Temple of Bacchus

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Temple of Bacchus
("Temple of the Sun")
Baalbek(js) 5.jpg
General information
Type Roman temple
Architectural style Classical
Location Baalbek, Lebanon
Completed ca. 150 AD
Height 31 m (102 ft)
Technical details
Size 66 by 35 m (217 by 115 ft)
Design and construction
Architect Unknown (commissioned by Antoninus Pius)

Temple of Bacchus was one of three main temples at a large complex from classical antiquity at Baalbek in Lebanon. The temple was dedicated to Bacchus (also known as Dionysus), the Roman god of wine, but was traditionally referred to by Neoclassical visitors as the "Temple of the Sun". It is considered one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world. It is larger than the Parthenon in Greece.


The temple was commissioned by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and designed by an unknown architect and built close to the courtyard in front of the larger temple of Jupiter-Baal.[1] The period of construction is generally considered between 150 CE to 250 CE.[2] When the temple complex fell into disrepair, the Temple of Bacchus was protected by the rubble of the rest of the site's ruins. The temple is slightly smaller than Temple of Jupiter and is 66m long, 35m wide, and 31m high.[3] Its walls are adorned by forty-two unfluted Corinthian columns, nineteen of which remain upright in position standing 19 m high. The columns support a richly carved entablature. Inside, the cella is decorated with Corinthian half-columns flanking two levels of niches on each side, containing scenes from the birth and life of Bacchus. The adyton (inner shrine) stands above a flight of steps. Some historic Roman coins depict the structure of this temple along with Temple of Jupiter.[4] The storm god Ba'al was worshipped in this temple.[5]

In 1984, several ruins of Baalbek, including the Temple of Bacchus, were inscribed as a World Heritage Site.[6]

Structure and style[edit]

The temple is known for its impressive dimensions, richly decorated stone work and monumental gate with Baccic figures.[6] The decorative stone carving include rows of heads of lions and bulls which were also worshipped.[7]


  1. ^ Frank Sear, p.247
  2. ^ Frank Sear, p.247
  3. ^ Frank Sear, p.247
  4. ^ Kevin Butcher, p 366
  5. ^ Frank Sear, p.245
  6. ^ a b "Baalbek". UNESCO world heritage sites. UNESCO. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Kevin Butcher, p.294


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°00′22″N 36°12′15″E / 34.006079°N 36.204038°E / 34.006079; 36.204038