The monuments of Roman Ancyra reviewed

Morin, Jacques
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Bilkent University
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In this paper, the accepted conclusions o f Roman Ancyra's monuments are reinterpreted based on the analysis o f the original excavation, epigraphic and numismatic reports. As will be garnered from this study, no conclusive dates can be applied to any o f the buildings and many o f the theories concerning Roman Ancyra are revealed to be doubtful. Questions still persevere, but the information within this text reflects Roman Ancyra's complex and unresolved nature. Since no clear empirical archaeological evidence exists to prove Ancyra's chronology, the controversy concerning the so-called Temple of "Augustus and Roma" continues, and it remains unknown if the Temple is Roman, Hellenistic or Galatian. It is not only this monument that inspires speculation and debate, but all of Roman Ancyra's standing and reported structures. Little known and abandoned, the Roman Theater bears the speculative date of 128 AD, yet no documentation available can divulge an actual time o f construction. While characteristically Roman in appearance, its unusual parodoi-md hillside location could motivate future scholarship to argue for a Hellenistic, Early imperial or Hadrianic date. An andesite road commonly assumed to have been decorated with an architrave was found to be not so. Its architrave really belongs to the palaestra of the Bath, which in form was originally thought to be a market, and which produced a bronze bust o f the Emperor Trajan. The name on the architrave also indicates that the Roman Bath might not have been built by the accepted benefactor at the accepted Caracallan date. Nor can it be confidently asserted that this Bath is symmetrical. It may have been left unfinished or so seriously altered that the original intention o f the builder is lost. These facts, in addition to inscriptions and coins, allow for a more cohesive, if imperfectly understood, image o f Ancyra to emerge. Even if the present end result is that Roman Ancyra, inclusive o f the urban design and context, is simply not known, the research presented here attempts to aid in a necessary reconstruction.

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