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Sanctuary of Augustus

Already since the first excavations carried out in Pisidian Antioch in the early 20th century, the ruins of a semicircular structure hewn into the rock and almost at the centre of the archaeological site, attracted immediately the interest of the archaeologists.

The site was first excavated in 1913 and the ruins were considered as to belong to a temple, an Augusteum,1 though the reasons for this identification were not clearly explained. According to descriptions from those times, the temple consisted of a pronaos and a cella, while an artificial terrace was to the west, accessible through a wide stairway.2

The excavations continued in 1924 and significant observations were made on the location where the building remains were found as well as on the letters inscribed on architectural members, which used to help in the correct assembly of the building.3 Modern excavations started in 1982/1983 by S. Mitchell, whose research is the main source for the following description of the sanctuary.4

2. Architectural Description of the Sanctuary

2.1. Foundations and Superstructure of the Temple

The largest part of the temple’s foundations has survived hewn into the natural rock, while two layers of grey limestone have been preserved from the foundations of the pronaos. However, the interest is focused on the underground part of the cella, which includes a vaulted structure measuring 7.95 × 5.54 m, with a maximum height in the middle that was less than 2.50 m. According to K. Tuchtel, this underground structure served as an adyton, while S. Mitchell identifies it with a storage area.5

The temple was of the Corinthian order and stood on a high podium. A 12-step stairway (total height about 3 m) led from the precinct level to the prostasis of the temple. A smaller stairway of 3 steps probably led from the pronaos to the cella.

The temple is approximately 19 m long and 10.10 m wide.6 The number and the exact position of the columns at the pronaos has been debated by scholars. However, it seems that it was a tetrastyle or hexastyle temple. The preserved architectural remains provide information about the dimensions of the pronaos (7.70 m deep) and the cella (about 12 × 10.10 m), as well as about the general appearance of the temple’s superstructure, which has the typical features of Roman temples, such as a high podium, a deep portico and a stairway on the facade.

The cella walls were probably up to 5.5. m in height. A relief frieze adorned with acanthus leaves ran all the way round the internal upper part of the walls. A part of the frieze, which may have occupied a central position on one of the narrow sides, possibly to the west, depicts a winged female figure emerging from leaves.7

The dedicatory inscription of the temple has not survived. An inscription from the Julio-Claudian years (14-68) carved on an epistyle and maintaining part of the imperial title probably belonged to a different architectural structure of the sacred complex.8

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Anıl

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