Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another Large Temple

Another reference to a temple, this time, in or near the old town, is contained in Al-Mas-udi's work as related by Guy LeStrange. By its height it sounds like the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus that was on the Acropolis.

"At Antakiyyah, on a hill within the city walls, is an ancient temple of the Greeks. At this place the Muslims have constructed a watch-tower from whence guards, continually posted here, can spy out any who come by sea or by land from the Greek country. This temple of old the Greeks held in great veneration, and made their sacrifices therein. It was ruined by Constantine the Great, the son of Helena, who propagated the Christian religion. The place was at that time filled with idols and statues of gold and jewels of all kinds. Others affirm that the temple in question stood in the city of Antakiyyah to the right of the present Jami' Mosque. This was a great temple also, and the Sabaeans report it to have been built by Saklabiyus. At the present day, in the year 332 A.H., there is at this place the Suk (or market) of the armourers and lance-makers. Thabit ibn Kurrah ibn Karani, the Sabaean of Harran, who went to (the Khalif) Al Mu'tadhid in the year 289 (902), visited this temple and showed great veneration for the same, and what we have said above comes from him. " (Mas., iv. 55.)"

This, like the Zoroastrian shrine, has an interesting set of identifiers by being placed in such close proximity to the Jami' Mosque. However, Jami just means mosque! So which one? Again we have the vague reference to the "right" side of the mosque. By Saklabiyus do the relaters mean Seleucus in some garbled repetition of the tale?


Then as before we can refer to Barbier du Meynard's translation:

"L'un était à Antioche, en Syrie, sur une montagne comprise dans l'enceinte de la ville et entourée d'un rempart. Les Musulmans ont construit sur le même emplacement un poste d'observation, d'où les vigies surveillent les mouvements des Byzantins sur terre et au large. Ce temple était en grande vénération , et l'on y célébrait des sacrifices; il fut détruit lors de l'apparition de l'Islam. D'autres prétendent qu'il fut démoli par Constantin le Grand, fils d'Hélène, cette reine qui propagea le christianisme. Il était rempli de statues et d'images en or, en argent et en pierres précieuses. D'autres soutiennent que c'était un vaste édifice qui s'étendait à gauche de la grande mosquée d'Antioche. Les Sabéens en attribuent la fondation à Saklabious, En la présente année 332 de l'hégire, cet emplacement est connu sous le nom de « bazar des marchands de lances et de cottes de mailles. » Tabit, fils de Korrah, fils de Kerana le Sabéen, originaire de Harrân , s'étant rendu auprès de Môtaded-billah, l'an 289 (de J. C. 863), pour réclamer l'ennuque Waçif, vint visiter ce temple avec la plus grande vénération, et donna les détails qu'on vient de lire."

Here the temple is to the left of the mosque, not the right as LeStrange has it, and the mosque is specified here as being the Grand Mosque. However the Grand Mosque is down by the river. The temple in the French version was also surrounded by a rampart, a feature not mentioned in the English version, which might also suggest the Acropolis. We note (from Weulersse) that there was a quarter (Sakkakin) of the knife makers (couteliers) which was separate from the souq of the same trade. The latter was down by the riverside with the other souqs.

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