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Archaeological Museum, Old Rhodes, 2023
I got confused between the downstairs exhibit of the palace, which was off limits for the evening, and the actual archaeological museum (the Hospitaller hospital, which still looked a lot like the castle, but was on the other side of the Old Town.)
My visit was rushed, but the archaeological museum has plenty of atmosphere of its own as a space, and a lot of funerary art.
Rhodes got a couple of turns of being the regional power. But by the 6th century BC, the power was elsewhere.
So when Athens was pioneering black figure pottery, the museum archly notes that Rhodes was importing the worst of the good Athenian artists, and the best of the bad ones.
And when Athens switched to the more expressive red figure pottery style, at the end of the 6th century, Rhodes kept buying the old fashioned black figure stuff for another couple of decades.
As you would expect of somewhere that was no longer where it was at…
Not that I’m enough of a connoisseur of the genre to tell the difference. I’m still astonished they can identify different pottery artists without a signature, just from what they drew.
Hence, for example, “the Cleveland artist”. Bet he never saw that name coming…
You could tell the museum wasn’t as fascinated by their Crusader holdings — they didn’t bother to transcribe any of their funerary inscriptions, for example, like they did for the ancient Greek ones. The subtext in a couple of labels was “some dead Westerner, whatever”. I didn’t see any material culture from the period here either, like coins or buttons or mirrors, just slabs of marble.
But even though I had seen all the suits of armour around the Old Town, the tombstones and heraldic signs (often recycling ancient marble) did hold my attention. I still wasn’t fully expecting them here.
The random couple of English knights represented here were a very long way from home.
And since the museum wouldn’t transcribe his tombstone, I will Google it.
This blurred photo is better rendered in Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pefkosmad/9135496823.
It’s the tomb of Thomas Newport, †1502: https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/newport/292/
HIC JACET THOMAS NEWPORT PORTUS ACTIE MILES O- OBIT 1502 xxii DIE M–SS SEPTEMBRIS CVM ANIMARE QVII SCAT-N PACE AMEN 150-.
At the bottom is quite the jolliest skull, seeming to be in conversation, and two crossed bones.
A transliteration of the tombstone that makes a lot more sense comes from an 1865 publication (originally penned as a letter in 1853), back when the tombstone was still immured.
Charles Thomas Newton, 1865, Travels and Discoveries in the Levant:
It is curious that in the tower of St. Mary, assigned in both sieges to the English, the marble tombstone of an English knight may yet be seen built into the walls. It bears the following inscription:—
HIC JACET . FR. THOMAS
NEWPORT . PODATUS .
ĀGLIE . MILES . Q̄I . OBIIT
1502, XXII. DIE . MĒSIS
SEPTEMBRIS . CVIVS . ANIMA
REQVIESCAT . IN . PACE
Here lies Brother Thomas Newport, foot-soldier (?)* from England, who died in 1502, on the 22nd day of the month of September; and may his soul rest in peace, amen.
The tombstone was in the museum by 1928 (Italy’s Aegean Possessions).
My note: podatus turns up online as a Gregorian music note, “the footed” (usually pes “foot”). I’m guessing miles podatus is “foot-soldier”, but I’m not certain at all; it does not appear to be a common expression.
From this inscription it appears that there were two knights of this name about the same period. The one was Turcopolier in 1500, and died in 1502, as we see by this inscription. The other was Bailiff of Caspe and Cantaniera, and also Bailiff of Eagle (in co. Line.) in 1513. He was sent at the close of the year 1517 into England to entreat aid against the Turks. Having obtained some assistance, he was returning to Rhodes, when he was driven by a tempest back to the coast of England, where he and his followers perished in August, 1552. Three original letters from him to Cardinal Wolsey,’ in 1517, are preserved in Cotton MSS., Otho, C. ix.
The 1885 Dictionary of National Biography refused to believe they were two different people. From Googling, it seems to be the only source that did.