Temple of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius

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The Temple of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius was an extremely visible monument within the town of Sagalassos: the promontory upon which it was built is an obvious landmark in the landscape, dominating the whole valley below it and visible for miles away in the territory. Together with the nearby Alexander hill, it was also visible from almost everywhere inside the town proper. The temple was dedicated to the emperor Antoninus Pius, the imperial house and the Divine Hadrian under whose reign its construction started, and to the ancestral deities, as could be determined by the building inscription. Until the late 4th, early 5th c. AD, the temple would remain the major sanctuary for the Imperial cult.

The sanctuary possessed an east-west orientation. The sacred precinct consisted of a courtyard, measuring 68.80 by 46 m, which was surrounded on all four sides by an Ionic portico and was accessible through a propylon in the west temenos wall. In the axis of the courtyard stood a large Corinthian peripteros of 6 by 11 columns, measuring 26.80 by 13.80 m, facing west and built on a krepidoma. It consisted of a deep pronaos, with two columns in antis, preceding a rather short naos. The fluted columns of the peristasis carried an entablature that consisted of an architrave, surmounted by a frieze block with scroll pattern, and a cornice, putting the roof at a height of 6.95 m. The gables at the eastern and western side rose rather steeply and formed a tympanon of ca. 2.60 m high at the centre.

The sanctuary was not a freestanding structure but the core of an agglutinated complex, possibly comprising shops and/or a service area with facilities for storage and cooking. The temenos area must also have been decorated with many small honorific monuments, including statues for emperors, priests of the imperial cult and victors in games dated between the middle of the 2nd and the middle of the 3rd c. AD.

The slabs of the sanctuary courtyard, and also the altar, have probably been removed when the sacred precinct went out of use at some time during the late 4th or early 5th c. AD. On top of the substrate, a thick fill of occupational and architectural debris was deposited, thus creating a construction level for a first encroachment phase in the second half of the 5th c. AD. Small structures were arranged inside the portico and the temple courtyard. On top of this, a second, early 6th c. encroachment phase was registered. These structures were partly re-using the walls of the older encroachment phase. Unlike the first encroachment, this occupation of the promontory extended beyond the temenos wall. These later structures were largely built with rubble but also incorporated blocks from the sanctuary and parts of the honorific pedestals once standing within the temple temenos. In addition, the inhabitants of the city had also started to dismantle the temple for reuse in new buildings, such as basilica E1 where several frieze blocks of the temple have been identified. Other blocks from the temple were incorporated in the surrounding fortification wall which can most likely be dated to the late 7th or 8th c. AD. A recent analysis of ceramics found at the sanctuary indeed suggests that the promontory was reoccupied in the Early Medieval period.