The Da Vinci Code

2006-05-02T19:26:00Z

I got to visit the Ephesus museum in Vienna before leaving. Out of the many museums in Vienna, I was particularly interested in this one because I was in Ephesus last month on my visit to Turkey. The collection there is relatively small, which I suppose is a good thing because it means that most of the artifacts have stayed in Turkey. What was good about the Vienna museum was that there is better information about the history of Ephesus.

There was a particularly nice model of the ancient city of Ephesus on display. It is very nice to see how it was likely originally assembled, and I could see where I walked around. Two things are notable. The water by the harbour doesn’t exist anymore. It has long been filled in by silt (The city of Troy has an extreme example of this). Also the model makes it look so empty around the temple of Artemis (Artemision) and basilica of St. John when, in fact, it is enveloped by the city of Selšuk.

Artemis isn’t actually Artemis. She is the ancient goddess worshipped by the people of the region before the Greeks. When the Greeks came along, the declared the figure to be a figure of Artemis, despite not looking anything like their images of her.

The goddess symbol was a reoccurring theme in my travels in Turkey. This was caused mainly because I read eviladmin’s copy of The Da Vinci Code on our length bus rides. (Turkey has an excellent intercity bus system that we could learn a thing or two from.) I very much enjoyed the book, which kinda surprised me given it’s enormous popularity, and it was an easy read. As the protagonist points out, once you recognize a symbol, you can see it everywhere.

Travelling through the ancient Greek work I kept seeing references to pagan tradition and other aspects from The Da Vinci Code. The equal armed crosses on hukuma and fanlain’s carpet representing man and woman. Figures of Artemis with her numerous testicles (the exhibit in Vienna says that what exactly these bulbs represent is very much disputed). The rise of Christianity and the destruction of Greek culture that came with it. Even Christianity is subject to the same fate; the Aya Sophia is a church converted into a mosque (Sophia, meaning wisdom, is the love interest in The Da Vinci Code). And, of course, the whole concept of the moon goddess eclipsing the sun god is itself seems perhaps a coital relation (the eclipse photo is by Nick King).

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