Saturday, July 23, 2016
Roman Temples are found all along the coast of Turkey. The Temple of Trajan, also called Trajaneum, is one of the most spectacular structures in Pergamon's Upper Acropolis area. It is also the only Roman monument in this location. The construction of the temple was initiated under the Roman emperor Trajan (hence it's name) and completed by his successor Hadrian. The purpose of the temple was to provide a venue for the religious cult of both rulers as well as Zeus. Since Hellenistic times, the worship of rulers as gods had become customary in Asia Minor. As the monument of Roman domination, the Trajaneum's purpose was to strengthen the bonds of Pergamon with Rome and with the Imperial family. The Trajaneum's position, dominating the summit, was like a propaganda statement concerning who was the ruler of the city and the province. The Temple of Trajan was the fourth imperial cult temple to be built in the province of Asia.
The Temple of Trajan was uncovered and examined in the years 1879-1880 and 1885 by an architect H. Stiller, but for decades the ruins were left as they had been found. In the 1960's the Turkish Administration initialized the process of its restoration. The challenge was taken up by German Archaeological Institute (DAI) that provided the initiative to re-examine the building. Preparations started in 1965 and in 1976 the restoration program was approved by the Turkish Directorate of Antiquity. The reconstruction started with the halls which would be easier to re-construct because of the weight and dimensions of working pieces. Due to the preservation of complete pieces, columns in particular, the northern hall offered the most promising preconditions. The reconstruction lasted until 1994 with the cooperation of architects, archaeologists and stonemasons from various European countries working with numerous Turkish specialists. The Trajaneum was splendidly reconstructed through anastylosis (the reassembly of existing, but loose parts) by German archaeologists.