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TERMESSOS II

TERMESSOs / PISIDIA

ROMAN ERA

Termessos was an ally of Rome, and so in 71 BC was granted independent status by the Roman Senate; according to this law its freedom and rights were guaranteed. This independence was maintained continuously for a long time, the only exception being an alliance with Amyntas king of Galatia (reigned 36-25 BC). This independence is documented also by the coins of Termessos, which bear the title "Autonomous".

The end of Termessos came when its aqueduct was crushed in an earthquake, destroying the water supply to the city. The city was abandoned, which helps to explain its remarkable state of preservation today.

Termessos_Gymnasium

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Gymnasium and Aquaduct

Main square

Principal official buildings are located on a flat area a little behind the inner fortification walls. The most striking of these structures is ''the agora, which has very special architectural characteristics. The ground floor of this open-air market place has been raised on stone blocks, and to its north-west five big cisterns have been hollowed out. The agora is surrounded on three sides by stoas. According to the inscription found on the two-storey stoa on the north-west, it was presented to Termessos by Attalos II, king of Pergamum (reigned 150-138 BC) as proof of his friendship. As for the north-eastern stoa, it was built by a wealthy Termessian named Osbaras, probably in imitation of the stoa of Attalos. The ruins lying to the north-east of the agora must belong to the gymnasium, but they are hard to make out among all the trees. The two-storey building consisted of an internal courtyard surrounded by vaulted rooms. The exterior is decorated with niches and other ornamentation of the Doric order. This structure dates from the 1st century AD.

Termessos_Agora

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Termessos Agora

Theatre

At the east of the agora lies the theatre. Commanding a view out over the Pamphylian plain, this building is no doubt the most eyecatching in all the Termessos plain. It displays most clearly the features of the Roman theatre, which preserved the Hellenistic period theatre plan. The Hellenistic cavea, or semicircular seating area, is divided in two by a diazoma. Above the diazoma rise eight tiers of seats, below it are sixteen, allowing for a seating capacity of some 4-5,000 spectators. A large arched entrance way connects the cavea with the agora. The southern parados was vaulted in Roman times, the northern has been left in its original open-air state. The stage building exhibits features characteristic of the 2nd century AD. A long narrow room is all that lies behind it. This is connected with the podium where the play took place, by five doors piercing the richly ornamented facade or scaenae frons. Under the stage lie five small rooms where wild animals were kept before being taken into the orchestra for combat.

Termessos_Ancient_City_Theatre

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Termessos Theater

Odeon

As in other classical cities, an odeon lies about 100 metres from the theatre. This building, which looks like a small theatre, can be dated to the 1st century BC. It is well preserved all the way to roof level and exhibits the finest quality ashlar masonry. The upper storey is ornamented in the Doric order and coursed with square-cut blocks of stone, while the lower storey is unornamented and pierced by two doors. It is certain that the building was originally roofed, since it received its light from eleven large windows in the east and west walls. Just how this roof, which spanned 25 metres, was housed, has not been determined yet. Because the interior is full of earth and rubble at present, it is not possible to gauge either the building's seating arrangement or its capacity. Seating capacity was probably not larger than 600-700. Amid the rubble, pieces of coloured marble have been unearthed, giving rise to the possibility that the interior walls were decorated with mosaic. It is also possible that this elegant building served as the bouleuterion or council chamber.

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Termessos_Odeon

Termessos Odeon

Temples

Six temples of varying sizes and types have been accounted for at Termessos. Four of these are found near the odeon in an area that must have been sacred. The first of these temples is located directly at the back of the odeon and is constructed of truly splendid masonry. It has been proposed that this was temple of the city's chief god, Zeus Solymeus. What a pity, then, that apart from its five-metre-high cella walls, very little remains of this temple.

The second temple lies near the south-west corner of the odeon. It possesses a 5.50 × 5.50 metre cella and is of the prostylos type. According to an inscription found on the still complete entrance, this temple was dedicated to Artemis, and both the building and the cult statue inside were paid for by a woman named Aurelia Armasta and her husband using their own funds. To the other side of this entrance, a statue of this woman's uncle stands on an inscribed base. The temple can be dated on stylistic grounds to the end of the 2nd century AD.

artemis temple.

Termessos Artemis Temple

Temples

To the east of the Artemis temple are the remains of a Doric temple. It is of the peripteral type, with six or eleven columns to a side; judging from the size of it, it must have been the largest temple in Termessos. From surviving reliefs and inscriptions, it too, is understood to have been dedicated to Artemis.

Further to the east, the ruins of another smaller temple lie on a rock-hewn terrace. The temple rose on a high podium, but to what god it was dedicated is not known at present. However, contrary to general rules of classical temple architecture, the entrance to this temple lies to the right, indicating that it may have belonged to a demi-god or hero. It can be dated to the beginning of the 3rd century AD.

As for the other two temples, they are located near the stoa of Attalos belong to the Corinthian order, and are of the prostylos type. Also dedicated to deities who are as yet unknown, these temples can be dated to the 2nd or 3rd century AD.

Termessos_Corinthian_temple

Termessos Corinthian Temple

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