Torget i Smyrna / Izmir

Den tyrkiske storbyen Izmir byr på historiske stadar knytt til antikk historie og dermed også til bibelsk tid. Byen heitte på den gong Smyrna. Den er nemnt i Johannes Openberring (2,8-11) og den er også elles vel kjent frå den første kristne tid, ikkje minst gjennom historia om biskop Polykarp som blei martyr ca år 155.

Artikkelen The Agora at Izmir, skriven av Ben Witherington på Beliefnet, presenterer det imponerande torget som er grave fram i byen. Artikkelen har gode bilete frå det store utgravingsområdet og har også med generelt stoff om torget (agora) i greske byar i antikken.

Her er eit utdrag:

The visitor is immediately impressed with the size and scope of this place, with its many columns, arcades, shops.  Here was the jumping off place for slaves from the eastern part of the Empire about to be sold, for business persons returning from Rome, for grain freighters,  ambassadors, soldiers, and ordinary families or individuals on the move— such as St. Paul or  John of Patmos.

Women and slaves came here in the morning to take water from the natural spring (pictured above). They came here to buy bread or olive oil or vegetables for the day. In the ages before refrigeration, you had to shop frequently for food.  But the agora was not just the supermarket of its day.

In the agora there would be the exchange of ideas, not just the exchange of goods.  Consider the story of Paul dialoguing with the Stoics and Cynics in the agora in Athens.  Here the politicians and rhetoricians and philosophers debated the issues of the day. People did not spend their days in their tiny homes or flats, they were public people and almost all life functions happened out of doors.  Orators were often the entertainment for the day in an age before TV, movies and at a time when only the more well off could afford to go to the Odeon and see a Greek drama. (Les meir)