Temple of Jupiter

The Temple of Jupiter is positioned on the Baalbek ruins in Syriaca, modern-day Lebanon. It’s the most large temple constructed by the traditional Romans, designed as a spot of worship for a god that glided by completely different names in numerous eras: Hadad, Ba’al, Zeus, Helios, or Jupiter. The colossal temple is positioned on the western fringe of Heliopolis, an historic advanced of temples in historic Lebanon. Spiritual worship had occurred on this advanced for a lot of centuries.

It isn’t identified who ordered the temple’s building nor who designed it. The Syrian historian John Malalas estimates that the temple was constructed throughout the rule of Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161). Then again, it’s extensively believed that the temple’s building started in AD 16 after a Roman colony named Colonia Augusta Felix Heliopolitana was established in Baalbek. The temple was accomplished in AD 60, as engraved on one of many column drums.


The Temple of Jupiter stands on an elevated podium. Of all of the Roman temples, it’s the largest devoted to Jupiter. The sheer dimension of the stones used on this temple is staggering. Historians have been awed by the dimensions of the three stones on the west finish, measuring about 19 x 4 x 3.6 meters. These stones, collectively often known as the trilithon, every weigh greater than 800 tons. In entrance of the temple’s elevated podium are stairs that measure 47.7 meters extensive and 87.75 meters excessive. The temple itself was surrounded by 54 Corinthian columns, with 4 columns on the corners, eight columns every at the back and front, and 17 on either side. The columns stood 19.9 meters excessive, and every had a diameter of two.25 meters. Nevertheless, solely 9 of the 54 columns had been left standing, and within the early a part of the 20th century, an earthquake decreased them additional to 6. On the high of those columns rested a pediment, whose apex is estimated to have reached 44 meters above the temple’s flooring. The oblong base of the temple is 88 meters lengthy and 44 meters extensive.


The Temple of Jupiter, the most important temple within the ruins of Baalbek, was inbuilt honor of Jupiter Heliopolitanus. In keeping with the Latin grammarian and thinker Macrobius Theodosius, there was as soon as contained in the temple a statue of Apollo, or Zeus, made from gold, depicting a beardless younger man. 

He states that the statue was shipped from Egypt, and its proper hand was raised, clutching a whip, whereas the left hand clasped a bolt of lightning and a few ears of grain. The statue was believed to have worn symbols of the solar and moon on its chest, with two bulls guarding it on both facet. It had on its head a kalathos, or a fruit basket formed like a hat, symbolizing fruitfulness and fertility, which have all the time been related to the solar. Not surprisingly, the temple faces east.

The temple was additionally used for oracular actions. Macrobius tells us that in an oracular ritual, a statue of Jupiter, probably a smaller model, was positioned in a litter, or ferculum. This ferculum was then carried by monks to completely different corners of the temple. On this approach, the monks interpreted the need of the god. Emperor Trajan is believed to have obtained a prophecy from the Temple of Jupiter in AD 114. The prophecy acknowledged that he wouldn’t have the ability to come again alive from his wars towards the Parthians. Certainly, in AD 117, whereas crusing again to Rome after destroying the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon, he died of a stroke.


How the builders moved the large stones from the quarry to the development space has been an amazing thriller to historians. Nevertheless, the thriller is lessened by the truth that there are two quarries close to Baalbek. One is to the south, whereas the opposite is a few kilometer away to the west of the ruins. That is the place the stones had been almost definitely lower and ready for the construction. Nonetheless, the query stands as to how the builders moved the large stones with out fashionable expertise. Some sources say that cranes had been specifically constructed by the Romans, though the burden of the stones would have required a number of specially-built cranes. The peak of the quarry, compared with the temple ruins, could provide an perception. The quarry is considerably at a better elevation, and it’s potential that after reducing the rock, the builders could have positioned arduous logs below them to function rollers. An informational signboard positioned on the ruins by the native tourism workplace states that after the stones had been lower, 512 slave employees manned 16 separate pulleys to attract the stone in the direction of the development website. Afterward, slave employees stuffed the location with sand, then positioned the large stones on the sand. The employees then needed to dig out the sand to decrease the stones.

In Later Centuries

The Temple of Jupiter loved adornments by later Roman emperors. The emperor Septimius Severus and his son, Caracalla, put in a propylaea, or monumental gateway. This was improved upon by Philip the Arab, who added a hexagonal court docket to the temple. The approaching of Christianity, although, signaled the deterioration of the temple and the fading of the oracle. Between the 12 months AD 378 and 395, Emperor Theodosius ordered the closure of the temple in his efforts to weaken paganism.

The ecclesiastical historian, Zacharias Rhetor, data that in AD 524, lightning destroyed the temple. Following this, Justinian, who dominated from AD 527 to 565, ordered the surviving columns of the temple to be salvaged and shipped to Constantinople to be reused within the Hagia Sophia. Essentially the most drastic change came visiting the temple throughout the Crusades when the remaining stones had been restructured to construct a fortress.

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