10 June 2010
"Reenactors" at Ephesus
I was at Ephesus last week and they were setting up some mysterious stands along the harbor road. Turns out it was a 'reenactment' of 'ancient Ephesus'.
These guys were supposed to be 'gladiators', though those look more like Roman military uniforms to me. Note the total lack of beefcake compared to the real thing:
They looked like they were having fun anyway, even if the swordplay wasn't overwhelming. There was also some interpretative dance. I'm not entirely sure why anyone would pick these colors for anything historical, since before the invention of aniline dyes after 1856 such bright colors would have been impossible, or extremely expensive, to create.
The whole thing was supervised by "Caesar" and "Cleopatra", dressed in grape juice purple. While I'm on color, another one of my pet peeves is that the Imperial 'Purple' was really more of a scarlet with some pink in it, but everyone goes with this grape candy color.
I can be catty about this stuff at times, but I thought the trumpeters did look pretty fly standing on the ancient wall.
The whole production, I found out later, is staged for the benefit of passengers on Norwegian Cruise Line, which disgorges its thousands onto buses and dumps them at Ephesus for a couple hours.
Turkey is experimenting with renting out archaeological sites for events like this, a development which I'm totally neutral about generally. I mean, there's a ton of ancient cities and theaters and stuff that if used right can add a lot to both the tourist economy and cultural life (the most famous in these parts being the Aspendos Festival). Like in anything commercial, however, quality control is pretty key, and that's the worrisome part when delicate ancient ruins are in question.