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Ancient word puzzle found in Smyrna

A word puzzle composed of Greek words running top to bottom and from left to right has been found on the wall of the basilica in the market place of the ancient city of Greek Smyrna (Turkish İzmir).

Ancient word puzzle found in Smyrna
Ancient word puzzle found in Smyrna
Some of the graffiti found on the walls of the basilica in the Agora of Smyrna [Credit: AA]
“It looks like an acrostic [[inscription]]. The same words are written both from top to bottom and left to right in five columns. The word 'logos,' which is located in the center, is on the third column,” said the head of the Smyrna agora excavations, Akın Ersoy.

Ersoy said it is hard to totally make sense of the crossword since there are also names of people featured in the crosswords. "There are scientists and historians who claim that the Christian community of the time was heavily pressured by the Roman authorities, and they invented these kinds of crosswords to communicate among themselves. However, we consider this as just a crossword because it's very out in the open. There should have been stalls in front of these walls since this was a market place. This finding gives us a clue about how the sellers of the time entertained themselves during their spare time in the market place."

The agora (market place) was the heart of one of the most important Greek harbour cities in Asia Minor. Archaeologists have discovered numerous descriptions of ships, the natural habitat of the city and gladiators on the walls. As Ersoy indicated, love poems written on the walls have also been discovered during the excavations.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [October 08, 2016]

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