Nicholas’s further travels in Anatolia

 

Accompanied by Inci Türkoglu, Nicholas continued his travels in Anatolia after the presentation at Limmud.

They went first to the town of Yalvaç, where the Director of the local archaeological museum, Özgür Çomak, had indicated the presence of Jewish inscriptions. They examined two tombstones bearing badly weathered Greek inscriptions and the symbol of the menorah (7-branched lampstand), discovered recently in a village a few miles away. These were clearly Jewish, but were too early to be of direct relevance to the project, beyond demonstrating that there had been a Jewish presence at the site in the late antique or early Byzantine period. They also looked at a large number of terracotta oil lamps, and identified three that might be Jewish, on the basis of decoration reminiscent of the menorah or the lulav (palm branch). They took the opportunity to visit the nearby site of Pisidian Antioch, where it is claimed that a Byzantine church (now in ruins) was built on the site of an ancient synagogue where St Paul taught.

At the splendid archaeological museum in Antalya (where there are various indications of a Jewish presence, both Rabbanite and Karaite, in the Middle Ages), they failed to find any medieval inscriptions or other objects. They looked at a marble chancel screen from a synagogue in Andriake (near Myra), with Jewish symbols and an inscription in Greek. They also saw a large tombstone of Raphael Moses Shohami, who died in 1905, and a fine Torah scroll in a tik (case), presented (presumably to the local synagogue) in 1928.


Panel from the chancel screen of a synagogue in Andriake.

Photo: Nicholas de Lange

 


Nicholas examining a tik in the Antalya Museum

Photo: Inci Türkoglu

 

Other news

  • Mapping the Jewish communities of the Byzantine Empire
  • is funded by:
  • ERC
  • and hosted by:
  • CARTS
  • University of Cambridge