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Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek

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Presentation on theme: "Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek"— Presentation transcript:

1 Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek
Remember to use this resource in conjunction with the Artus textbook Pages 93-98


3 Baalbek The Temple of Bacchus is located in the town called Baalbek (modern day Lebanon).

4 Temple of Bacchus – Basics
Location & background to the area: The temple is next to a sacred sanctuary for Jupiter Heliopolitanus (Helipolis ‘sun city’ was the Greek name for Baalbek). Dates of construction: Began in 150AD and finished in 250AD. Material: limestone was used in the construction Meaning of name: Temple dedicated to the god, Bacchus/Dionysus (Roman and Greek names). This can be seen through the decorations surrounding the entrance which shows scenes of the god’s birth and life. It was for the cult of Bacchus.

5 Temple of Bacchus - Basics
Dimensions: The temple is of a great size, an eastern feature, 66m long, 35m wide and 31m high. The temple stands on a high podium 5m tall – larger than that of the Maison Caree. The cella door is 6.3m wide and 12.6 m tall, with its interior width equal to its interior height. Purpose: Temple for Bacchus. The size of the temple and the nearby complex, is designed to give the Semitic (Lebanese & Middle Eastern) citizens of this Roman province of Syria, the feeling of the grandeur of Rome and o the emperor and pride in their own province.

6 Temple of Jupiter Reconstruction of how the sanctuary may have appeared. Temple of Bacchus

7 Temple features Add text boxes and arrows to the plan on the following slide to indicate the following features: Entrance staircase Prostyle porch Cella doors Cella Stairs to adyton Adyton Cult statue Peripteral colonnade

8 Plan of the temple of Bacchus
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9 Add text boxes and arrows identifying THREE features of the columns
What type of columns? Add text boxes and arrows identifying THREE features of the columns

10 How many columns along the
Front? What is a word we use For that number?

11 Side walls of the cella project out to form ‘antae’ in the front and there is a deep ‘prostyle’ porch where the porch columns are in front of the projecting ends of the cella. Unfluted Corinthian columns are used for the colonnade and the front row of the porch, while the interior columns of the porch are fluted and smaller than the exterior columns.

12 Interior fluted columns of the porch are shown in this image

13 It has a colonnade on all 4 sides (peripteral)
It has a colonnade on all 4 sides (peripteral). This is made up of 8 free-standing, columns (octastyle) at the front & back 15 on each long side. The statue was not in the cella like most temples, but within another structure called an adyton (an eastern feature), a very elaborate canopy in marble.

14 Portico/Peristyle - ceiling
The ceiling of the portico (the roof between the temple walls and the colonnade) is elaborately carved with busts of Mars, Ceres, Vulcan and Ganymede. Image source:

15 Cella entrance Has a vaulted ceiling and two towers with steps (an Eastern feature) on either side of the doorway. The doorway to the cella is elaborately carved with scenes of the birth and life of Bacchus. On the exterior, surrounding entrance to the cella, is two bands of elaborate patterning – a vine motif (grape or ivy) represents Dionysus. - Acanthus leaves that sprout ears of wheat representing fertility and rebirth Image source:

16 Cella doorway decoration
Image source:

17 Interior The western end opposite the doorway had a stairway of 9 nine steps, the full width of the cella. The inner raised podium had a central set of steps flanked by piers with two engaged Corinthian columns. This central set of 6 steps lead to another podium where the statue of the god was in its shrine. Image source:

18 Interior Engaged Corinthian columns and their pilasters divide the two interior side walls vertically, and these walls are also divided horizontally with a bottom row of arched niches carried on pilasters and an upper row of pedimented niches, which once held statues. Image source:

19 Interior features Interior: The projecting engaged columns and the spaces between, on the interior, give a feeling of movement. The elaborate and deeply carved decoration produces the effects of light and shade, reminiscent of Antonine Baroque sculpture.

20 Comparing two temples, Maison Carree and Temple of Bacchus
Similarities between Bacchus & Maison Carree Differences between Bacchus & Maison Carree Both have a rectangular shape Both focus on frontal entrance Both have a podium Both are in a sanctuary (Maison Carree had a 3-sided portico, Bacchus next to temple of Jupiter) Both have Corinthian capitals Both have engaged columns (but in different locations) Both use local limestone as building material Height of podium is bigger on Bacchus (5m) 3 flights of steps, not one, on Bacchus Free-standing exterior columns, not engaged, 2 interior towers, interior raised podium, & adyton, baroque style & interior decoration on Bacchus Maison Carree is half the size of Bacchus

21 Influences present in the temple of Bacchus
Greek Semitic Roman Decoration from life of Bacchus (Greek - Dionysus) Freestanding peripteral colonnade Corinthian column capitals Fluted columns (be precise about where exactly) Busts of Ganymede /Mars/Ceres on ceiling of portico On a monumental scale Inner shrine inside cella (Adyton) for cult statue Use of local limestone The two towers flanking the entrance. A high podium A deep entrance porch – (prostyle) Frontal emphasis

22 Images and activities Image 1: Describe specific features of the area highlighted inside the yellow box.

23 Describe the way in which the section inside the yellow box may have appeared in the second century AD.

24 Compare and contrast the ground plan of the Temple of Bacchus (left) with that of the Maison Carree in Nimes (right).

25 Aspects for examination A question on the Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek may focus on any of the following features: The combination of various cultural and/or architectural influences in its design and decoration. Aspects that have may impressed a viewer. Propagandistic aspects of the design and/or decoration (this may use similar material to the first point above). Compare and contrast between with another temple (Maison Carree and/or Pantheon). Contrast between exterior and interior, effect on viewer of such (may work in comparison with Pantheon also).

26 Interior Reconstruction
Use the image on the following slide to consider ways in which the interior of the Temple of Bacchus may have IMPRESSED a viewer. Make at least FOUR main points about features that are IMPRESSIVE. It may be useful to base you description on an imaginary walk-through of the temple, starting from the entrance door and finishing at the cult statue. See also the top image on Artus Page 96.


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