It’s a shame that the sum total of my classical education is derived from laborious Latin translations so long ago now that all I can remember is that there were always centurions left behind to guard the baggage. I feel at a bit of a disadvantage now that we’re in Greece and there are references to Philip II and Hellenism and agoras that leave me trailing behind feeling I was away that lesson.
On the other hand, though, I have been to places that knock today’s excursion destination into a cocked hat. We drove from Kavala to Philippi, and had the first session of this cruise with piles of old stone. There’s an amphitheatre there, and forum, and rows of random rescued blocks of weathered marble, some carved, some not. There are fluted columns, some pretty mosaics, a latrine and hypocaust, and a road. Now, that last one was impressive: the Via Egnatia, a Roman military road that was in use for 17 centuries. That’s a lot of feet. No wonder the marble was shiny.
But for the rest? Well, when you’ve already been to Ephesus… Other passengers were impressed; when, though, later on this cruise they see the theatre there, and the one in Kusadasi, and the triumphal ways, they’re going to forget all about Philippi.
St Paul came this way, so that was significant for some people, of course; and we went to the reconstructed Baptistry where Lydia was the first person in Europe to be baptised (and where people old and young are still being dunked) which again meant something to them. But for me, the best bit about today was the canine escort we had through the ruins.