Antonine Nymphaeum

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The Antonine Nymphaeum was located along the north side of the Upper Agora. Excavated in 1994 and 1995, the monumental fountain is currently undergoing a complete anastylosis. Erected in the Middle Antonine period (ca. 160-180 AD), the nymphaeum consisted of a single-storied pi-shaped façade composed of a straight central section framed by two lateral projecting aediculae. The overall length of the façade was of ca. 27 m, for a maximal width of ca. 4 m. The height of the monument was estimated around 7.80 m. The elongated water basin was inserted between the two corner aediculae. It was closed at the front by a ca. 1,20 m high profiled parapet accessible via two steps. Carefully paved with limestone slabs, it could contain 81 m³ of water.

The Antonine Nymphaeum was a rather baroquely ornamented building. The coffer blocks originally covering the tabernacles and aediculae bore theatre masks, Medusa heads and male bearded figures depicted into diamond-shaped frames and surrounded by fishes and various vegetal motifs. The pilasters framing the three central niches were adorned with vertical thyrsos staff motifs, whereas Medusa heads in high relief adorned the four pediments crowning the tabernacles. The figural architectural decoration seems to refer to both the hydraulic nature of the monument and to the Dionysiac character of the statuary decoration. The two masterpieces of the large ensemble of statues and inscribed statue bases retrieved from the remains of the building were two larger than life-sized groups depicting Dionysos and a Satyr. Displayed in the two lateral aediculae of the façade, they are the only remnants of the original statuary program. In the late 4th or early 5th century AD, statues depicting Asklepios, Koronis, Nemesis, Apollo, an unidentified male figure and possibly also the goddess of sanitation Hygieia were re-used into the central tabernacles and recesses of the façade, together with a series of non-matching inscribed bases. The coherent group of statues likely originated from the former Temple of Apollo Klarios in the lower city. The reused inscriptions were related to the family of P. Aelia Ulpiana Noè, the wife of Ti. Flavius Severianus Neon, the most prominent benefactor of Sagalassos in the first decades of the 2nd century AD. This apparently conscious display of a consistent ensemble of bases related to one single family suggests that the fountain was at that time rearranged as a sort of family memorial.