prophet Montanus, prophesied the imminent end of the world. Novationism, named after the Roman theologian Bishop Novatian, gave rise to the followers known as “the pure” or “katharoi” in Greek. This movement, later influencing the Cathar heresy of the Middle Ages, staunchly opposed the readmission of lapsed Christians into the Church Sardis.

Phrygians in Anatolia Builders and Rulers

The Phrygians, part of the “people of the Aegean Sea” migrating tribes, arrived in Anatolia around 1200 BC. Initially settling in Central Anatolia, they established their towns over the ruins of Hittite cities such as Hattusas, Alacahöyük, Pazarli, and Alisar. By the early 8th

Roots of Pharmacy


Recording Centuries of Medical Wisdom

In the times of Roman imperial power and culture, scholars started documenting all the medical knowledge gathered through years of study and conquest. The renowned book “De Materia Medica” by military doctor Dioscorides, outlining over six hundred remedies from plants, animals, and minerals, laid the foundation for pharmacology. Dioscorides also wrote about poisons and their antidotes. A bit earlier, physician Cornelius Celsus compiled an extensive encyclopedia of Greek and Alexandrian medicine Galen.

Shaping the Course of Pharmacy

In the second century of the Christian era, Galen (Claudius Galenus), born in Pergamum, Asia Minor, became a pivotal figure. Born on September 22, 131, he passed away in Rome in 201. This Greco-Roman doctor, pharmacist, and philosopher authored around five hundred books and treatises, emerging as the leading scientist of his time. Galen’s writings on med



A Notable Greek Physician (130-200)

Early Life and Education

Galen, a renowned Greek physician and teacher, was born in Pergamun. His father, inspired by a dream, carefully educated him and chose the medical profession for him. Galen received education in Pergamun, Smyrna, Corinth, and Alexandria.

Medical Practice and Achievements

After completing his studies, Galen practiced medicine in his hometown and later became the physician to Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Rome. He wrote an impressive 500 works on medical and philosophical topics, and today, 83 of these treatises are still available.

Contributions to Medicine

Galen served as a surgeon to gladiators, conducting vivisections and post mortems on animals like the Barbary ape but not on humans. He followed a mix of medical philosophies, combining the teachings of Hippocrates and Plato while also introducing his own ideas.

Systemizing Greco-Roman Medicine

Galen played a

Archaeological Discoveries in Ephesus


Uncovering the Past

Exploring Ancient Streets and Buildings

Various parts of Ephesus have been uncovered, revealing historical streets and public structures:

City Market and Bouleuterion (Council Meeting Place)
Prytaneion (Meeting Quarters of Religious Authorities)
Roman Imperial Cult Sanctuaries
Tetragonos Agora (Trade Market)
Theatre for 24,000 Spectators
Inner-City Bath-Gymnasium Complexes

Late Antiquity Cathedral Marienkirche

The most significant building from late antiquity is the Marienkirche Roots of Pharmacy, a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It stands on the site of the Olympieon, a temple honoring Emperor Hadrian, which was leveled around 400 A.D.

Public Library and South Gate Façade

Built around 110 A.D., the elaborate façade of the city’s public library, near the South Gate of the Agora, was constructed based on the wishes of Celsus Polemea

Rome’s Ascendancy in the East


The Second Mithradatic War (83-81 B.C.)

The conflict unfolded as Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena initiated an invasion of Pontus, ultimately facing defeat. In 74 B.C., Nicomedes III of Bithynia bequeathed his kingdom to Rome, prompting Mithradates VI to invade Bithynia, marking the initial phase of the Third Mithradatic War (73-65).

Lucullus’ Campaign and Retreat

Lucius Licinius Lucullus, the Roman commander Tigranes the Great, expelled Mithradates and invaded Armenia, seizing Tigranocerta in 69 B.C. However, challenges in the mountains and harsh climate impeded further progress. After a significant victory at Artaxata, Lucullus faced a reluctant troop and retreated to the Euphrates valley. Mithradates regrouped in Pontus, and Lucullus was replaced by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, or Pompey the Great.

Pompey’s Swift Victories

Pompey’s military prowess contrasted with Lucullus, achieving swif

Tigranes the Great


Rise to Power

The Decline of the Seleucid Empire

Antiochus VII marked the end of the strong Seleucid rulers, leaving only Syria within the shrinking empire’s grasp. Successors struggled to retain control, facing breakaways like Tyre and Sidon seeking independence before Roman intervention. Damascus evolved into the Arab Ituraean kingdom Mithradates VI of Pontus. A significant influence during this period was Queen Cleopatra Theos, daughter of Egypt’s Ptolemy VI, legitimizing three Seleucid monarchs through marriage.

Constant Struggles for Succession

Following Cleopatra’s death in 121 B.C., succession disputes plagued the Seleucid Empire. Between 96 and 83 B.C., six contenders vied for the crown simultaneously, showcasing the empire’s internal strife.

Missed Opportunities for the Parthians

Despite contributing to the Seleucid downfall, the Parthians, hindered by Saka inv

Mithradates VI of Pontus


Clash with Rome

Roman Supremacy in the Mediterranean

After the Punic Wars, Rome emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean. The Roman province of Asia expanded through bequests and campaigns against Cilician pirates. Pergamun, under the last king Attalus III, bequeathed its kingdom to Rome, further solidifying Roman influence. By the end of the century, Roman protectorates included Egypt, Bithynia Rome’s Ascendancy in the East, Cappadocia, Galatia, and Paphlagonia. Mithradates VI of Pontus, however, viewed Rome as an obstacle to his ambitions.

Mithradates VI’s Early Reign

Mithradates VI inherited the Pontic throne at twelve in 120 B.C. Despite his young age, he proved a skilled organizer and expanded his kingdom by annexing Colchis (Georgia) and the Crimea in the last decade of the second century. Forming alliances with Parthia and Armenia, he married his daughter to Armenia’s Ki

Antiochus III’s Eastern Campaigns and Power Dynamics


Antiochus in Bactria and Beyond

In the following two years, Antiochus engaged in a prolonged struggle with his Bactrian counterpart, Euthydemus I, resulting in a stalemate. The prolonged siege of Bactra, the capital, proved fruitless, leading Antiochus to a crucial realization—he possessed the capability to defeat eastern adversaries, but lacked the resources to permanently garrison the vast region. Consequently, he opted for peace with Bactria. Euthydemus retained his crown, contributed elephants to the Seleucids Antiochus the Great and the Shifting Fortunes, and solidified the peace by having his son Demetrius marry Antiochus’s daughter.

Antiochus then ventured across the Hindu Kush into the Kabul valley, forging an alliance with one of the last Mauryan emperors of India, acquiring more elephants. Despite the campaign’s success, its strategic impact was limited, leaving Parthian and Bactria

Stoletov Bulgaria Tours


At the Well Part 2


Grand Balkan Tour