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Amphitheatre in northern Turkey to be excavated

The last amphitheater of the northern Anatolian region will be unearthed in an excavation in Turkey’s province of Tokat. The amphitheater is located just east of the historic castle of Zile, a city with a long Roman history and battle that prompted Roman Emperor Julius Caesar’s famous phrase, “veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered).

Amphitheatre in northern Turkey to be excavated
The remains of the Graeco-Roman amphitheatre
 at Zile in Tokast [Credit: AA]
Zile Mayor Lütfi Vidinel said Zile was home to many ancient castles. He said that the Roman people had built meeting places in the shapes of amphitheaters, as “these meeting areas are half-rounded places with steps.”

Vidinel said they had been working on these areas and applied to the Culture Ministry’s Directorate of Museums for further excavation help. He said beginning the excavations would be a long process, adding, “We have applied to start excavations in the area. We hope to unearth the part of the amphitheater, which now lies underground … Some legal regulations need to be completed. We set to start excavations in the amphitheater by the end of 2015 or in the beginning of 2016.”

Vidinel said the city’s hopes to increase the number of tourists in the region by using the amphitheater “just like the previous civilizations did in the past,” presenting concerts, plays, and other entertainment in the old arena.

According to historical documents, Caesar waged a bloody battle against Pharnaces II in Zile’s region of Altıağaç. Although both sides suffered losses during the battle, Casesar turned it into a quick Roman victory, thus inspiring the words “veni, vidi, vici,” sent via letter to the Roman senate. He also built a stone tablet and inscribed these words upon it.

In 2012, the municipality of Zile announced the acquisition of a 10-year Turkish patent license for Caesar’s famous saying. According to Vidinel, it took two and a half years to acquire the patent.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [July 03, 2015]

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