King Midas and the Golden Touch

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Turkey  , Antalya,
Monday, October 27, 2008

Deb, the boys and I decided to head out of the city for the day... so we picked a destination about an hours drive... Gordius... the famed capital city of the ancient Phrygian kingdom. Only in Turkey can one head out to spend the day taking in ancient remains that are steeped in more history than can initially be fathomed... Gordius is the site of King Midas of the Golden Touch... the tale that many children around the world are told... as to the dangers of greed...

It is also the site of King Gordius and the Gordian Knot... yes, the knot that Alexander the Great could not undo... so sliced through with his sword... fulfilling the prophecy of becoming the ruler of the known world... It also happens to be the site of one of the oldest mosaic floors ever found...

an ancient site of a Celtic community... yes, the Celtic peoples... that finally settled and thrived in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland... it also contains the site of the world's second largest burial site... the Tumulus of King Midas... maybe... archeologist can not agree upon this yet... as well as around 90 other tumulus mounds with only half to date being excavated...

The site was amazing... beautiful... in a strange and starkly rugged way...Driving through the remote countryside to arrive at the site required undulations through the rural hills of Turkey... a land of tiny villages and nomadic farming families harvesting crops of onions and potatoes...

The boys loved getting out and running around the ancient palace grounds... yes, a pile of ruins... with a few towering entrance walls... but a mysterious site... only slightly excavated... Deb enjoyed getting out of the city... and into the fresh country air... and I... well... I would give up years of my life to step back in time... so whenever the opportunity is made available to do so... with the help of ancient fragments... I effortlessly slip into worlds of old...

I have included two famous stories from the site... that continue to be spun and woven into our modern culture... so as to keep the history alive... or refresh the stories we heard in our youth...

King Midas and the Golden TouchKing Midas was a very kind man who ruled his kingdom fairly, but he was not one to think very deeply about what he said. One day, while walking in his garden, he saw an elderly satyr asleep in the flowers. Taking pity on the old fellow, King Midas let him go without punishment. When the god Dionysus heard about it, he rewarded King Midas by granting him one wish. The king thought for only a second and then said I wish for everything I touch to turn to gold." And so it was.The beautiful flowers in his garden turned toward the sun for light, but when Midas approached and touched them, they stood rigid and gold. The king grew hungry and thin, for each time he tried to eat, he found that his meal had turned to gold. His lovely daughter, at his loving touch, turned hard and fast to gold. His water, his bed, his clothes, his friends, and eventually the whole palace was gold.King Midas saw that soon his whole kingdom would turn to gold unless he did something right away. He asked Dionysus to turn everything back to the way it had been and take back his golden touch. Because the king was ashamed and very sad, Dionysus took pity on him and granted his request. Instantly, King Midas was poorer that he had been, but richer, he felt, in the things that really count.

King Gordius and the Gordian Knot
Dionysus then rewarded King Midas' kindness towards Silenus by helping him become King of Phrygia, which was ruled by King Gordius. This ruler had no children of his own and he immediately took a liking to Midas, so he adopted him as his own son. When Gordius died Midas took over the kingdom.A note here about King Gordius, for his is a fascinating story. Born to poor peasants, Gordius one day was startled to see a royal eagle perched comfortably on the pole of his ox-cart. No matter where Gordius drove the cart all morning, the eagle seemed determined to stay put. Interpreting this as an omen, Gordius decided to drive his team towards the nearest city, Phrygian Telmissus. He knew that there was a respected oracle there and he hoped that this seer would explain what the majestic eagle signified.However at the gate of the city he met a young prophetess, who upon seeing the royal eagle atop the ox-cart, insisted that Gordius immediately offer sacrifice to Zeus, King of the Olympians. She beseeched Gordius to let her accompany him and together they rode past the gates into the city, but not before Gordius made the young woman promise to marry him following their sacrifice to Zeus.Meanwhile, the King of Phrygia had suddenly died with no discernible cause, and the local oracle had pronounced that the city's new King was "approaching with his bride, seated in an ox-cart."Sure enough just then Gordius and the young prophetess entered the market place and the people rejoiced at the arrival of their new King. The royal eagle that was still majestically perched on the cart confirmed in their minds the legitimacy of the oracle's words, and loudly Gordius was acclaimed King of Phrygia.In gratitude, Gordius dedicated the cart to Zeus, together with its yoke, which he had fastened to the pole in a mighty knot.

An oracle then declared that the person who discovered how to untie the knot would become the lord of Asia.

For centuries nobody was able to achieve this impossible task, until finally Alexander the Great, during his mission to conquer the world, simply took out his sword and with a great blow sliced right through the Gordian Knot...Fulfilling the oracle's prophecy, Alexander became the lord of Asia and the ruler of the world.
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