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"Temple of Diana", Augusta Emerita



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File:The so-called Temple of Diana, Emerita Augusta (40302423280).jpg

Municipal building belonging to the city forum. It is one of the few religious character which is preserved in a satisfactory state. Despite its name, wrongly assigned in its discovery, the building was dedicated to the imperial cult. Built in the late 1st B.C. century or early in the Augustan era.


Construction

The rectangular temple stands on a 3.23 m high podium covered with regular-cut ashlars. It is a peripheral temple with six columns on its front elevation (18.5 m) and eleven columns on the longer sides (32 m). The columns have a fluted finish and are eight meters high. Nothing remains of the original roof.

The temple columns stand on a 3.23 m high podium

All the elements are from granite, sourced from various local quarries around Mérida. Originally, the stone elements were stucco-covered however, today, only a few traces of stucco remain on the ashlar stones.

At the entrance to the temple was an altar for the offering of sacrifices. Inside was a statue of Diana (sister of Appollo) with a deer and armed with a bow and arrows. Dianna was a skilful hunter and the protective goddess of hunters.

The temple of Dianna is in an exceptional state of conservation, mainly because for centuries, the temple served as the foundation and framework for the Renaissance palace of the Conde de Los Corbos. Parts of the palace remain well preserved and are still standing. I found it interesting just how close the palace walls were to the original columns. They certainly used all the available space!

The Conde de Los Corbos palace built within the framework of the original temple. Note the way the walls are built around the columns.


The Temple of Augustus

In 1835 the Real Junta Particular de Comercio de Barcelona commissioned the architect Antonio Celles, together with Mariano de Cabanes and José Arrau, to study the remaining columns of this structure. There were then still six columns standing: five oriented on a NE–SW line and one on a NW–SE line. After measuring and studying the columns, Celles made nine test pits to verify his hypotheses on the shape and orientation of the temple. He concluded that the temple was Carthaginian in origin his report is now housed in the Biblioteca de Catalunya. The epigraphist Fidel Fita (1875) first suggested that the temple was rather of Roman origin, dedicated to the tutelary gods of the colony and the house of the flamines Romae divorum et augusti, so relating it to the imperial cult.

Puig i Cadafalch et al. incorporated in their works (1909 1934) the information from Celles’ report: they suggested a reconstruction of the temple based on this and on the few remaining drawings made by Celles. Puig i Cadafalch (1936) also catalogued some decorative elements of the temple deposited in the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya. Henceforth, Celles’ plan became a key element in the studies of Roman Barcino, for the most part in relation to its urban arrangement and, in particular, to the reconstruction of the forum (e.g. Balil 1964 Beltrán de Heredia 2001 Puig 2009). Gutiérrez (1991) studied the decoration of the temple and placed its erection in the last quarter of the first century AD. He attributed it to a local workshop that seems to have incorporated both contemporary ideas practised in Rome and local preferences.

The remains

The remains of the temple at 10 Paradís Street today consist of four complete columns with their architrave and part of the podium of one of the corners of the structure. The column located at the northern extreme has been recreated from the remains of several others originally belonging to the temple they were transported to this spot in 1956. The material employed for the construction of the temple was a local sandstone from Montjuïc Hill. According to Celles’ report the structure was, at least partially, plastered over. The podium (Fig. 2) displays an external face made of large regular blocks with a filling of opus incertum, and it reaches one third of the height of the columns including their base and capital. On its top a cyma reversa can still be delineated.

Figure 2. Image of the podium of the temple. Photograph by Núria Romaní.

The bases of the columns (Fig. 3) are of the Attic type. They sit directly on the stylobate without any plinth. The columns’ shafts are formed by drums (the lowest one forming a single piece with the base), with 20 flutes separated by small flat fillets. The capitals are 1 m high and of the mixed Corinthian type, a combination of the Italic Corinthian and the Classic Corinthian (Gutiérrez 1991, 99), decorated with stylized acanthus leaves that are arranged in three tiers. Those on the second level protrude slightly over those on the first. The uppermost level hides the volutes, which are scarcely developed.

Figure 3. Image of the columns of the temple. Photograph by Núria Romaní.

The preserved part of the architrave is flat: each of its component blocks spans the gap between a pair of columns. Although no part of the frieze remains in situ, elements of the temple’s cornice decorated with plant motifs have been preserved. The soffit was ornamented with coffers and corbels the entablature ends with a cymation. The cyma was decorated with lion heads, which acted as water-spouts (Gutiérrez 1991, 99). The roof was probably gabled, as is standard practice for this type of building.

The diameter of the columns ranges between 1.18 and 1.26 m and that of the bases between 1.54 and 1.60 m. The space between the columns differs according to which side of the temple is involved: those on the NW–SE axis have a distance of around 1.7 m between them, while the intercolumniation of those oriented NE–SW equals 2.19 m. The bases of the columns and the style of the capitals both point to an Augustan date for the temple’s construction. These elements were first employed in Italy towards the end of the republic but they continued in use under Augustus, mainly in neighbouring Gallia Narbonensis (Gutiérrez 1991 Mierse 1999, 110). Nowadays the temple is considered to be one of the earliest Roman buildings in the Augustan foundation of the city, together with the first city walls (Rodà 2007, 748).

Although it had been traditionally claimed that the temple was dedicated to Hercules or Jupiter (Bassegoda 1974), the currently accepted hypothesis is that it was dedicated to the imperial cult (Balil 1964, 93–5). This last was important in Barcino during the second century AD, according to epigraphic evidence (Rodà 2004, 315–19).


The shape and orientation of the temple

The traditional orientation of the temple is determined by the remains at 10 Paradís Street: these belong to its easternmost back corner. However, these remains are in fact open to two different interpretations: hypothesis A, proposed initially by Celles, according to which the plan of the temple has its longer axis oriented NE–SW, and hypothesis B, our new interpretation, which places the longer axis on a NW–SE alignment. The acceptance of the A orientation has been key in shaping the temple's plan so far. This is so because, on the assumption that the temple was hexastyle peripteral in plan, the distance between the remaining columns was multiplied by five for those on the NW–SE axis and by ten for those on the NE–SW. However, since the intercolumnial distance is greater for the latter set, the A orientation results in a remarkably elongated temple plan, not seen in any other example of the period.

In the following sections, we describe in detail both hypotheses, analyse the data on which they are based, and consider the temple plan reconstructions that they imply.

Hypothesis ‘A’: Celles' interpretation

Despite his belief that the temple was a Carthaginian work, in his report Celles followed Vitruvius (4.5.1) in suggesting that it should be oriented towards the west: he proposed a hexastyle peripteral plan. He then described the results of the nine test-pit excavations (Fig. 4) that he conducted to prove this hypothesis. In each of the excavations, Celles documented the presence of the diverse elements of the temple corresponding to his proposed hypothesis although he did not provide any further details.

Location of Celles' excavations. Drawing by H.A. Orengo.

However, georeferencing Celles' proposed plan and integrating it into a GIS environment allows a direct comparison with Garriga Roca's highly accurate maps of the area:1 1 A topographical map of the inner city (scale 1:250, 1856–58), a topographical-geometrical map of Barcelona and a reformation project (produced from the former in 1861).
certain problems are at once highlighted. As indicated in Figure 4, the columns were preserved in walls dividing different houses, but most of Celles' excavations were conducted inside the living areas of houses on Paradís Street: test pits ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘f’ and ‘i’. The street level of the time varied between 16.9 and 15.3 m and the podium surface (above which the different elements found by Celles would have been located) was at a height of 18.7 m. Thus, if the podium surface level had been preserved, the habitation level of the houses would then have been around 2.7 m higher than the street level, a discrepancy which seems unlikely. Another problem revealed by the recent accurate referencing of these excavations is that some of the tests are seen to be positioned over the walls of buildings (e.g. Figure 4, test pits ‘a’ and ‘e’), which would surely have prevented or limited the excavation at these points.

Hypothesis ‘B’: a right-angle turn

A series of data drawn from different sources is evaluated here: it points to a NW–SE orientation of the temple, i.e. one standing at 90 degrees to that proposed by Celles.

Documentary data

J. Pujades was the first to draw and describe the temple in detail as early as 1595 (Fig. 5). Six columns then remained, with part of the cover and some friezes. Pujades also drew the bases of four columns that had disappeared by the nineteenth century when Celles made his report. Three are situated in the south-western part of the temple, including those of the columns forming the southernmost corner of the temple. He also drew one column base on the north-eastern side of the temple. The description and drawing of the temple made by Pujades ( 1829 , Book 1, 85), 240 years before Celles' report, show a hexastyle temple oriented NW–SE.

Reconstruction of the state of the temple in 1595 according to J. Pujades. Drawing by H.A. Orengo.

Archaeological data

Recently, two new archaeological excavations were conducted in the area around the temple. Both of them were very small rescue excavations, restricted to zones where lifts were to be installed, but the data they provided still allow significant insights.

(a) The excavation at 5 Paradís Street (Fig. 6) revealed some remains of Roman origin (Marín 2007 ). Two aligned and well-cut blocks of Montjuïc sandstone were revealed: they are 83 cm long and 35 cm wide, oriented NW–SE. Attached to their north-eastern side was a mass of rudus, composed of uncut stones joined by concrete, which is seen as the filling of the temple's podium. One interesting aspect of these blocks is that they preserved remnants of blue- and yellow-painted plaster on both their upper surface and their south-western side. The height of the upper surface of the blocks is equal to that documented there for the remains of the temple. They are also similar in material and size to those documented at the base of the temple's podium at 10 Paradís Street.

Plan of the excavation at 5 Paradís Street. Adapted from Marín 2007 .

Both blocks and rudus were georeferenced and integrated into the GIS project. Both their location and orientation coincide with the south-western limit of the podium of the temple, according to the B orientation (Fig. 7). The presence of rudus on the north-eastern side of the blocks can thus indeed be interpreted as the inner filling of the temple's podium.

Orientations A and B with the location of archaeological finds in Paradís Street. Drawing by H.A. Orengo.

The presence of blue- and yellow-painted plaster on the blocks (also documented in the preserved part of the temple) indicates firstly that these blocks were on the surface and visible, secondly that they formed part of a public building, and thirdly that they were not meant to be a surface to be trodden on. Very few examples exist of Iberian Roman temples that preserve remains of pictorial decoration. However, some fragments of lively colours, such as red, have been recovered from the temple of Jupiter in Caparra and in the Capitolium at Baelo Claudia (Abad 1982 , 435–7). Further, both the temple of Diana in Emerita Augusta and the temple of Augustóbriga still retain a coating of plaster on some parts of the columns and capitals (Mierse 1999 , 71, 109).

(b) The excavation at 12 Paradís Street (Puente 2005 ) recorded a structure fashioned with lime mortar and covered with opus signinum hydraulic mortar. This feature, at 2.21 m long by 42 cm wide, was set 1.08 m below the modern level of the street: it was oriented NE–SW. The opus signinum hydraulic mortar extended for 1.40 m in length, and was 44 cm wide and 10 cm deep. The structure continued beyond the north-eastern limits of the excavation. Both its north-western and south-western sides were destroyed when the modern building was constructed.

As with the finds at 5 Paradís Street, the excavation at number 12 was georeferenced and integrated into the GIS. As a result, the hydraulic structure is verified as potentially related to the temple, if hypothesis B is accepted (Fig. 7). It was located some 38 cm lower than the base of the temple and 35 cm lower than the blocks documented at 5 Paradís Street. This structure would run at a distance of 46 cm south-west of the podium and parallel to it, again as reconstructed in hypothesis B. Though a full excavation was impossible, the presence of the hydraulic feature in this position is consistent with the presence of a lacus or pool surrounding the temple (Orengo and Miró 2013 ). The existence of pools surrounding temples has been documented in the few other well-studied temples in the Iberian Peninsula: the temple of Diana in Évora (Hauschild 1991 ) is surrounded by a lacus, and the temple of Diana in Emerita Augusta (Álvarez and Nogales 2003 ) has a pool at each of its sides. Further, the temples of Carteia (García and Gómez 2009 , 219) and Écija (García-Dils et al. 2007 ) present evidence for cisterns or pools at the rear of the temple. Given the height difference (35–38 cm) between the walking level of the holy precinct or temenos and the surface of the hydraulic structure, this last would seem to have been a pool rather than a cistern, probably in an arrangement similar to that at the temple of Diana in Évora.

Figure 8 presents a hypothetical reconstruction of the plan and section of the temple, according to the B orientation, following the archaeological evidence provided by the excavations at Paradís Street.

Hypothetical reconstruction of the plan and section of the temple following the B hypothesis and the archaeological data provided by the excavations in Paradís Street. Drawing by H.A. Orengo.

Typological comparison

The only two other temples of similar date in the Iberian Peninsula where enough standing remains allow a reliable comparison are the temples of Diana in Évora and in Emerita Augusta. Both temples are thought to be very similar in terms of their plan and concept (Mierse 1999 , 101, 107), sharing a hexastyle peripteral plan, as has also been proposed at Barcino. Peripteral temples are rare in Roman contexts but some examples of similar chronology exist, such as the Temple of Minerva on the Aventine and the Temple of the Dioscuroi in the Roman forum, both reconstructed during the Augustan period (Mierse 1999 , 98).

The temple of Barcelona is necessarily hexastyle peripteral: the preserved colonnade belonged to one of the back corners of the temple and not to the main façade, which could have displayed free-standing columns even if it was not a peripteral temple. This corner therefore belonged to the back of the temple, and to propose otherwise would imply a forum awkwardly placed in the city's plan. It is also a logical assumption to consider the temple as hexastyle, as there were five columns standing on one of its short sides. As all known Roman temples have an even number of columns on their shorter sides, this leaves a minimum of six columns for this temple. The next increase in column numbers would mean a temple with eight columns on its short side: such a pattern would be both too large for the elevated space where the temple stands and, further, would displace the temple from a central axial position with respect to the city's decumani.

The plan of the temple proposed for the B orientation hypothesis would result in a podium size of 31.69 by 19.1 m. These measurements would closely correspond to the so-called ‘golden ratio’, of 1.618. The golden ratio is also present in the proportion of the plans of the temples at Emerita Augusta and Évora: for the temple at Emerita Augusta it works out at 1.675, for the temple at Évora 1.6. The equivalent value of the B orientation for the temple at Barcino is 1.66.

The plan of the temple, according to the A orientation hypothesis, is currently thought (Puig 2009 , 9) to have measured 35 by 17.5 m (i.e. 1 actus by 0.5 actus, following the proportions recommended by Vitruvius), which would result in a proportion of 2.18. Other reconstructions of the temple, following Celles, vary between 35.7 by 16.44 m in the plan made by the city's museum in 1992, and 37.85 by 17 m in the plan published by Beltrán de Heredia ( 2001 , 99). In fact, Celles' measurements were made in a unit in use during the nineteenth century (namely a ‘foot’, corresponding to 27.86 cm): this, when translated into metres, gives a temple of 34 by 15.6 m. Figure 9 shows a comparison between the temples of Barcino (both A and B orientations), Emerita Augusta and Évora. The difference in proportions between the A and B orientations is starkly evident.

Typological comparison between the different hexastyle peripteral temples of the Iberian Peninsula. Drawing by H.A. Orengo, adapted from Hauschild 1991 .


Temple of Diana, Augusta Emerita - History

This is the only religious building remaining on its original place at Merida. It was built at the end of the 1st century b.C. and is a great construction on the Municipal Comitium. Therefore it should have been a model of luxury and decoration. This temple was probably devoted to Augustus Emperor worship, not to Diana, as can be understood from the many sculptorical elements found. They represent persons from the Imperial family: the divine Emperor himself and the Genius of Senate.

The temple has a rectangular plan with a hexastyle portico -with six columns-, surrounded by new columns peripter . They have a groove trunk , and are crowned by corinthian capitals. They were finished with stucco and painted with a color of red marble. Placed on a basis or podium 3 m. high it could be reached through stairs that did not survive.

It is 40,70 m. long -including access stairs- and 22 m. wide.

It was the center of a sacred area surrounded by a peribolus or wall for limiting outer space for this square.

There should have also existed a pool and many canals. Joined to the rest of remainings, they give a good idea of the religious importance of the temple.


Temple of Diana in the Roman colony of Emerita Augusta (present day Merida)

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Temple of Diana, Augusta Emerita - History

At the beginning of Summer, the city of Mérida offers you the opportunity to be a witness (or, preferably, an actor or extra) of scenes from everyday life in the Roman world, getting to know their way of life by using the original scenery that makes up the best-preserved and most complete collection of archaeological monuments of Hispania: Emerita Augusta.

This activity makes us revival the great ruins of the old city, open the monuments to the public and show them in an educational and cheerful way. In this sense, the organization takes care of all the historical details plots, scenes, dresses, object, messages, scents, flavors.

Emerita Lvdica (lvdi = games) takes this name in order to remind us of the festive atmosphere that accompanied the games of the capital of Lusitania, attracting people from all the country. Gladiator challenges are fought, rites are celebrated in the Temple of Diana, the Forum becomes full of life, recreating scenes from the everyday life of Emerita Augusta, the Legionaries enter via the city's Roman bridge, camping at its gates, where they do training exercises, and there are continuous recreation of daily life in a Roman town. The program also consists of conferences, theatre, readings of classic test…This is a pleasant cultural product for all the family which open the active involvement of the public with the attitude of enjoying and reviving the history.

Besides, other activities as The Roman Gastronomic Route Sentia Amarantis, takes placed in those days Pubs in the city are decorated in roman style.

This activity is organized by Mérida city hall with the help of the Monumental Consortium, Regional Government, Roman Museum, and the Provincial Administration.

XI edition: from October 19 to 25, 2020

At the beginning of Summer, the city of Mérida offers you the opportunity to be a witness (or, preferably, an actor or extra) of scenes from everyday life in the Roman world, getting to know their way of life by using the original scenery that makes up the best-preserved and most complete collection of archaeological monuments of Hispania: Emerita Augusta.

This activity makes us revival the great ruins of the old city, open the monuments to the public and show them in an educational and cheerful way. In this sense, the organization takes care of all the historical details plots, scenes, dresses, object, messages, scents, flavors.

Emerita Lvdica (lvdi = games) takes this name in order to remind us of the festive atmosphere that accompanied the games of the capital of Lusitania, attracting people from all the country. Gladiator challenges are fought, rites are celebrated in the Temple of Diana, the Forum becomes full of life, recreating scenes from the everyday life of Emerita Augusta, the Legionaries enter via the city's Roman bridge, camping at its gates, where they do training exercises, and there are continuous recreation of daily life in a Roman town. The program also consists of conferences, theatre, readings of classic test…This is a pleasant cultural product for all the family which open the active involvement of the public with the attitude of enjoying and reviving the history.

Besides, other activities as The Roman Gastronomic Route Sentia Amarantis, takes placed in those days Pubs in the city are decorated in roman style.

This activity is organized by Mérida city hall with the help of the Monumental Consortium, Regional Government, Roman Museum, and the Provincial Administration.


Fashion Abejita

Such a beautiful outfit! Looks so pretty and perfect on you!

Hola linda, que maravilla de viaje y paisaje, tu tan guapa como siempre y tus leggins super chulos.

Oye cielo hay un concurso interesante por si te quieres animar. Info en el blog "pero no lo hace mi blog, yo solo hago parte del jurado, mas que nada es por si te quieres animar".

Rome is so beautiful, the temple is so well preserved, such amazing articture
Those leggings are so pretty
Keep in touch
www.beingbeautifulandpretty.com

Well, it's not Rome but almost :P
Thank you :)

Stvarno je impozantan hram. skoro bi mogao proći pod novogradnju :) Genijalne fotkice , a ti si šećer - šećer ondje! Tajice su stvarno super pogotovo za kombinacije kad želiš da ti bude udobno a da opet budeš stylish! :) Pusam

Pa da, prava novogradnja :) Hvala ti puuuno! :)

Hram je predivan, a outfit mi se mnogo sviđa. Pantalone izgledaju super!

Muy bonita ,la camiseta es preciosa ,y hermoso lugar . besos

Amazing pants Tijuana! You look great!
XO
Jeanne
http://fashionmusingsdiary.blogspot.fr

you look very pretty!! lovely pics and outfit

Dear, I’d like to say that your blog is awesome! And everything is amazing! I like your design, your photos and your style! Your outfits deserve separate attention!)

will be happy if you find a minute to visit my blog)

Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Diana. I really appreciate it! :)

love the sunnies! :) I'm following*

My blog: http://mydeardreamers.blogspot.pt

Super izgledaš,slike su prelepe!

Bas si slatka i vesela u ovom postu! Svdija mi se tvoja kovrdzava kosa! Malo da skrenem misli od svega sto je bilo!

Estás guapísima me encantan los pantalones y la alegría que transmites en las fotos :3

Hola guapa!
Que pasada!!
Me encantan los pantalones
Un besazo

Los pantalones me han encantado!! Muy guapa!! :)

You look absolutely lovely, honey.
All the best from charming Potsdam,

Thank you so much! :)
Greetings to Potsdam! )

You look great! Those leggings look very comfortable yet stylish at the same time. I agree with you denim jackets go with everything. Very nice temple.

Thank you, dear. I'm glad you like it and that we agree :)

I do love your outfit! And you look so pretty! x

Da, naravno da se sjećam tih cvjetnih pantalona, super ti stoje.
Hram divno izgleda, a stvarno je zanimljivo koliko je zaista veliko bilo to staro Rimsko carstvo, u gotovo svim zemljama Europe,a i šire ostao je njihov pokoji hram. Moj boravak u Rimu je bio sve nešto na brzinu. voljela bi opet otići, jedna mi je bivša kolegica rekla da za Rim obići kako treba moraš mu posvetiti minimalno jedan tjedan (a ona je radila kao turistički vodič tamo pa valjda zna) a to tada---barem rimskih građevina ima posvuda, može se ih se vidjeti i bez odlaska u Rim.

Da, baš! Gde god da odeš tu je nešto rimsko, pa čak i u Aziji i Africi.
Ja sam bila u Rimu nekih 5 dana čini mi se što je dovoljno ako si non stop u pokretu :) Ali stvarno je nešto posebno i treba mu se posvetiti natenane :)


Fashion Abejita

I am a history lover and visiting such sites is my passion. The place us going in my to- vist list.. U lucky to have this view from your mum-in-laws patio
U look pretty, love your tie and die pants
Keep in touch
www.beingbeautifulandpretty.com

Sweety, then Spain is a perfect place for you! )
I know, I still cannot believe it :D
Thank you so much! :)

DRaga moja Tijana, još nešto što nam je zajedničko! Moj muž je iz Metkovića a u seocu pored- Vidu, nalaze se ostaci antičke Narone! Tako da i ja kada god sam tamo, uživan u tračku drevnih Rimljana. :) Ipak moram priznati, tvoje dvorište je malčice reprezentativnije nego moje, ali nije baš uvijek veličina bitna, zar ne!' :) :)
Divna mi je i kombinacija i fotkice! Volim kada imaš maramu u kosi, baš si mi preslatka! Divan cardi i precool hlače. ma sva si mi če, če :) Pusam!

Pa ja ne mogu da verujem! :) Mi definitivno moramo da se vidimo nekada, toooliko stvari je u pitanju )
Pa dobro, dvorište je daleko manje nego ovo prostranstvo na slikama, ali mene fascinira ta blizina :D
Hvala ti puno, uobraziću se od svih tvojih predivnih komentara :D )


Watch the video: Emerita Augusta Mérida (January 2023).

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