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THE TEMPLE OF HELIOS (?) AT KANAWAT
KANAWAT, the ancient Kanatha, is a site of great antiquity and contains ruins covering many periods, among which are those of two temples belonging to the latter half of the second century A.D. The one dedicated to Zeus is situated in the upper part of the town near the southern wall, and its plan, and photographs of its present condition, may be found in Professor Butler's Architecture in Northern Central Syria and the Djebel Haurán.2 The second large temple at Kanawât is situated outside of the walls and far to the north on lower ground. This is the so-called Temple of Helios, the restoration of which I have attempted.
Its attribution to Helios rests upon the rather uncertain evidence of an inscription cut upon the east face of the die of the pedestal of the first column standing at the south end of the outer row of columns on the east side of the temple. This inscription has been several times copied, and as restored by Professor Prentice 3 reads:
Θ]εβάνης Σίθρου τὸ[ν ν]α[ὸν Ἡ]λίου [ἐκ] τῶν ἰδίων εὐσεβῶν ἀνέθηκεν. Thebanes, son of Sithros, in devout service, erected at his own expense the temple of Helios.
1 As in the case of a former article on Mushennef (A.J. A., XI, pp. 1-6), I am largely indebted to Professor Howard Crosby Butler and Professor William Kelly Prentice, two of the members of the American expedition to Syria in 1900, for the photographs, notes, and inscriptions from which the restorations shown in this article have been made.
2 Part II of the Publications of an American Archaeological Expedition to Syria in 1899-1900, pp. 352-354.
3 American Archaeological Expedition to Syria, 1899-1900, Part III, No. 407.
American Journal of Archaeology, Second Series. Journal of the
If this is the correct reading, and it is practically the one which was adopted by Berggren, who probably saw the inscription when it was in better condition than in the time of his
FIGURE 1.-PLAN OF TEMPLE AT KANAWÂT.
Scale 1 cm. = 4m.
successors, it would indicate that the temple was dedicated to Helios, and for the present at least such an attribution is the most plausible.
The temple is peripteral (Fig. 1) and faces toward the east,
with a double row of six columns on the front, single rows of nine on the sides, and a single row of seven in the rear, the latter being a very unusual arrangement, probably adopted to regulate the intercolumniation. Seven of these columns are still standing to their full height (PLATE XXVIII). Only the plan of the exterior wall of the cella can be traced, but this shows a series of pilasters corresponding to the columns with only a narrow pteroma between. The whole temple stood on a podium, paved with large slabs of stone which formed the ceiling of a basement within the podium, and was approached by a flight of steps between two parotids on the east front of the temple. Originally there was probably a large paved court surrounding the whole building, and this has been shown in the plan (Fig. 1) though no data either for its existence or extent were found, other than the paved courts that surround many temples of the same period in the Ḥaurân.
In explaining the method used in the accompanying restorations (PLATES XXIX-XXXI), I shall describe the parts of the temple in detail, beginning from the base, and showing what authority there is for the various forms, mouldings, etc., employed.
One half of the western wall of the podium, together with two small sections of it below the two standing columns on the southern side, and a quarter of its eastern wall below the two standing columns adjoining the steps were still standing in May, 1900. Some of the north wall was also in situ, but a part had been torn down to furnish an entrance to the arched basement which is now used as a shelter for cattle. The northern half of the podium on the west façade (PLATE XXVIII) is free from débris for its entire height. Its base mouldings were thus found and consist of a plinth, surmounted by a cyma reversa with its two fillets. The total height is 2.50 m., and the cap is composed of a cyma recta above the conventional quarterround, beneath which is a broad flat-band above three small fillets. A portion of the steps and the cap of the podium at the point where it breaks out to crown one of the parotids. are in place (Fig. 2), though the number of steps and their exact dimensions cannot be obtained and have been merely conjectured.
Below each of the pedestals on which the columns of the peristyle rest, the wall of the podium is slightly broken out, as is shown in PLATES XXIX-XXXI. These pedestals are a
little less than two diameters high, and consist of a plinth in two stages, a base composed of a cyma recta above a torus, a die 0.55 m. high, and a cap consisting of two fillets, an ovolo,
a cavetto, and a fillet. block as these mouldings, though cut back from the edge, is a broad band of such a size that it forms a sort of plinth for the base of the column.
Above this and belonging to the same
The bases are of the Attic type with two toruses separated by a scotia and these mouldings are richly carved. Above the bases, an ovolo and a narrow fillet take the place of the usual cincture and apophyge in accomplishing the transition from the base to the shaft proper. The shafts themselves are about eight diameters high, though with the base and capital added their height is increased to practically ten diameters, and thus, with the pedestals on which they stand, the columns have a very slender and graceful outline. There is considerable entasis (Fig. 2), which seems to have its greatest extent about midway up the shaft. The capitals are of the Corinthian type, and although all the volutes have been more or less broken, enough remains to render their reconstruction possible.
Unfortunately, as may be seen from the photographs, nothing is standing above the columns, and all this portion had to be assumed from other examples in the country. No parts of the architrave or cornice were found even upon the surrounding ground, and in fact from the systematic demolition and removal of all the parts of the structure which were of squared blocks, it would seem that the entablature and cella walls were undoubtedly removed to some other locality to furnish material for the construction of later, perhaps mediaeval or modern, buildings. Even portions of the podium were removed, and it is probable that the only reason why it was not totally destroyed was the fear lest the huge columns. should fall. It was therefore necessary, as I have said, to supply an entablature, and the one surmounting a column in front of the so-called Nymphaeum at Bosra (Fig. 3) was chosen. To be sure, it is the only known example of an entablature with consoles in this part of Syria, but it is from a