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Monuments: Aphrodisias: Sebasteion

Built between the reigns of Tiberius and Nero and paid for by two local families, the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias is a monumental complex devoted to the imperial cult. The complex consists of two parallel porticoes, each of three stories, flanking a street which leads from a monumental gateway (propylon) to a temple of the imperial cult. The families who financed construction each paid for one of these porticoes which were decorated on there upper two stories with 200 marble relief panels. More

These were inserted into the engaged architectural order of these facades and bear scenes depicting local and wider Greek and Roman myths, the Julio-Claudian emperors, various divinities and conquered peoples. The figures on these panels are approximately lifesize and the range of quality and techniques employed suggests that a number of different teams of sculptors were employed on this enormous project. The marble used is all local, from the nearby quarries. In the Late Roman period the north portico was damaged by an earthquake and cleared, while the south portico remained in place and was restored. For this reason most of the surviving reliefs, now on display in the archaeological museum at Aphrodisias, come from the south portico.

Rockwell, P. (1989). ‘Finish and unfinish in the carving of the Sebasteion’, in C. Roueché and K. T. Erim (eds). Aphrodisias papers: recent work on architecture and sculpture, including the papers given at the Second International Aphrodisias Colloquium held at King's College London on 14 November 1987 (Journal of Roman archaeology supplementary series 1). Ann Arbor MI: 101–18.

Smith, R. R. R. (1987). ‘The imperial reliefs from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias’, Journal of Roman studies 77: 88–138.

Smith, R. R. R. (1988), 'Simulacra gentium: the ethne from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias', Journal of Roman studies: 50–77.

Smith, R. R. R. (in press). The marble reliefs from the Julio-Claudian Sebasteion at Aphrodisias (Aphrodisias 6). Mainz.


ObjectType object (1)
Aphrodisian marble (Visual identification)  
circa ad 20 - circa ad 60 




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