Wailing Wall at Jerusalem at Night

February 10, 2017

Jerusalem is defined by three valleys: the Kidron, Tyropean and Hinnom. In the photo below we are standing in the Tyropean Valley. Jews come here to mourn the destruction of the temple, among other reasons. This wall was not part of the temple itself, but was the retaining wall for the temple and the structures on the temple mount. Some of the courses of larger stones starting from bottom are Herodian, and weigh several tons each.

In Jerusalem, "Wailing Wall" at night. This was part of the retaining wall that supported the temple complex. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

In Jerusalem, “Wailing Wall” at night. This was part of the retaining wall that supported the temple complex. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

I’ve visited this very special location on numerous occasions, but this past November I had the occasion to take some night-time photos.

Click image for larger view.


Temples in Pompeii, Italy

January 27, 2017

The Roman city of Pompeii, as was generally the case in the world of the 1st century, was a city of many gods.

Pompeii–as you might expect, given its many gods–had many temples, though by no means one for every god or goddess who might intervene in the lives of its inhabitants. They came in all sizes, in varying degrees of prominence and with very different histories. Some stretched back to the earliest years of the city. The temple of Apollo next to  the Forum was established by the sixth century BCE at the latest. (The Fires of Vesuvius.281-282).

Temple of Apollo, Pompeii, Italy. Photo by Leon Mauldin. Mt. Vesuvius may been seen the the background.

Temple of Apollo, Pompeii, Italy. Photo by Leon Mauldin. Mt. Vesuvius may been seen the the background.

Most of the rest [of the temples] date to the second century BCE or later. The Small Temple of Fortuna Augusta was dedicated to an almost untranslatable combination of the goddess of Good Fortune or Success (Fortuna) and the power of the emperor (the adjective Augusta can confusingly, or conveniently, refer either to the first emperor Augustus himself, or to imperial power more generally–for subsequent emperors used “Augustus” as part of  their titles too)  (Ibid.)

Temple of Fortuna Augusta, Pompeii. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Temple of Fortuna Augusta, Pompeii. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Pompeii is a city “frozen” in time by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, AD 79. Though this is not a “biblical city” it preserves scenes from a Roman city in the AD 1st century, and thus has tremendous value to us. Thus it helps us to see the setting for the biblical world in the early New Testament era.

When contemplating the widespread idolatry of the biblical world, I often think of Paul’s statement to the Corinthians, many of whom had themselves formerly been idolaters:

we know that “an idol is nothing in the world,” and that “there is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth– as there are many “gods” and many “lords”– yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through Him. However, not everyone has this knowledge. (1 Cor. 6:4-7, HCSB).

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Altar at Arad, in Southern Israel

July 14, 2016

During the Mosaic Dispensation God specified that the central place of worship (for offering sacrifices, attending annual feasts, etc.) was to be the tabernacle, and later, the temple built by Solomon. The temple was located in Jerusalem (called by Jesus “the city of the great King,” Matt. 5:35).

Unfortunately the will of God was not always sought and obeyed. After the death of King Solomon, Jeroboam built rival shrines at Dan and Bethel. There was also a temple built at the fortress city of Arad, to the south, east of Beersheba. The temple at Arad, built by the Israelites, was used at the same time Solomon’s temple stood in Jerusalem. Here is the altar upon which sacrifices were offered at Arad. Note the use of mud-bricks.

Altar at Israelite temple at Arad. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Altar at Israelite temple at Arad. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Here you can see the location of Arad.

Arad. BibleAtlas.com.

Arad. BibleAtlas.com.

Arad is mentioned five times in the Bible (Num. 21:1, etc.); however no biblical mention is made of the illicit temple there.


Selinunte and Agrigento, Sicily

March 10, 2016

Tonight we are in Agrigento, on the southern coast of Sicily. One of my group, Dr. Eric Awwad, is wearing a pedometer and today logged 5.8 miles of walking in our visiting archaeological sites today. Our local guide took this group photo (minus 2 or 3 of our folks) at the Temple of Concordia in the Valley of the Temples in ancient Agrigento.

Mauldin Group photo at Temple of Concordia at Agrigento.

Mauldin Group photo at Temple of Concordia at Agrigento.

This is the most famous structure of the Valley of the Temples, and is one of the best preserved Doric temples in the world. It dates back to the 5th century BC.

Earlier we were at Selinunte, where among other fascinating ruins we saw the Temple of Hera (also known as “Temple E”).

Temple of Hera at Selinunte. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Temple of Hera at Selinunte. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

I’m glad my wife Linda is with us on this trip.

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Linda at Selinunte, Sicily. Photo by Sonja Winburn.

Yes, we had a little rain today. Tomorrow we are to visit the Roman villa of Casale and from there make our way to biblical Siracusa.


The Greek Goddess Hera

August 25, 2015

While taking a group to Italy (2012) I had the occasion to visit the Vatican Museum in Rome, where among other many artifacts, I photographed a statue of the Greek goddess Hera.

Hera, Vatican Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Hera, Vatican Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

There is a replica of the temple of Hera in central Alabama:

Hera Temple at Wetumpka, AL. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Hera Temple at Wetumpka, AL. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Jasmine hill gardens and outdoor museum, “Alabama’s little corner of Greece,” now features over 20 acres of year-round floral beauty and classical sculpture, including new statuary honoring Olympic heroes.

The Olympian center welcomes visitors with a video presentation of jasmine hill’s history and a display of Olympic memorabilia from the games of past years. a tour of jasmine hill, now completely accessible to visitors with disabilities, offers spectacular and ever-changing views, including our full-scale replica of the temple of Hera ruins as found in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympic flame. http://www.jasminehill.org/

Wikipedia:

Hera is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow, lion and the peacock were considered sacred to her. Hera’s mother is Rhea and her father Cronus.

Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the polos (a high cylindrical crown worn by several of the Great Goddesses), Hera may bear a pomegranate in her hand, emblem of fertile blood and death and a substitute for the narcotic capsule of the opium poppy. Scholar of Greek mythology Walter Burkert writes in Greek Religion, “Nevertheless, there are memories of an earlier aniconic representation, as a pillar in Argos and as a plank in Samos.” Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus’s lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her, such as Pelias. Paris also earned Hera’s hatred by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess.

Bust of the Greek goddess Hera at temple site. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Bust of the Greek goddess Hera at temple site. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

SA′MIA (Σαμία), a daughter of the river-god Maeander, and wife of Ancaeus, by whom she became the mother of Samos. (Paus. vii. 4. § 2.) Samia also occurs as a surname of Hera, which is derived from her temple and worship in the island of Samos. (Herod. iii. 60; Paus. vii. 4. § 4; Tacit. Ann. iv. 14; comp. HERA.) There was also a tradition that Hera was born or at least brought up in Samos. (Paus. l. c.; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 187.) (Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Vol. 3, p. 702).

There are the ancient remains of a temple devoted to Hera at Agrigento, a city on the southern coast of Sicily. (That location is included in my planned itinerary for Sicily/Italy March 2016.)

Temple of Hera, Agrigento, Sicily. Photo by Jose Luiz.

Temple of Hera, Agrigento, Sicily. Photo by Jose Luiz.

Personal note: We have not been posting much for the last several weeks due to some family sickness and deaths, and the priority which that rightly requires. We hope to be posting more regularly now in the near future. Thank you for your patience.


Catching Up a Bit from Istanbul

April 2, 2015

Between ınternet ıssues and an agıng laptop ıt turned out I could not post for the last couple of nıghts. Our group has now completed our Greece-Turkey trıp. We have traveled ın the steps of Paul and also vısıted the cıtıes of the Seven Churches (mınus Thyatıra) and fınıshed our trıp by tourıng Istanbul today. It has truly been a good trıp. Here ıs a group shot from Pergamum.

Group photo at Pergamum. Photo by Orhan.

Group photo at Pergamum. Photo by Orhan.

That photo was taken Monday afternoon. Earlıer that mornıng we had vısıted Assos whıch ıs mentıoned ın Acts 21 ın connectıon wıth Paul’s return trıp on the 3rd journey upon hıs departure from Troas.

The staff at the Assos Dove Hotel were especıally frıendly and accommodatıng. Thıs was my second tıme to stay here.

Staff at Assos Dove Hotel. Photo by Leon Mauldın.

Staff at Assos Dove Hotel. Photo by Leon Mauldın.

As you ascend the acropolıs of Assos you wıll see the promınent ruıns of an ancıent temple devoted to Athena. There ıs a model on dısplay at the sıte.

Model showıng how the Athena Temple ın Assos would have looked. Photo by Leon Mauldın.

Model showıng how the Athena Temple ın Assos would have looked. Photo by Leon Mauldın.

Thıs temple would have been ın actıve use durıng New Testament tımes and would have been seen for some mıles ın the Aegean as shıps saıled through thıs area. The context of the mentıon of Assos ın Acts 21 ıs when Paul sent hıs companıons on ahead at Troas ın the shıp whıle he went by land. He boarded the shıp at the harbor at Assos.

Ruıns of the temple of Athena at Assos Turkey. Photo by Leon Mauldın.

Ruıns of the temple of Athena at Assos Turkey. Photo by Leon Mauldın.

We are to fly back to the US from Istanbul early ın the mornıng (2:00 AM wake-up call). We look forward to sharıng more photos of bıblıcal sıtes wıth you.

Clıck on ımages for larger vıew.


Delphi, Greece

February 17, 2015

Though Delphi is not a biblical city, this site was of great importance in antiquity. The

Seat of an important oracle and temple of Apollo at least as early as the seventh century, Delphi received pilgrims from all over Greece. She was enriched, too, as numerous city-states sent their votive gifts and erected shrines there. The Pythian Games, in honor of Apollo, were held at Delphi every four years. (Pfeiffer, The Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands).

This photo shows the theater of Delphi. At bottom center is the temple of Apollo.

Delphi Theater. Photo by Leonidtsvetkov at en.wikipedia

Delphi Theater. Photo by Leonidtsvetkov at en.wikipedia

Fant and Reddish point out,

When it is surrounded by blooming almond trees in the spring, Delphi is surely one of the most beautiful places in the world. The ancient Greeks agreed and described it as the center (literally, the navel, omphalos) of the world.

The Sacred Precinct of Delphi comprises, in addition to the temple of Apollo, an impressive theater, the Bouleuterion (council chamber) of the city, numerous treasuries of Greek cities that held valuable offerings to Apollo, and many monuments and altars. From the entrance, the Sacred Way leads uphill between the bases of monuments that celebrated military victories and more than twenty treasuries that held votive offerings. The Treasury of the Athenians (510 B.C.E.) has been reerected in the form of a Doric temple. The Temple of Apollo itself was originally built in the 7th century B.C.E.; it burned to the ground in 548 B.C.E. and was rebuilt in 531 B.C.E.  

This later temple collapsed from an earthquake in 373 B.C.E. Only the foundations of the third temple (346–320 B.C.E.) remain today.

Here is a photo of the Sanctuary of Athena. This tholos, or rotunda, was build early 4th century BC.

Sanctuary of Athens at Delphi. Photo by By KufoletoAntonio De Lorenzo and Marina Ventayol. Wikipedia.

Sanctuary of Athens at Delphi. Photo by By KufoletoAntonio De Lorenzo and Marina Ventayol. Wikipedia.

One very important artifact in the Delphi Museum is the Gallio inscription. Gallio is the Proconsul of Achaia before whom Paul stood for trial at Corinth as related in Acts 18:12ff. For a photo of this inscription click here.

Click images for larger view.