Saturday, August 11, 2007

Update: Ephesus, Miletus and the Ancient Aegean Coastline

In an earlier post, I talked about how the silting up of the Meander river left the ancient port of Miletus high and dry 14.5 km from the Aegean Sea, in much the same way that the ancient harbour of Ephesus is now nowhere near the sea. But I couldn't find a good map that showed what the ancient coastline looked like. Now I have.

On a recent visit to the University of Saskatchewan library, I stopped to consult--and then came back to photograph--the page in The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World that shows how the shoreline around Miletus has shifted over the centuries. This first map shows the shoreline as it existed in the late antique period (ca. 300-600 CE). As always, you can click on the picture to see a larger image:

The second map shows Miletus as it existed in the Hellenistic and Roman periods (up to 300 CE) on the tip of a peninsula:
And for the sake of comparison, if you click on this satellite map you can see where Miletus lies in relation to the coastline today:

This was my first experience with the Barrington Atlas, and I was blown away.

I've added it to my amazon wish list in the sidebar just for fun. The price tag almost seems reasonable when you consider that the atlas took twelve years and cost 4 million dollars to produce, but at $350, it is still well out of my range--especially for a book I would only consult from time to time. For now, I'll keep dreaming I'm content to use the library's copy.
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