The Two Toms Tour to Turkey, 2002


Thomas J. Sienkewicz, Professor of Classics, Monmouth College

Home address: 1103 East 2nd Ave. Monmouth, IL 61462

Thomas H. Watkins, Professor of History, Western Illinois University

Home address: 815 Memorial Drive Macomb, IL 61455

NOTE: The leaders academic affiliation is provided simply for purposes of identification. This tour is in no way associated with either Monmouth College or Western Illinois University.


Dates: June 14-30, 2002. We carefully chose a date after the end of the academic year in the hope that ICC members would join the tour

Cost: $1845 per person, based on a group of at least 20 participants and double occupancy of rooms. Does not include lunches, personal items, or shopping. Single supplement amount upon request

Services Included: [a] Air fare, from Chicago to Istanbul and return from Ankara via Istanbul to Chicago. [b] shuttle, airport-hotel. [c] First-class hotels at all overnight stops: private baths, A/C, breakfasts and dinners at the hotels. [d] Private A/C coach outside Istanbul. [e] Admissions to museums and sites. [f] native Turkish guide, Mrs. Gulum Obruk who worked with Watkins in 1997

Payments: must be made by May 15, 2002.

For a fuller description and brochure, contact either of the two Toms. This description was edited to fit the Augur and is not to be relied on for a description of what is included.



The tour emphasizes places in western Anatolia which were of great importance in Greek and Roman mythology and history, from the Troy of the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid around 1200 BC to the Constantinople of the Roman emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD. Anatolia probably had more Christians than any other part of the Roman world until after 300, and the environment of the early church is the secondary theme of the trip. We will visit four cities prominent in Christian beginnings: Ephesus, Pergamum, Laodicea, and Antioch -by-Pisidia. Istanbul and Pergamum have many remains of the Byzantine period, and Justinian built a huge church to enclose the supposed tomb of St. John the Evangelist outside Ephesus.

No country on earth has more fascinating layers of history than Turkey, and we will seek to appreciate its unique development. Located at the intersection of the Muslim and Christian worlds, Turkey has long straddled two cultures. It was the heart of the Byzantine Empire and thus the Orthodox Church until the Ottoman Turks brought Byzantium to an end in the 1400s. Ever since, Turkey has constantly interacted with western civilization, for almost 500 years as the Ottoman Empire and since the 1920s as a secular, western state. Bodrum was a major stronghold of the Christian crusading order the Knights of Rhodes in their centuries-long war against the Muslim Ottomans.

The two most important non-ancient cities on our itinerary are Istanbul and Ankara. The former was called Constantinople for almost 1000 years until it fell to the Ottomans in 1453. It was then renamed Istanbul and served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire until its collapse after World War I. It is still by far the largest city of Turkey. In the 1920s Mustafa Kemal, better known as Ataturk, shifted governmental offices to the obscure central Anatolian town of Angora and restored its Roman name, Ankara. It now has well over a million residents and is home of the world-class Museum of Anatolian Civilization and the combination museum and mausoleum of Ataturk. Perhaps the most moving site of the trip is the battlefield of Gallipoli, where a Turkish army defeated a British Imperial force in 1915. (To get an idea of the battle, rent the video of the movie "Gallipoli.")


Friday, June 14: flight from Chicago to Istanbul; arrive Istanbul Saturday 15th.

Sunday and Monday, June 16 and 17: Istanbul. Over the two days we will see Justinians Hagia Sophia (the St. Peters of the Orthodox tradition); the Hippodrome; the 16th century Blue Mosque, nearly as magnificent as Hagia Sophia and roughly contemporary with St. Peters in Rome; the 5th C city walls; the cavernous 6th C cisterns; Topkapi Palace, residence of the Ottoman Sultans; the archaeological museum. Cruise on the Bosporus; visit to the bazaar/spice market.

Tuesday, June 18: Drive to the battlefield of Gallipoli, often regarded as the birthplace of modern Turkey and a moving site; ferry across the Dardanelles and spend the night at Çanakkale.

Wednesday, June 19: Three stops. (1) Several hours at Troy; (2) briefly at Alexandria Troas; (3) the scenic town of Assos, where Aristotle lived for several years in the 340s BC. Night at Bergama.

Thursday, June 20: full day at Pergamum. Full day at this city of enormous historical importance and scenic beauty. Pergamum was the center of a kingdom which passed under Roman rule in 133 BC. It was one of the "7 churches of Asia" in Revelation, the altar to Zeus probably the "throne of Satan".

Friday, June 21: From Bergama to Selçuk, by Ephesus. Stop at a carpet factory nearby. Quick visit to the 6th C basilica of St. John and the house of Mary. The basilica and Marys house were the Chris tians effort to co-opt the nearby immemorially ancient sanctuary of Artemis.

Saturday, June 22: full day at Ephesus, capital of the Roman province of Asia, another of the " 7 churches of Asia" and the third largest city in the eastern Mediterranean, behind only Alexandria in Egypt and Antioch on the Orontes in Syria. St. Paul spent about two years here and finally left after causing a riot by his preaching in the great theater (Acts 19). Return to hotel at Selçuk.

Sunday, June 23: Drive along the coast with a photo stop at Karina at the mouth of the Meander; visit Priene for two or three hours. On to Didyma, site of an immense temple to Apollo. To Bodrum.

Monday, June 24: Full day at Bodrum, once Halicarnassus: perhaps the most picturesque site of the trip, home of Herodotus; visit the castle and museum of underwater archaeology; good shopping. Hotel at Bodrum.

Tuesday, June 25: Drive to Pamukkale near the ancient healing springs of Hierapolis. Spend night there. (Drive by Stratonicea and Laodicea on the way.)

Wednesday, June 26: Easy drive from Pamukkale to Aphrodisias, with lunch along the way. This is the city of the goddess of love, so everybody will want to see it in some detail. Back to Pamukkale for the night.

Thursday, June 27: Striking scenery as we drive by way of ancient and biblical Colossae (cf. the letter in the New Testament) to Sagalassos (extensive ruins) and to Egridir for the night.

Friday, June 28: Three stops punctuate a day of much driving. (1) Antioch-by-Pisidia, where Augustus established veterans in a colony in 25 BC and which St. Paul visited on his first journey ( Acts 13.13-52); (2) Lunch break at Afyon. (3) Brief stop at Gordium, home of the legendary Midas of the golden touch and where Alexander cut the famous knot in 332 BC. Arrive Ankara early evening.

Saturday, June 29: Full day at Ankara. Teachers of Latin appreciate the Temple of Rome and Augustus, where a copy of the Res Gestae survives (the lost original was on bronze tablets flanking the doors of Augustus mausoleum in Rome). Museum of Anatolian Civilization; the memorial to Ataturk.

Sunday, June 30: return flight, Ankara--Istanbul--Chicago.

This material was posted on the web by Professor Thomas J. Sienkewicz of Monmouth College.
If you have any questions, you can contact him at