Temple of Vespasian and Titus

May 4, 2012

In our post today we continue to share some photos of sites of signifance in the Roman Forum. Today’s photo features the Temple of Vespasian and Titus.

Temple of Vespasian and Titus in Roman Forum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Wikipedia has some helpful generic info:

The Temple of Vespasian and Titus (Latin: Templum divi Vespasiani, Italian: Tempio di Vespasiano) is located in Rome at the western end of the Roman Forum between the Temple of Concordia and the Temple of Saturn. It is dedicated to the deified Vespasian and his son, the deified Titus. It was begun by Titus in AD 79 after Vespasian’s death and Titus’s succession. Titus’ brother, Domitian, completed and dedicated the temple to Titus and Vespasian in approximately AD 87.

Throughout Roman history, there was an emphasis on increasing the fame and glory of a family name, often through monuments commemorating the deceased. Therefore, the temple was constructed to honor the Flavian Dynasty, which comprised the emperors Vespasian (69-79), Titus (79-81), and Domitian (81-96). Historians question whether or not Titus and Domitian had a good relationship; however, Domitian ensured the deification of his brother into the imperial cult in order to exalt the prominence of the Flavian name. Titus and Vespasian were each deified through the ceremony of apotheosis. In doing so, tradition guaranteed that Roman citizens and subjects would honor Vespasian and Titus (or at least honor their genius) as Roman deities. This imperial cult worship was as much a sign of allegiance to the emperor of Rome, or as a political and diplomatic gesture, as it was a formal religion.

Structure. The Temple of Vespasian was in the Corinthian order, hexastyle (i.e., with a portico six columns wide), and prostyle (i.e., with free standing columns that are widely spaced apart in a row).[4] It was particularly narrow due to the limited space, measuring 33 meters long and 22 wide. In a constricted space between the temple and the Concord, a small, two story vaulted room made of brick and concrete, and lined with marble, was built against the wall of the Tabularium, and apparently was dedicated to Titus.

Construction and Renovation. Titus began construction and presumably finished the foundations, made of tufa concrete, and the core of the podium, made of white marble. Domitian, however, completed the interior work after Titus’ death. The cella (inner) walls were in travertine, lined with marbles imported at great expense from the eastern provinces. The interior is highly ornate and the frieze depicts sacred objects that would have been used as the symbols, or badges, of the various priestly collegia in Rome. Around 200 to 205, Emperors Septimius Severus and his son, Caracalla, conducted renovations on the temple.

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Home Life at Qatzrin, Golan

August 19, 2010

Paul wrote the evangelist Titus in the New Testament letter that bears his name, instructing him to “speak the things that are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).  That included teaching God’s will for men and women, young and old. Older women were to teach (train, encourage) the younger women “to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (2:5, ESV).

I want to notice the word kind. Older Christian women are to teach the younger women to be kind.  The Greek word is agathos, often elsewhere rendered “good” (and here in KJV, NKJV), but here is translated “kind” by most (NASB, NIV, NET, NRSV, etc.).

Why would kindness be specified as an essential trait for younger women to acquire?  There may be many reasons, but perhaps at least one factor was simply the labor intensive lifestyle that characterized home responsibilities.

In the Golan, the restoration of Qatzrin gives us a glimpse of daily life in the time of Jesus and the centuries immediately to follow.

Qatzrin at Golan. Map by holylandphotos.org.

There are variant spellings for Qatzrin, such as Katzrin on this map; also Qasrin. The site is northeast of the Sea of Galilee.  This Talmudic Village was occupied during AD 4th-8th centuries.  Qatzrin was excavated by Z. Ma’oz and A. Killebrew.  The villiage has been reconstructed and furnished with artifacts from the period.

Our photo below shows a basalt olive-crushing mill. A different situation than simply going to the local supermarket and picking up a bottle of olive oil!

Basalt olive-crushing mill at Qatzrin. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Grinding grain for bread had to be done regularly.  Some millstones had two handles, and were designed for two women (cf. Matt. 24:41).

Millstone for two women. Qatzrin. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Qatzrin features a fully-restored house with all its furnishings.

Inside house at Qatzrin. Oven. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

This isn’t exactly what we would call “fast food.”  The daily domestic duties would include a lot of hard work!  It would be quite conceivable that the cumulative effect would be to make a young mother/wife bitter and resentful.

What do you think?  I believe the nature of daily life with its responsibilities furnish at least one important reason for Paul’s injunction that older women teach the younger women to be kind. I’m thankful for the kind of work that has been done at Qatzrin which helps take us back to life during biblical times.


The Palace at Knossos Crete

July 20, 2010

In today’s post I wish to share a few more photos and some info re: Knossos, Crete, specifically pertaining to the palace.  Knossos was the capital of Minoan Crete, and had the largest and most sophisticated palace on the island.  The palace had more than 1,000 rooms.  The archaeologist and excavator Sir Arthur Evans determined that the palace was three to five stories high.

The Great Propylon (monumental gateway) is featured in our photo below:

South Propylon. Entrance to palace at Knossos Crete. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Some of our group are among the people in this photo; it was a cool, brisk March morning as you can tell by the coats most are wearing.

This monumental pillared gateway was the entrance to the palace on the south side. It was decorated with the Cup-Bearer figured.  See photo below.

Cup-Bearer Figure decorating South Propylon. Knossos Crete. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The throne room is thought to have been used as council and and law court for King Minos and the priesthood. See photo below.

Throne Room for King Minos. Knossos Crete. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Note the griffins which “guarded” the throne.  These mythical beasts with eagle’s head and lion’s body are thought to have symbolized royal and divine power.  In the floor you see a basin, used for ritual cleansing.

At the north end of the palace, located at the end of the road for the harbor, was another entrance to to the palace. You will notice it is decorated with a “Bull” fresco.  See our photo:

North Entrance for the Palace. Knossos, Crete. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

On the west side of the palace is the theater.  It was a stepped court located at the end of the Royal Road.  Some suggest its usage was for rituals associated with the reception of visitors.

Stepped Theater at Knossos, Crete. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The theater steps would have seated about 400 people.

Remember to click on images for higher resolution.


Crete, cont’d.

July 16, 2010

After the Apostle Paul left the younger evangelist Titus at Crete, he wrote, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you” (Titus 1:5). There were many cities (Greek polis) on the island of Crete, as can be seen from this map by bibleatlas.org:

Cities on the Island of Crete. ©bibleatlas.org

In each of these cities where congregations of Christians were established, qualified men were to be appointed to serve as elders (bishops, pastors are biblically interchangeable terms).  The list of qualifications was given in Titus 1:6-9:

if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.  For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,  but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,  holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

The island of Crete was not only populated, but highly developed, going back to the time of Abraham (ca. 2000 B.C.) and even beyond.  In the years 68-66 BC, Crete was conquered by the Romans, and became a Roman province.  Today it is one of the Greek islands.

In our previous post we mentioned the archaeological excavations of Arthur Evans, which got underway in 1900. He is credited with inventing the term “Minoan,” naming the civilization after King Minos, who ruled the island of Crete, according to legend.

Religion. A deity worshiped by the Minoans was the bull.  In the Biblical Archaeology Society publication (2008), Island Jewels: Understanding Ancient Cyprus and Crete, we read:

Again, we rely on the evidence of frescoes and gems that show how the Minoans practiced an astonishing ritual that consisted of grasping a bull by its horns and leaping over its back.  When we add this to the ubiquity of stylized bulls’ horns, so-called “horns of consecration,” as well as the bull’s head rhyta (drinking vessels; singular, rhyton) and vivid portraits of individual beasts, there can be no doubt that the Minoans treated the bull with deep reverence…The bull may well have represented the young male consort of the goddess of love, a pattern that recurs throughout the ancient near east from Tammuz and Ishtar to Venus and Adonis, although if this is the case we cannot even give names to the Cretan versions of the divine couple (pp. 49-59).

In keeping with this information, note our photo of the gigantic bull’s horns below:

Bull's horns at Knossos, Crete. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

These restored horns symbolized the sacred bull.  They once adorned the top of the palace at Knossos, Crete.

The bull’s head rhyton (ceremonial drinking cup) in photo below is made of steatite (black metamorphic rock) and decorated rock crystal eyes and mother-of-pearl snout.

Bull's Head Rhyton. Knossos, Crete. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

This libation vase is displayed in the Irakleio Archaeological Museum, which is said to house the world’s most important collection of Minoan artifacts. This artifact is dated at 1600-1500 B.C.

Click on images for higher resolution.