Having had enough of modernity, my agenda today included a formal inspection of the Hagia Sophia—the famed Byzantine church-turned-mosque-turned-museum known for the innovative architectural feature known as a dome. Construction of the cathedral, which occurred between 532 and 537, was ordered by the illustrious Emperor Justinian and overseen by Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. I wanted to see for myself the quality of its upkeep at the hands of the Turkish government.
To my horror, I noticed a distinct lack of interest in conserving the one-of-a-kind mosaics (such as the Δέησις mosaic from 1261) in the Hagia Sophia. Thus, I voluntarily searched all throughout Istanbul for art conservation supplies, finally locating them at a nearby hardware store. (Which reminds me, I must see if the Turkish government will reimburse me, since I had no choice but to pay out-of-pocket on such short notice). I utilized my knowledge of thirteenth century Christian iconography to meticulously return the piece to its former glory. I'll allow my restoration efforts to speak for themselves:
|A freshly-restored Deësis mosaic|
Truly stunning beyond mere words.
As I exited the building, leaving behind shrieks of delight (fellow visitors having finally encountered my noble effort to preserve such an amazing monument to human ingenuity), a member of the Rodentia order happened to cross my path. I bravely let our a war cry and pursued the filthy vermin. At last, I had the creature trapped in a corner. Down upon its vile cranium fell the mighty trowel!
"You know," came a high-pitched voice from nearby, "that was an Asia Minor spiny mouse, a highly endangered species."
I looked about for the source of the voice, whereupon a ragged, one-eyed cat sauntered into view. It proceeded to consume my quarry until only its thin tail hung from the cat's mouth. The feline slurped up the tail as one would a spaghetti noodle.
|The mysterious one-eyed cat|
"Then I have indeed done the nation of Turkey a great service," I answered. "Thanks to my efforts, there is one less plague-bringing mouse to continue the species."
"I think you've missed the point," said the cat.
"Indeed! I have yet to inquire as to your name."
"I don't have one, as far as I know. I'm sort of the information center's unofficial pet, but they've never bothered to call me anything other than 'cat.' Its quite disrespectful to act that way around nobility. I wouldn't even come here if it weren't for the free food."
"Nobility?" I raised an eyebrow incredulously.
"I'm the reincarnation of King Priam of Troy"....
To be continued.
To be continued.