Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Middle Gate

The Mese Pyle (or Middle Gate) was a gate that stood above the Forum of Valens. It was reputedly built by Trajan, though this may have been a reconstruction. Maurice Sartre describes it as an "architectural arch" but there is some evidence to suggest that the city had a wall running along the mountain above the city but not at the mountain ridge (such as the later Theodosian Wall did). Thus a wall ran parallel to the Colonnaded Street but only a few blocks to the east of the main street. In which case this would have been a genuine city gate. Downey also calls it a monumental arch.

Uggeri speculates that this gate led to a rugged route up the valley of the Parmenios river and over the ridge (before the building of the Iron Gate dam made the route impassable). This led to Apamea by a more direct, but much more topographically challenged, route than that which went out the Beroea Gate and followed the Orontes to Apamea the long way.

The Mese Pyle has not been found and there are very few mentions of it in historical texts. One of these references though is from Malalas who records that it was adorned with a statue grouping of the Wolf & Twins (which also decorated the Beroea Gate according to the same source). Morey states that the Middle Gate was near the Temple of Ares, but does not say what source attested to that comment.

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