Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Temples

The historical texts are bursting with mentions of the many and various shrines of the pagan ascendancy in ancient Antioch. However, at this time the ruins of only one of these establishments is known. That is the massive temple structure evident on aerial photographs of the Island from the 1930s. Despite its uniqueness and accessibility, it is not known what deity it pertains to or where it meshes with the historical sources. It is depressing to think that we have better evidence for the shrines of fourth-rate provincial outposts than we do for the religious hotbed of Antioch.

In cataloguing the temples, the task must needs be scattergun as the information is so confused, contradictory or vague. So this chapter must be regarded as a work in progress where we shall add snippets as we go along accumulating them.

Ares: Morey claims that the Temple of Ares was near the Parmenios and located near the "Middle Gate", somewhere in the vicinity of the Forum of Valens. The temple contained a bronze statue of the Fortune of Rome in an apse and one of Caesar in the open space at the centre. Surely this temple must have been the same as the Temple of Mars, with whom Ares was interchangeable?

Stinespring's translation of the Arab text from the Vatican includes the following: "And when the time and the horoscope were correct they fell to the construction. And the architects made their beginning at the temple named after Mars situated east of the Arch of Fishes; and they held a fine festival of him (Mars) and planned (to repeat) it every year in his honor." Exactly what is "east" in this context is not clear as the points of the compass were liberally interpreted in the ancient texts. The Arch of the Fishes is disputed in Margoliouth's review of Guidi's translation. He prefers to call it the Bridge of the Fishes.

Jupiter Capitolinus: this temple was on the acropolis and was supposedly built by Tiberius (according to Sartre quoting Downey quoting Malalas). Livy in his History of Rome states: "A magnificent temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, which he (Antiochus Epiphanes, so much earlier than Tiberius) promised to build at Antioch, of which not only the ceilings, but all the walls were to be covered with plates of gold, and many other edifices which be intended in various places he did not finish, as his reign was short." We elaborate further on a possible site for this in another post.

Dionysus: Sartre uses the same source(s) to mention Tiberius building a temple to Dionysus. The location is unknown. Morey refers to Tiberius building a sanctuary to Dionysus and Pan. Lassus also netions this and sites it behind the theatre.

Zeus: Morey speaks of Diocletian building to this god. He also speaks of Tiberius building a temple to Zeus. According to Lassus, Antiochus IV placed a statue of Zeus Nikephoros in that god's temple. Beow can be seen a coin struck in Antioch that includes a statue of Zeus, seemingly standing in a grotto. Holm reports that Alexander IL Zabinas (also Zeb-), 128-123 B.C., plundered the temple of Zeus in Antioch and struck, evidently from the proceeds, gold staters with the image of Zeus Nicephorus.

Zeus Philios: accoring to Lassus

Zeus Olympios: according to Lassus.

Zeus Keraunios: according to Boucher this was in the "older" settlement of Iopolis that stood higher up the slopes of Mt Silpius and was eventually combined into the enlarged city fo Antioch.

Asclepius: Morey refers to Domitian building a temple to this god.

Nemesis: Morey speaks of Diocletian building to this god

The Muses: otherwise known as the Museion. According to Lassus, this was near the agora of Epiphania, was founded under Antiochus Philpator, burnt under Tiberius, reconstructed by Marcus Aurelius and then under Probus, embellished under the Empress Eudoxia in 438 AD. Constantine converted it to use as the prefectory of the comes Orientis but it was burnt down in a riot of the Green faction on the 9th of July 507.

The Pantheon: Lassus claims Augustus restored this building. Boucher claims that Julius Caesar had found it in a state of ruin and repaired it and replaced its altar.

Aphrodite: according to Lassus was located near the amphitheatre of Caesar,

Artemis: noted by Lassus. Boucher says in his work "...ascribed to the Assyrian queen Semiramis. When Cambyses and his wife Meroe encamped here on his way to Egypt with the Persian army, they found the roof falling in through age. The queen asked Cambyses to have it repaired, and the king raised its height, adding an enclosure large enough for a religious festival named from Meroe, a celebration still retained in Roman times. The queen set apart some estates for the upkeep of the temple, which may actually have preceded the foundation of the city, and established priestesses to serve it. The interior was furnished with Persian splendour, equipped with thrones, couches, and bows all of gold."

Athena: noted by Lassus

Calliope: the patron "nymph" of the city according to Lassus

Heracles: according to Lassus

Io and Kronos: on the slopes of Mt Silpius, according to Lassus, giving its name to Iopolis

Tyche: the goddess of the city, according to Lassus. The famous statue may have been housed here or in a special columned canopy (baldachin) type structure. Below is an example of a particularly fine Antioch minted coin of Trebonius Gallus. Many of this mints coins during this emperor's reign show the Temple of Tyche. All are very similar with the arched baldachin and the four columns (we have seen them termed Ionic in some scholarly texts, though this image appears to show Corinthian). So the texts correspond with the coins implying that, if accurate, the Trebonius coins may be the only extant images of an Antiochene temple.


Boucher states in reference to Seleucus' initial building activities at Antioch: "when the materials of Antigonia were shipped down the Orontes to Antioch, the Fortune of that city, a bronze figure holding a cornucopia, was also transferred, and placed in an open-air shrine, or tetracionium, with a lofty altar in front".

Isis: Holm reports that Seleucus IV. had built an Iseum in Antioch

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