Roman temple of Alcántara

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Coordinates: 39°43′18″N 6°53′30″W / 39.721708°N 6.891554°W / 39.721708; -6.891554

View of the Roman temple of Alcántara.

The Roman temple of Alcántara is located at one side of the Alcántara Bridge, Cáceres, Extremadura (Spain). Along with the Roman temple of Vic, it is one of the only two Roman temples preserved nearly complete in Spain.

History[edit]

The bridge, triumphal arch and temple were all designed by the same architect, Gaius Julius Lacer, who dedicated the latter to the deified emperors of Rome. He concluded his work in 103 AD. The origin of the architect appears to be local, but stylistically the features of the building appear closely related to contemporary buildings in the Italica province. This suggests that the architect either studied in what is today Italy, or was born there and later moved to the Lusitania province.[1] The temple was constructed as an offering to Trajan and the gods of Rome. After the conquest of Cáceres in 1169 by Ferdinand II of Leon, the temple was converted into a chapel of St. Julian; one reason the building remains so well-preserved. The conversion saw the addition of a belfry and a skull with tibias. The temple would eventually become a milestone along the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.[2] The architect was buried in the temple; his tomb is still preserved inside.

Architecture[edit]

Alcántara is a small votive temple in antis, rectangular, with a single camera or cell. The temple is constructed of granite. The entrance is flanked by two Tuscan columns and accessed by an exterior staircase, covered with a gabled roof made of slabs of stone, with a pediment with trim at the edges and a smooth tympanum without decoration. The bill is reminiscent of the Treasury of Athens at Delphi. The bridge and temple are built with granite blocks of equal size. Presented in its lintel are inscriptions (now are not original, but subsequent copies) displaying the dedication by the architect Gaius Julius Lacer to the Emperor Trajan.

Inscription text:

IMP.NERVAE.TRAIANO.CAESARI.AVG.GERM.DAC.SACRVM

Templum in rupe Tagi superis et Caesare plenum
ars ubi materia vincitur ipsa sua.
Quis quali dederit voto fortasse requiret
cura viatorum quos nova fama iuvat.
Ingentem vasta pontem qui mole peregit
sacra litaturo fecit honore Lacer.
Qui pontem fecit Lacer et nova templa dicavit,
illic se solvunt, hic sibi vota litant.
Pontem perpetui mansurum in saecula mundi
fecit divina nobilis arte Lacer.
Idem Romuleis templum cum Caesare divis
constituit felix utraque causa sacri.

C.Iulius Lacer H(oc)S(acellum)F(ecit) et dedicavit amico Curio Lacone Igaeditano

Hunc titulum procellis abrasum Philippus IV renovari, marmori denuo incidi Elisabeth II decrevit.

English translation:

To Emperor Nerva, Trajan, Caesar Augustus, Germanicus, Dacic, is enshrined

this temple, the live rock of the Tagus, occupied by the Divine and the Caesar,
where the greatness of art itself is overcome by the greatness of the work.
Perhaps the curiosity of the travelers, whom the celebrity of the new it like,
inquire whom and under what vote, offered this temple.
Who built the great bridge of huge factory was Lacer,
to offer with great solemnity the sacrifices.
Who made the bridge, Lacer, also dedicated the new temples:
in that are met his votes, in this devote his offerings.
The illustrious Lacer, with divine art, made the bridge
to would last forever in the perpetuity of the world.
He happily carried out the temple and the bridge
devoted to the Roman gods along with Caesar, one and other work.
Gaius Julius Lacer did this chapel and dedicated it to his friend Curio Larcon Igaeditano (adjective in the Portuguese town of Idanha a Velha).
This sign, weathered for the storm, sent him to renew Philip IV and sent him back to record in marble Isabel II.

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References[edit]