Passing Notes & Shakespeare Plays

Along the Datça peninsula, we nestled into the tiniest bay off the shores of what remains of the crumbling Hellenic city of Knidos. To say we nestled in there, is actually to say that, with much consternation, we wrestled for a spot to anchor where we wouldn’t swing into other boats crowded inside the bay. 


After having successfully done so—three tries later—we were rewarded with views of the crumbling ruins of an ancient seaside town just off our decks. Not much is left here, but one can imagine the wealthy coastal city of Knidos was an excellent place to live in its heyday. 


In its prime, its sloped hillsides offered stunning panoramas of the Aegean Sea to every windowed building, its beautiful promenade-like streets were likely abuzz with trade, wine presses busy filling clay vessels, and baked Turkish summers were made bearable by cooking its populace along its beaches. 


Knidos was also home to the very first and very scandalous statue of a naked woman, thanks to the Greek sculptor Praxiteles. His nude Aphrodite brought visitors far and wide.  As if all these attractions weren’t enough, Knidos boasted not one, but TWO theaters overlooking the bay. 


Inside the theater, we chose some seats and tried to imagine what it would have been like to watch an evening performance on warm summer evening blanketed under the thick summer heat. Welcome breezes blowing in from the coastline must have been refreshing. 


Mark and I are no strangers to theaters.  We’re both from a small Oregon town with a spectacular Shakespeare festival. As kids, our English teachers would drag us to the theater several times a year to see plays we could barely understand. But all these years later, I had a dim recollection that Knidos was mentioned in the play Julius Caesar. So I looked it up—and sure enough it was. It turns out, a small character, Artemidorus, was a real, actual native of Knidos. In the play, he writes a note to warn Julius about a plot against his life. Funny the things you remember.


Artemidorus is hardly remembered by most, even Shakespeare only gives him three speaking parts in his entire play. But he actually has the most important message in the play, which he writes in a note and hands to Julius and tells him to read it. But it never gets read. This note, warning him of an assassination plot, may have saved him, but Julius paid it no attention and we know how that ends. 


Thankfully, our not paying attention on school field trips had far less drastic consequences. Though it would have been quite something to have had someone passing a note to us back in the day, warning us to pay better attention to those boring Shakespeare plays because it may have some relevance in our futures. Although we likely would have ignored that like Julius did. 


If we’d have known, while sitting all those years ago in our hometown theater, completely bored out of our gourds, that someday we’d be sitting in Artemidorus’ hometown theater in Knudos…our ten year old selves might have been a tad bit more attentive. 

This is my new friend Sarah, she’s “five-and-three-quarters.” We made fast friends and thought we’d take the time to mark the moment with a selfie.


Sarah and her family are off on a grand adventure, touring the world for the next nine months. Today Türkiye, tomorrow Paris. 


This girl knows how to make friends on the fly wherever she goes. The world is yours Sarah!

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