Tag Archives: Mark Wilson

Did Paul Visit Albania?

On his Third Missionary Journey Paul wrote the following to the Church in Rome.

Rom. 15:18–19 “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.”

AlbaniaMapPart of the heartland of Illyricum included modern day Albania.  When would Paul have visited Illyricum—such a visit is not mentioned in Acts?  Possibly on his Second and/or Third Missionary Journeys.  How would he have gotten there?  It seems logical to assume that he would have traveled  on the via Egnatia—as he did on his Second Journey from Philippi to Amphipolis, to Appolonia, to Thessalonica, etc.  And from Thessalonica he could have continued on the same road west to Illyricum.

In May of 2015 my wife and I had the privilege of joining a group led by Dr. Mark Wilson that traced the route and stopping points along the via Egnatia—the Roman road that led from Dyrrhachium and Appolonia on the shore of the Adriatic Sea to Byzantium.  The construction of the via Egnatia began in the second century B.C. and it eventually reached a length of 696 miles.

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View of the remains of Ad Quintum (“At Five [miles]”)—a place where riders would change their horses (mutatio). The row of arches in the center of the image are evidently remnants of a monumental water fountain (nymphaeum) that was built into the hill. On the left, with some protective covering, is the area where there was a Roman Bath.

A Roman bath at Ad Quintum, a change–over station (mutatio) on the via Egnatia, is very well–preserved. It was discovered after a landslide in 1968. It was listed in the Bordeaux Itinerary of A.D. 333.   Although “change-over stations” (mutatio—where horses were changed by official couriers) are well­–known from literary sources, but only few have been identified archaeologically.  Ad Quintum is located a few miles west of the modern Elbasan (ancient Scampis) in Albania.

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View of the remains of the interior of the Roman Bath at Ad Quintum (“At Five [miles]”)—a place where riders would change their horses (mutatio). Note the frescos on the wall, the steps, and the terra cotta brick work of the arches above the doors.

The current ancient constructions at Ad Quintum are thought to date to the 2nd–4th centuries A.D. (Note from Dr. Mark Wilson).  To view additional images of the remains at Ad Quintum Click Here.

EgnatiaAramcoThe above map of the via Egnatia is from a wonderful article in AramcoWorld.

To view a Roman Bridge on the via Egnatia Click Here.

 

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Via Egnatia (Peqin, Albania)

Paul probably traveled on this road on both his second and third missionary journeys, as he traveled between Philippi and Thessalonica.  The current issue of Aramco World has a wonderful article on this road—describing it from west to east.  It includes some pictures, a video and a helpful map.

The Via Egnatia is the name of a Roman Road that connected ports on the Adriatic Sea with Byzantium.  From west to east, a traveler from Rome (Italy – not on map) would head southeast overland to Brundisium (a port on the east coast of Italy).

ViaEgnatia01From there they would sail east, across the Adriatic Sea, landing at either Apollonia or Dyrrhachium (both on map).  They would head east, overland, on the “Via Egnatia” toward Byzantium — via ThessalonicaAmphipolisPhilippi, and Kypsela.

Although completed in stages, it was begun in the second century B.C. and it was expanded and repaired by the Romans in subsequent centuries.  It is named after the second century B.C. Roman proconsul of Macedonia, “Gnaios Egnatios.”  Its length varied according to the period, but Roman milestones suggest it was 535 Roman miles long (= 493 English miles [790 km.]).

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View looking east at a portion of the Via Egnatia near the Albanian village of Peqin. Here the roadbed is being used for local rural traffic!

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Carl and Mary Rasmussen on a Roman Bridge that supported the Via Egnatia near Peqin (Albania)

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View looking northeast at a bridge of the Via Egnatia near the Albanian village of Peqin. Here local traffic is diverted to the right of the bridge.

HT:  Drs. William Burlingame and Mark Wilson.

Did Paul see this View as he traveled to Miletus on His Third Journey?

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The Strait of Mycale Looking Southwest
Click on Image to Enlarge/Download
Also, See Map Below

View looking west southwest at the Strait of Mycale.  On the left (east) side of the image is Mount Mycale which is in Turkey.  On the right (west) is the Greek Island of Samos.  The open water between them is the “Strait of Mycale”—only 1 mi. [1.6 km] wide!

The Apostle Paul probably passed this way as he sailed from Chios to Samos to Miletus—towards the end of his Third Journey.

Acts 20: 15 says: “And sailing from there [Mitylene], we [Paul and traveling companions on board a ship] arrived the following day opposite Chios; and the next day we crossed over to Samos; and the day following we came to Miletus.” (NASB)

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Map of the Strait of Mycale
Click on Image to Enlarge and Better Clarity

The route that Paul’s vessel took from Chios to Miletus is carefully examined by Dr. Mark Wilson at the beginning of his important article “The Ephesian elders come to Miletus: An Annaliste reading of Acts 20:15-18a.” He argues that the vessel that Paul was on sailed through the narrow straight between Samos and Turkey—the “Mycale Strait”— and possibly landed at the chief city of Samos—Pythagoras or at Troglilum closer to the (present) Turkish mainland.

For additional images of the Strait of Mycale and Samos Click Here.

The  map above is from: Eric Gaba, Wikimedia Commons user Sting [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Here are the “bibliographic details” of Wilson’s article, BUT to Download Your Copy Click Here:  WILSON, M.. The Ephesian elders come to Miletus: An Annaliste reading of Acts 20:15–18a. Verbum et Ecclesia, North America, 34, sep. 2013. Available at: <http://www.ve.org.za/index.php/VE/article/view/744/1751>. Date accessed: 18 Oct. 2013.

The Lighthouse at Patara

At the end of Paul’s third journey, as he was heading for Jerusalem, he and Luke changed ships at Patara—a port located on the Mediterranean coast of present day Turkey (see map below).

… we put out to sea [from Miletus] and sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara.  We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail.  After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo.  (Acts 21:1-3; NIV)

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View looking southwest at the square foundation and the cylindrical Lighthouse built upon it at Patara
Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

A mysterious structure is located on the northern edge of the beach and on the western edge of the now silted harbor of Patara.  It is claimed that this is the ‘oldest preserved’ lighthouse in the world!

According to Dr. Mark Wilson (personal communication updating his book) writes that “the inscription should be dated to Nero’s eleventh tribunician power, thus between October 64 and October 65.”  And . . . “a second lighthouse (antipharos) still lies buried in the sand on the opposite side beneath Kurshunlutepe.”

The Greek inscription names “Marcus Sextius Priscus . . .  who served as governor until the reign of Vespasian in 71-72.”

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Entrance to the Circular Tower of the Lighthouse
Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

View looking east at the doorway that is on the west side of the cylindrical tower.  Behind the student the solid interior cylinder is visible behind the modern supporting column.  There actually is an outer “cylinder” (the student is standing in it) that is constructed around a round central column and stairs are wedged in between the two parts.  The round central column is visible behind and to the right of the woman in the picture.  She is about 5 ft. 7 in. [1.5 m.] tall.

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Internal Staircase (woman is standing on it), the Outer Cylindrical Wall (just right of center) and the inner solid column with the staircase wedged in between them
Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

A view of the interior staircase of the cylindrical tower.  In the center of the image the cylindrical exterior wall is visible and on the left side of the image the massive solid interior column.  Note how the staircase is bonded to both the exterior wall and the interior column. The woman in the image is about 5 ft. 2 in. [1.3 m.] tall.

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Note the location of Patara along with Cos and Rhodes
All mentioned in Acts 21:1-13

To view 14 images and commentary on the Lighthouse at Patara Click Here.
(Free of charge, without obligation and/or registration)

Dr. Mark Wilson’s comments on Patara and the lighthouse can be found in:  Mark Wilson, Biblical Turkey — A Guide to the Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor.  Istanbul: Yayinlari, 2010, pp. 90–99.

Christmas Gifts

As Christmas approaches I thought I would repost a few relevant blogs.  Most will have to do with content, but here are some gift ideas.

I am grateful that recently some other bloggers (here and here) have recommended my two atlases so I thought I would use today’s blog to mention them and some other books as well.

ZEBA01Last year Zondervan released my Zondervan Essential Bible Atlas.  this is a distillation of my more complete Zondervan Atlas of the Bible and includes all of the important maps, commentary, pictures, and timelines.  It was designed for easy reference, personal Bible study, and is light weight enough to carry on a trip to the Holy Lands (recent amazon price – $15.53 paper).

My more complete Zondervan Atlas of the Bible (2010; Hardcover $27.28; Kindle $24.99), besides being available in print, is also available as an “app” for iPad, iPhones, Androids, Macs, Windows Desktops, and Windows Store.

MarkWisonBookFor those traveling to Turkey, Mark Wilson’s Biblical Turkey — A Guide to the Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor is the best resource available (amazon $20.94 [a big price drop]).

Reed SmallAnd for the whole New Testament, I continue to recommend Jonathan Reed’s The HarperCollins Visual Guide to the New Testament. (a STEAL at $2.08+shipping!!).

A 1,181 ft. long well-preserved Roman Bridge in Southern Turkey

Ever since my undergraduate days when I majored in Physics and Mathematics I have had an interest in technology—and now, ancient technology.  Thus, on a recent trip to Turkey I couldn’t pass up visiting the “largest civil engineering structure of antiquity” in the area of the ancient city of Limyra (map below).  This Roman Bridge is 1,181 ft. long and is almost completely preserved.

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View looking east along the 1,181 ft. long road that rests upon 26 ancient arches — the paving on the road is original — note the encroachment of the orchards and the greenhouses — Carl Rasmussen

For an image of this road without the “happy explorer” Click Here.

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Two of the 26 ancient arches of the Roman Bridge near Limyra — Click on Image to Enlarge/Download

View looking south at two of the 26 arches of the Late Roman Bridge.

Since the paved surface of the bridge is original, this would imply that all of the supporting materials are original.  Notice the relatively flat double arches made up of bricks and mortar.  The supporting piers of the arches are buried in silt and debris.

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Western most arch over the Alakir Çayi river — Click on image to Enlarge and/or download (without obligation)

View looking north at the western most arch of Late Roman Bridge over the present course of the Alakir Çavi river.  Notice the relatively flat double arch made up of bricks and mortar.  The supporting piers of the arch are buried in silt and debris.

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To view additional images of the bridge (without obligation) Click Here.

For a hard-to-c0me-by description of the bridge see the Wikipedia article Bridge near Limyra.

HT: Dr. Mark Wilson of the Asia Minor Research Center — and author of Biblical Turkeywho drew my attention to the existence of the bridge.

Excavations at Derbe Have Begun

Dr. Mark Wilson—author of the excellent Biblical Turkey—has drawn our attention to the fact that excavations at Derbe have begun!

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View of the mound of Derbe (Kerti Hüyük)—Early July
Click on Image to Enlarge

The excavations have been underway since July 8, 2013 by researchers of the Selçuk University.  They say that they have found remains of what may be a Christian Church, walls, tombs, etc.  It seems that there are also remains that date back some 8,000 years ago! [This would seem to make them almost as old as not-to-distant Catalhüyük; CR]. The announcement is found in the Hürriyet Daily News. Continue reading