Most of us have heard the story of King Midas, granted the “gift” of turning anything he touched to gold, an ability he thought wonderful until his food, drink, and finally his daughter, were turned to gold. Fortunately, Dionysus (giver of the gift) let Midas off the golden hook. Washing in a certain river took away this deadly gift.
Although the golden touch is a myth, there was a King Midas in ancient Phrygia, located in today’s Turkey. In 1957, a Penn University archaeologist and his team discovered an almost 3,000 year old tomb known as the Midas Mound and likely the tomb of Midas’ father. I recently visited the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’s exhibit “The Golden Age of King Midas” during the free museum day in Philadelphia. That meant we were able to get into the museum free (a $15 savings per person) and into the special exhibit for $5/person, a savings of $15/person! The only thing I regret is that we didn’t go much earlier so we had more time to spend in the museum as a whole.
This is what the mound looked like “back in the day.” The excavation trench can be clearly seen and the man in the middle is, I believe, Penn University archaeologist Rodney Young.
This is a model of what part of the pre-Midas citadel might have looked like before fire destroyed in around 800 BC.
Just a few of the goodies found inside the tomb, a discovery as great as that of King Tut’s tomb, albeit not, ironically, so golden. As some of these exhibits were behind glass, please excuse light reflections.
I love this gigantic cauldron and the little men lounging around the edge, although I have to admit that it reminded me of all those men in the swimming pool singing “Viva Viagra.” Anyone remember that ridiculous commercial?
A delicious link between ancient Phrygia and the modern world. 🙂
Cheers! Part 2 airs early Sunday morning on the “This, that, and the other thing” station.