Saturday 13 January 2024

Pergamon and Troy

Today we went to the town of Pergamon to visit the Asclepsion, which was the most prestigious hospital in the ancient world.

It was said that they cured everyone in the hospital so no one ever died there, but it was actually a bit of a con because they assessed everyone at the hospital gates and wouldn't admit anyone that they couldn't cure, including all old people and pregnant women.

They had four main treatments, the first walking in bare feet along the grass in the photo above in the sunshine, the second was listening to music in the theatre, 

the third was drinking from a sacred well and the fourth doing the same exercises that the gladiators did. This was because the doctors had realised that the gladiators were fitter than the average Roman and I think that this would be the most helpful prescription.

They also had an underground isolation centre that looks like a scene from Star Trek, and 'beam me up Scottie' fame. Disappointingly I think that Darren is actually just standing under a air and light vent. 

Next we drove to the site of the ancient city of Troy. For hundreds of years the location of it was not known, but it was rediscovered in the 1870's by Heinrich Schliemann. The town was destroyed and rebuilt nine times during its 4,000 years of occupation, and Mr S desciphered the description given in the poems of Homer to help locate it.

It is said that he mainly looked for Troy to try and find buried treasure, and he actually achieved this aim and secretly took it away to Germany. However, at the end of World War Two, it was confiscated by the Russians and is now on display in Moscow.

The site itself is very basic as most of the original stones were taken over the centuries to build houses in the local villages, however those that are left are the perfect play area for red squirrels.

Obviously the most famous thing about Troy is the legend of the Trojan Horse. Nothing has been found to prove its existence, but there is a fantastic idealised Horse in the nearest town. 

This model was given to the town by the producer of a film about Helen of Troy, and the only certainty is that if it ever did exist, it certainly wouldn't look like this glorious beast. 

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