Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday, June 9th, Saranda, Albania


For all of you who crave a challenge of imagination, try to guess where this land is.

"Butrint and its religious sanctuary lay in the territory of the Praisabes tribe, who were part of the Chaonians – one of the confederations of people who occupied the region of Epirus.

At this time, the principal town in the region was Phoinke immediately to the north of Lake Butrint.  Phoinke played an important role in the rise of King Pyrrhus (318-272 BC), who invaded Roman lands in Italy.  His victories against the Romans were so costly, they ultimately led to his defeat and the phrase “Pyrrhic victory”.
Phoinke was later conquered by Teuta, Queen of the Illyrians, in circa 203 BC.  Subsequently, the Romans led by Aemilius Paulus, conquered Epirus in 167 BC, and enslaved much of its population."

Except for the reference to Pyrrhic victory, I would have sworn this was so full of strange placenames and people that it must have been out of a new video game.  Not true.  We visited Butrint, the most popular national park in Albania, and were amazed at yet another archeological resource on par with any we've seen.  Virgil and Dionysius both wrote about it as having been founded by survivors of the destruction of Troy. 

Throughout much of its ancient history, Butrint functioned as a religious center, dedicated to Aesclepius, god of healing.  Visitors would sleep within the precincts of the temple, hoping for a dream or vision, that would guide them to a cure for their ailments.  Priests and physicians performed rituals to interpret the dreams and supply the medicines prescribed.

Poor internet access last night prevented the posting of Thursday's photos, so to see our two-day travel down the Albanian riviera, click on:

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