Hogarth at Ipsus

David_HogarthI have started David Hogarth’s A Wandering Scholar in the Levant, his episodic account of his travels in the near east.

In Chapter 2 DGH quotes from his diary entries to show that the life of a wandering scholar is not, as some believe, ‘a disguised holiday’.

One of the entries concerns the occasion he came to Ipsus, south-central Turkey – scene of the last great diadoch battle (for more details see my post here).

July 4th. – We are at the head of the valley of the Phrygian Lakes, down which Cyrus marched with his ten thousand Greeks on the way to Cunaxa. Here lies the site of Ipsus, and the great battle of 301 B.C., in which the greatest of the Successors, Seleucus, won Alexander’s heritage from old Antigonus, [and which] was fought probably on the grassy plain over which we rode to-day: two mounds near Chai perhaps conceal the slain.

I recovered enough strength to-day to begin a rough route-map with prismatic compass and dead reckoning of pace. Such surveying is an irritating occupation at the best of times. If the compass reading is to approach accuracy, it cannot be taken from the saddle. You must dismount twenty times in a morning. If a horse be left loose he will sidle off the track to browse and get bogged; if you slip your arm through his bridle, he jerks it up just as the needle was about to come to rest. He declines to stand to be remounted; the ill-girthed saddle slips round unless you throw your heel over like lightning, and agility is not one’s strongest point when weak and stiff from a malady hardly cured*.

So we crossed but slowly to Chai, and turned down beside, rather than on, the high road to Konia; everyone seems to go beside and not on this road, which is grass-grown, its bridges rotten and often disconnected from the embankments. A little village came in sight on the flank of the mountain, and we turned up to examine it in hope of finding relics of Ipsus; but no sooner had we arrived there than B**. was seized with violent shivering fits, and it became patent that we must stay where we were for the night.

We repaired to the village guest-house, and a weary afternoon has ensued for me, who became the centre of a crowd of gaping rustics, B. lying torpid the while, and a wearier evening, for no food appeared until nigh ten o’clock, the headman’s wife having long protested that she would not cook for giaurs***.

* Hogarth had been suffering from a fever
** H A Brown, Hogarth’s travelling companion
*** Derogatory term for a non-Muslim

Picture:Phaselis Birikimi

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