Hercules Farnese of Perge and . . . .


Hercules Farnese From the Baths at Perge
Second Century A.D. — Antalya Museum

A beautiful second century A.D. statue of Hercules was found in the baths of Perge.  The Boston Museum of Fine Arts returned the top portion of the statue to Turkey in September 2011.  Prime Minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erogan personally brought the important portion to Turkey himself.  Portions of over 60 such statues are known and are called the “Hercules Farnese” (named after a famous Italian collection now housed in the Naples National Archaeological Museum).  This is a Roman copy of a bronze original.  Note the positioning of the head, arms, and legs, and especially the body muscles.  The skin of conquered Nemean Lion flows down on his left side as it tumbles to the ground.

Antlaya Museum Deities and Emperors

It has now been reunited with its body and is on display in the wonderful Antalya Museum.

Below is THE Hercules Farnese that is displayed in the Naples National Archaeological Museum.

Below is a five (5) in. high image of a “Hercules Farnese” found at Pergamum and displayed in the museum in Bergama.


A Bronze Five (5!) Inch High “statue” of Hercules
From Pergamum — In the Museum at Bergama

Heracles was the son of the god Zeus and a mortal Alcmene. Although originally a mortal, he eventually attained divine status and was widely worshiped throughout Greece. As punishment for killing six of his children he had to perform 12 “labors” (= very difficult tasks). The first of which was to kill the Nemean Lion. He wrestled with the lion, strangled it, and subsequently used its pelt as a cloak. (Nemea is a site in the Peloponnese region of Greece).

Antandros — Was the ship that Paul traveled on to Rome constructed here?

AntandrosAntandros is a Greco- Roman City located on the north side of the Gulf of Adramytium in Turkey about 19 mi. east of Assos and 19 mi. west of Adramytium (modern Edremit).  On his voyage to Rome Paul boardered a ship from nearby Adramyttium:

Acts 27:1    When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment.  2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea.

Because of the nearby forests, Antandros was famous throughout antiquity for shipbuilding.  It is very probable that the shipbuilders at nearby Adramyttium secured their timber from Mount Ida via Antandros.


Mosaic from the floor of the Terrace House at Antandros — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Antandros has been under excavation since the early 21st century by Turkish archaeologists. One of the more significant finds is that of a Roman Villa, called the “Terrace House,” that was built in the fourth century AD and continued in use through the sixth or seventh century AD.


One of the Frescos on the Wall of the Terrace House at Antandros — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

The “Terrace House” at Antandros is somewhat similar to the more famous Terrace Houses of Ephesus!

For the history and/or legends surrounding Antandros see the excavation website and conveniently Wikipedia.

To view additional free images of Antandros Click Here.

MoM — Genesis 12–50 — The Promise to the Patriarchs

Although I do not have time to cover the “Patriarchal Promise” during my 20 minute session on the Mount of Olives I spend time on it when teaching my class “Jerusalem: Earthly City Heavenly Symbol.”  This in spite of the fact that the promise does not specifically mention Jerusalem it although it does mention plethora of topics related to Jerusalem:  God’s People; the Land of Canaan; God Being with Abraham’s Descendants; Kings;  Divine Blessing for Gentiles; and Eternality.

I was first introduced to the God’s Promise–Plan through the teaching of Water Kaiser Jr. during my seminary days.  He believes that the Promise–Plan is the overarching theme of scripture—and many of us agree with him.  In what follows I will outline my understanding of the elements of the promise that was repeatedly made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—along with the relevant scriptural references.  Major “Promise–Plan” passages include: Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-16; 15:4–21; 17:4-17; 22:15-18.  The basic promise was initiated in the following passage:

Genesis 12:1       The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
2        “I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing. [CR: better—'be a blessing']
3        I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
4        So Abram left, . . . and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
6        Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.  7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

From this, and other passages, it appears to me that the Promise–Plan, as initiated, contains the following elements.

  1. That Abraham will have numerous descendants—variously called “nation, offspring, seed . . . .”  See Genesis 12:2; 15:4-5; 17:2-4—actually about 30 times in Genesis.
  2. That the descendants of Abraham would occupy the Land of Canaan.  See Genesis 12:7; 13:15–17; 15:18; 17:8—about 12 times in Genesis.
  3. That there would be Divine Blessing(s) for the descendants of Abraham and also for the Gentiles.  See Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:17–18; 26:3–4; 28:13–14.
  4. That God would be the God of Abraham’s descendants and that they would be His people—”I will be with you.:  See Genesis 17:7-8; 26:3; 31:3; 48:21.
  5. That kings would descend from Abraham.  Genesis 17:6, 16; 35:11.
  6. That the Promise is eternal.  Genesis 13:15; 17:7, 8, 13, 19; 48:4.

Take Away — In previous posts we noted how humans were placed in the presence of God to live their lives in worshipful obedience (Gen 2:15).  How this relationship was broken and how God promised to rectify it by “dwelling in the tents of Shem” (Gen 9:27).  Well, Abram/Abraham was a distant descendant of Shem via Terah who was the father of Abram (Abraham; Genesis 11:10–27).  In this regard please note #4 in the list above!  Among many other things, God was promising ‘to dwell in the tents of Shem’—i.e., to be with the descendants of Abraham.  This evidently would take place in the Land of Canaan where the descendants of Abraham would dwell.

It seems to me that three elements in Genesis 12:2–3 focus primarily on Abraham—namely:

  1. There would be blessing for Abraham (12:2)
  2. That Abraham’s name would be great (12:2)
  3. That God would bless/disfavor those who blessed/disfavored Abraham (12:3)

It does seem that Abram actually “visited” Salem/Jerusalem during his life time for Salem is identified with Zion/Jerusalem in Psalm 76:

Genesis 14:18        Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,

Psalm 76:2     His tent is in Salem,
his dwelling place in Zion.

For the promise doctrine see Kaiser, Walter C., Jr. Toward an Old Testament Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978 or more recently The Promise–Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New TestamentsGrand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.

Temple A at Laodicea (turned into a “library”?) — Part 1 of 2 Parts

Rev. 3:14–17 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: . . . 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. (NIV)

When we first visited the site of Laodicea in 1999 for all practical purposes the site had not been excavated and information about it was “sketchy.”  Since 2003 very large scale excavations have been taking place under the direction of Professor Celal Şimşek.


Celal Şimşek (center, excavator of Laodicea), Tulu Gokkadar (left, guide), Carl Rasmussen (right, content provider to http://www.HolyLandPhotos.org) in front of Temple A.

One, of the many(!), outstanding finds is “Temple A.”


View looking north at the reconstructed entrance to Temple A at Laodicea. Notice the steps leading up to the entrance, the four spiral columns on plinth, and the composite capitals (a combination of the Ionic and Corinthian orders)—all signs that this is a Late Roman phase of the Temple) — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

According to the excavator, Celal Şimşek (on site verbal communication 2014; but see below), Temple A was established in the first century A.D. and was dedicated to Apollo (not to Zeus as some previously speculated). Soon the sister of Apollo, Artemis, was worshiped here and eventually Imperial Cult worship was also added (very early fourth century A.D.—during the reign of Diocletian).


View (2008) of the vaulted substructure of Temple A not too long after its excavation. Note the arch and the springs of the arch (on both sides of the image) of the vaulting (typically Roman construction) — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Previously there was some speculation that Temple A was dedicated to Zeus partially because of analogies with the Temple of Zeus at Aizanoi.

Carl Rasmussen Copyright and Contact

The temple of Zeus at Aizanoi has a special subterranean temple below the main temple, as does Temple A at Laodicea — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

At Aizanoi Zeus was worshiped at the above ground temple while Cybele (mother goddess) was worshiped in the subterranean chamber (above).

More next time on some evidence as to the Apollo and Artemis connections at Laodicea.

According to an undated glossy brochure distributed at the site, Temple A was:

“. . . built in the Antonine period (second century CE) . . . [and] was heavily renovated in the reign of the Emperor Diocletian (284–305 CE)”

“[The] Temple was used as [a] religious archive of the Ladoicea Church when Christianity was accepted as [the] official religion in the 4th century CE . . . and [the] temple was destroyed after the earthquake in 494 CE”

Steven Fine has noted that the Church at Laodicea was evidently anti-Jewish—as evidenced by the anti-Jewish Council of Laodicea that was held at Laodicea soon after the death of Julian the Apostate in A.D. 363.  See a previous post on a menorah and cross.

Jason’s Tomb (2nd Temple Period)

Jason’s tomb is a beautiful funeral monument from the late Hellenistic – early Roman period. It was the tomb of a high priestly family that was forced out of Jerusalem in 172 B.C. (2 Maccabees 5:5-10) by their rival, Menelaus. It was constructed in the second century B.C. and was in use until A.D. 30 (about the time of the crucifixion of Jesus).  This tomb was discovered in 1956 and is located in west Jerusalem—in Rehavia. It consists of several courtyards and a “pyramid-shaped” roof.

Entrance to Jason’s Tomb

Continue reading

MoM — Genesis 9:27 — God Promises to “dwell” in the Tents Shem

Because of their sin, humans were expelled from the Garden of Eden and would no longer be able to live their lives in the Presence of God—worshiping and obeying Him.

Because of extreme sinfulness humanity was punished by God with the flood.  Noah, his sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth), and their spouses survived.  Afterward God graciously promises a number of things but the part that I like to emphasize on the Mount of Olives is found in Genesis 9:25–27:

Gen. 9:25 So he said,
“Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brothers.”
Gen. 9:26 He also said,
“Blessed be the LORD,
The God of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.
Gen. 9:27     “May God enlarge Japheth,
And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.” (NASB)

The question that I am interested in is, in v. 27, to whom does “him” refer?  It should be noted that the Hebrew text really has “him” at this point—NOT Japheth.  The NIV and some other translations insert an interpretative “Japheth” but Japheth is not actually in the original Hebrew text!   In fact, it is difficult to have the “him” refer back to Japheth in the previous line, for there Japheth is the object of the verb and this grammatical construction would be rare.

It is much more natural to have “him” refer back to the previous subject, namely God! And thus the verse should be read:

Gen. 9:27     “God will enlarge Japheth,
But He [= God] will dwell in the tents of Shem;
Let Canaan be a slave to him.” (Kaiser, p. 82)

If this interpretation is correct, then God is promising that He intends to reverse the “unnatural” situation that the humans find themselves in because of their sin—living their lives apart from Him.  It is God’s intention to again reside with humanity—so that they can live their lives in His presence in worshipful obedience.

It is of course noteworthy that a distant descendent of Shem is Terah, and that Terah is the father of Abram (Abraham), who is the father of . . .!  (Genesis 11:10–27)

More next Monday on God dwelling in the tents of Shem via Abraham and his descendants.  [BTW — future posts will not have as much Hebrew grammar as these first posts have had!]

Walter Kaiser first drew my attention this interpretation of Genesis 9:27.

Kaiser, Walter C., Jr. Toward an Old Testament Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978, p. 82.

Update! The Possibility of Great Treasures from 300 B.C. — from Amphipolis

In a report dated 21 August Discovery News reports that the bodies of two sphinxes, 4.8 ft. high(!) have been found in connection with this tomb (10 times larger than the spectacular tomb of Philip II at Vergina!!).  The report also states that this is the LARGEST tomb ever uncovered in Greece.


Two Sphinxes from Large Macedonian Tomb in Northern Greece (Amphipolis), each 4.8 feet high! — Image from Discovery News

Katerina Peristeri, the archaeologist in charge of the dig hopes to “. . . fully explore the burial by the end of the month to decide who was laid to rest there.”  Speculation: high military official of Alexander the Great?  Or possibly Alexander’s wife Roxana and/or his son Alexander IV who were killed at Amphipolis in 311 B.C. on the orders of King Cassander?  FWIW – the tomb is 3 miles from the famous lion statue (picture below).

Original blog from 13 August, 2014 follows.

A tomb has been discovered near the ancient city of Amphipolis in northern Greece—ancient Macedonia from whence Alexander the Great was from.  The circular mound is about 1,630 ft in circumference.  [for samples of treasures that might be found and why I am excited about this site—see below].  According to the press release a famous marble lion is located near the burial mound and may have actually topped the mound.


The Lion of Amphipolis — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

View of the funerary monument, possibly that of Laomedon, a naval officer of Alexander the Great, that is dated to the late fourth century B.C. Although destroyed, it was rebuilt from fragments found in the area in the first half of the 20th century.   It is sited close to the large ancient city of Amphipolis — on the east bank of the Strymon River.

Amphipolis was situated on the Via Egnatia on which Paul traveled several times. This monument would have been 350 years old by the time Paul would have seen it.

For news stories on this find click Here and Here.

Greece Ancient Tomb

View of the lower portion of the tomb — note the encircling wall — Photo: Alexandros Michailidis/AP

If this burial mound is undisturbed, it could contain magnificent treasures—like those from the tomb of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great.

The following are samples of items found in the area of Amphipolis — who knows what this mound (tumulus) may contain?!!


View of a Golden Oak Wreath from a tomb near Amphipolis. Note the delicate metal work and even the acorn just left of center. Date: probably around 300 B.C.


View of a detail of a gold necklace found in a tomb near Amphipolis. Note the fine delicate craftsmanship. Date: probably around 300 B.C.


View of a box that probably contained the ashes of the cremated person and a golden wreath above it. This type of box is called a larynx. Date: probably around 300 B.C.