Saturday, 4 June 2016
WHAT’S A BODRUM?
The city of Bodrum in Turkey is not on the radar of too many American and European travelers, but it ought to be. Many people interested in classical antiquity already know about Bodrum, but may not know that they know. The Greeks called it Halicarnassus, and it housed the Tomb of Mausolus, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Historians will recognize it as the home town of Herodotus, the father of the discipline of history, and also of Dionysius, historian of the Roman republic and rhetoric teacher to Roman emperors. It was ruled by the Persians and Alexander the Great, and later came under the control of the Knights of St. John or Knights Hospitaliers, who built its great castle and renamed it after St. Peter (Petronium), which gave rise to the modern name of Bodrum. This is where the Mongol advance under Tamerlane was stopped, but the Crusaders eventually gave way to Suleiman the Magnificent, who brought the city into the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. After that, very little happened in Bodrum, which is why so many ancient sites are so well preserved.