Lower Agora Nymphaeum

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In early 2nd century AD, under the reign of Trajan (98-117 AD), the first monumental nymphaeum of Sagalassos was built on the north side of the Lower Agora. It was the first large fountain greeting travelers entering the city from the south via the colonnaded street. In Severan times, the façade of the Trajanic phase was partly dismantled and a new one - identical to the former - was erected ca. 0.40 m in front of it. The space in between was left open and likely became a narrow service room. A large part of the original architectural members composing the water basin and the columnar elevation were reused, whereas new entablature blocks were carved, as indicated by their style. The nymphaeum, excavated in 2000 and 2001, was found in a rather good state of preservation.

Both façades followed almost exactly the same plan, consisting of a straight wall animated by nine niches alternatively curved and rectangular in shape. In front of this rear façade, a rectangular water basin was arranged. The northern (older) façade has been preserved over a length of 18.80 m, after the removal of its easternmost niche. The Severan façade was originally composed of nine niches, of which the easternmost was removed at a later date as well. The preserved length of the façade is of 19.05 m. The single-storied columnar elevation was supported by a ca. 1.20 m high lower podium. The podium projected at regular intervals to carry a row of single columns topped by projecting entablature sections. The single drawing basin was 19 m long and 3.20 m wide, and was limited a ca. 0.90 m high limestone parapet.

A rather heterogeneous statuary assemblage was found in the debris of the nymphaeum. Depictions of an unidentified goddess in the type of Hera Ephesia and a Tychè could have belonged to the original building phase, whereas two small Nikè statues were clearly Severan in date and, consequently must have been carved for the new façade, likely as acroteria (roof ornamentation). The presence of Nikè statues in the decoration may have been linked to the recent eastern victories of Septimius Severus or one of his successors.