At Jerash today, we saw a re-enactment of Roman soldiering, gladiators fighting, chariots racing, guards playing bagpipes – and yours truly singing – and I got most of it onYouTube!
That’s right boys and girls, I went ahead and paid the big bucks for the hotel bandwidth, in part to secure the video and pictures captured since the 2nd onto a server I’ve got setup – but also to punch up some Picasa photos and YouTube videos for your enjoyment.
But first a little background. After all, you have to eat your dinner before desert, and you don’t get videos until you get a bit of history. In this case some of the history of the “Pompeii of the Middle East or Asia” – otherwise known as Jerash. More accurately too as no volcano undid this magnificent discovery of Roman ruins. Enough to see to fill at least a 1 or 2 gig memory card (trust me, I know).
There are two approaches, ours taking us by the Hippodrome, or the Circus Jerash. Here you can buy tickets to a re-enactment show run by a retired Swede living out his childhood dream.
At first I thought it was going to be a bit hokey, but along with the showmanship – some history and ancient how-to was explained and demonstrated – making it something I would recommend seeing. Just bring some water and filter for your camera lens as the sun can get a bit high, hot and toasty. That said, here’s a little tidbit I captured with mySanyo Xacti digital recorder:
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1wiVbOtqls&autoplay=0 425 350]
Hopefully can see through the YouTubey graininess that no small amount of detail was spent on the uniforms – not I did not say costumes; in keeping with the buckets of history one can enjoy here. Speaking of history, did you know that recent excavations show thatJerash was inhabited during the Bronze Age and Iron Age (3200 BC – 1200 BC)? And that the Romans ‘absorbed’ Jerash into the Arabian District – making it part of the Decapolis around 90 AD and building all the neat stuff I got a glimpse of today – like the Temple of Artemis as seen in the video below:
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_tZHY7yzBQ&autoplay=0 425 350]
As you can tell, I love this stuff (almost said ‘dig this stuff’). One place I was hoping to get back to was the Large South Theater, one of the largest in-tact Greco-Roman amphitheatres we have today. It is complete with the tunnels, the seats, the staging – and an acoustic sweet spot that I just had to try out:[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtqREfPC6qM&autoplay=0 425 350]
Sorry about going sharp there on Dvorak’s rendering of the 23rd Psalm form his work 10 Biblical Songs (how embarrassing). The acoustics were so hot, that I found the sound was bouncing back at me, mixing pitches with the ones I was hearing on the iPod. Well that, and how much vocal color can one seriously expect to capture with the very tiny microphone embedded in the Sanyo Xacti VPC E1 (in yellow)?
As credits go, that band behind me is not my normal backup – but rather a group of bag pipers and drummers who normally entertain there – though I did not see their act back on ’04. I also find the selection of instruments a bit odd, wondering if lutes and lyres weren’t more in order considering the era represented by the surrounding structures.
Knit-picking aside, I hope I made this little history lesson a bit less painful. But for you gluttons for punishment – I’ve provided more to explore at the blogJordan Wiki under the obvious category of ‘ Jerash.’
Picasa pictures incoming as I sleep (getting every penny out of this bandwidth I can). Some even surprise me in terms of quality and atmosphere – the evening sun bathing the limestone and marble in a warm orange glow.
Tomorrow the Citadel – and with it pix from the Temple of Hercules!
Oh hey, before I turn in: a BIG shout out to Diana Scimone who was kind enough to link up my blog on hers: DianaScimone.com.by