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Imperial Cult Complex

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Imperial Cult Complex
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Photo Comments

This is a view from the east looking west at the whole of the Sebasteion—the Municipal Imperial Cult Complex at Aphrodisias.

This picture is taken from the platform where the major Temple was located—dedicated to the goddess of victory, Nike.  Note the central courtyard, in brown, that measures 295 ft by 46 ft.  At the far end of this courtyard was the monumental/ceremonial gateway—the propylon, not well-preserved.  Along each of the long sides of the courtyard there was a three-story building, 39 ft. high.  The two upper storys contained carved marble reliefs of deities, Roman rulers, and peoples conquered by Rome.  Over 80 of the 200 original reliefs have been recovered in the excavations.

The Sebasteion was a complex of structures that served as a municipal imperial cult sanctuary.  It was dedicated to Aphrodite, the main deity of Aphrodisias, and to the "gods Sebastoi"—that is to the "August Ones," namely Julius Caesar and his successors.  Local elite persons built it to solidify their ties with Rome.  Its construction began during the reign of Tiberius (AD 14-37) and continued into the reign of Nero (AD 54–68).