Today’s social tools, like facebook and Twitter, help keep people in touch with each other in ways that are sometimes astounding. But people of our time might be equally astounded to learn how ancients kept in touch. Of course they chatted along the streets, in the bars and in the public meeting places, just as we do.
But they also chatted in the public rest rooms. Talk about the weather and politics would have gone hand in hand with performing basic body functions. Men and women, rich and poor and old and young would have sat cheek to cheek (sorry, but I had to use that expression) in bathrooms much like this.
Where are we in this photo? This is the well-preserved Roman city of Ephesus, where the apostle Paul lived and worked. Ephesus is in modern day Turkey and was a stop on our 10 day cruise of the Greek islands. My students are good natured about posing on the ancient toilets. But they were a bit embarrassed. I hope that making this moment public doesn’t further embarass them.
Incidentally, this blog post goes out to my first block world history class, whom I am teaching about blogging and RSS feeds. The first person in that class to post a response to this blog gets to take the iPad home for a day or two!