“Three Deities,” Andrea Mantegna, 1500, WikiArt.

Part 3: Holy City of Mara’nan

Eyes adjusting to darkness at cave entrance,
Aprilia entered with Galen, priestess-greeted,
Maze passages, stairway ascending towards
Mountaintop, opened to temple sanctuary,
Illuminating light beams, oculus openings
To sky and sun, columns, niches, archaic
Languages inscribed, originating during
Dark or bronze ages, divine, wisdom, and
Religions entwined, gods and heroes, men
And women alike, prophets and messengers,
Each blessings bestowed: healing, prophesy,
Teaching, representations of deific mortals.

Thus, was hillside Cypriot City of Mara’nan,
Protected harbor, cottages, villas, gardens
And peristyles, places of learning and study,
Amongst them as student, adolescent Galen,
Son of Historia and wisdom, for him, time
Knew no bounds, scripture on ancient papyri
Recited until memorized. Yet, Aprilia or his
Mother, Sophia, was equally immune to sands
Of time, as were all residents, age-renewing
Effects of water, air, and soil, absence of all
Aging, illness, or disease. Indeed, Mara’nan
Was holy city sequestered by the gods.

Concealed but to elite amongst them, Portal
Of Historia was preserved, ancient posts and
Lintel, god-erected before creation of man,
Misty passageway from ethereal to earth,
Statue flanked, men and beasts admixed,
Source of guidance, oracular messages, lips
And tongues too cryptic to interpret, messages
Equally blessed as accursed. For this, young
Galan studied and trained, as prophet was
Ordained, living portal of Historia, all events
Past and present, tempered by wisdom his
Mother, Aprilia-Sophia, bestowed.

“Dido,” Andrea Mantegna, 1500, WikiArt.

“Mother, whispered to I am by ancient
Deity before pillars and portal of Historia,”
Advised Galen. “Creation god, Mara’nan,
Of whom this city is named. Through the
Portal I may pass freely, recasting destinies
As gods decree. Nothing is written until
Penned in ‘Book of Life.’” Clutching his
Mother by her shoulders, Galen peered
Into adoring eyes. “City is illusion, crumbled
Foundations at harbour’s edge, portal of
Intersecting times, from which there is no
Escape unless you can leave. By your love,
I found my place amongst the stars.”

Fictional Holy City of Mara’nan is partially based on the ancient City Kingdom of Marion as found in “City of Gold: The Archaeology of Polis Chrysochous, Cyprus,” edited by William A. P. Childs, et al, Princeton University Art Museum, 2012.
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