Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rhodes (1)


Situated in the same island chain as Kos, it was a quick cruise
to Rhodes whilst skirting the coast of Asia Minor all the way.
Entering the harbor, I remembered all those years back when
I made a short stop at Rhodes on my way to a Praetorian

The city of Rhodes was situated on the northern part of the
island, abutting the harbor. I made inquiries where the Stoa,
the Stoic school, might be located. One of the pier hands
gave me directions, but they took me to the wrong school.
I ended-up at the School of Rhetoric, which is famous
throughout the Empire. Nice to see, but it was not where
I wanted to go.

Eventually I found my way to the Stoa which, after all the
trotting around, turned out to be not far from the harbor.
After finding lodgings nearby, I was glad that we were going
to be close to the sea. I was told as the warmer months
encroach, the island of Rhodes would really become hot--
especially inland. The best spot to keep cool was right
where I was situated.

Rhodes referred to itself as the "Island in the Sun," what with
nearly constant sunshine all through the year. It was also no
wonder that Helios was the patron god of Rhodes. Helios
was a personification of the sun, oft depicted driving his chariot
across the sky each day. It was easy, but not correct, to connect
him with Apollo--another sun god.

So it was no wonder that in Rhode's marketplace I found a
myriad of jewelry devoted to Helios, including his representative
sun disks. Laughing to myself, I thought "why not?" Then and
there, I bought a small sun disk pendent in order to make my
recent Asclepeion dream more of a reality.

I had a few weeks before the Stoa at Rhodes resumed for the
coming year, so I bided my time by touring the island and its
other towns. It was a pleasant place, though more rocky than
Kos. And I was to discover its wonderful wines and fruits.
Fresh fruit is something that cannot be transported, because
it decays quickly. So you have to eat it where it can be found.
Lucky me! Rhodes abounded in all sorts of fruits that I gulped
down while relaxing on hillsides looking towards fields and
fields of grape arbors.

But my short pleasure-taking came to end. The Stoa was ready
for business, so I busied myself determining what lectures I wished
to attend as well as selecting a mentor. But even before I was to
delve into any specific Stoic teaching, it was highly recommended
that I attend some background lectures on even earlier philosophical
teachings actually evolved some 500 years back. It turned out there
was a lot of serious Greek philosophy long before Socrates, Plato,
and the Stoa!

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