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The Small Temple


A Roman Imperial Cult Building in Petra, Jordan


Excavation of the Small Temple of Petra, Jordan has revealed a Roman building likely dedicated to the imperial cult. Constructed in the wake of Roman annexation of Nabataea in 106 CE, the temple would have helped to solidify Roman control. Reid systematically examines the evidence used to support the identification of the Small Temple as an imperial cult building through the discussion of its prominent use of marble, a material with Roman imperial associations and almost entirely monopolized by the bureaucracy of the Roman Empire. The analysis of architectural evidence, as well as the placement of the Small Temple within the city, also support this identification.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0234-7
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 18,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 252
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0234-7
$99.00
$59.40

The Nabataean capital of Petra, an important trade center before the third century BCE, continued to thrive in trade until at least the second century CE, and was not entirely abandoned until at least the sixth century. In 106 CE, the Nabataean kingdom was formally annexed by the Roman Empire. Excavation of a building called the Small Temple of Petra revealed a structure that was almost certainly a temple, albeit one of Roman design. Reid proposes that not only was the Small Temple Roman in design, but that it was an imperial cult building, dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperors as gods, constructed in Petra after its annexation. The presence of an imperial cult building in the Nabataean capital city would have assisted the Romans in solidifying their hold on the newly annexed kingdom. By placing a physical representation of the newly arrived Roman authority, the residents of Petra could not help but have been reminded on a regular basis of their change in status.

In this book, Reid systematically examines the evidence used to support the identification of the Small Temple as an imperial cult building through the discussion of its prominent use of marble, a material with Roman imperial associations. Marble, not locally available in Petra, was not generally favored by the client kingdoms in the east, and had been almost entirely monopolized by the bureaucracy of the Roman Empire. The analysis of architectural evidence, as well as the placement of the Small Temple within the city, also support this identification.

The Nabataean capital of Petra, an important trade center before the third century BCE, continued to thrive in trade until at least the second century CE, and was not entirely abandoned until at least the sixth century. In 106 CE, the Nabataean kingdom was formally annexed by the Roman Empire. Excavation of a building called the Small Temple of Petra revealed a structure that was almost certainly a temple, albeit one of Roman design. Reid proposes that not only was the Small Temple Roman in design, but that it was an imperial cult building, dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperors as gods, constructed in Petra after its annexation. The presence of an imperial cult building in the Nabataean capital city would have assisted the Romans in solidifying their hold on the newly annexed kingdom. By placing a physical representation of the newly arrived Roman authority, the residents of Petra could not help but have been reminded on a regular basis of their change in status.

In this book, Reid systematically examines the evidence used to support the identification of the Small Temple as an imperial cult building through the discussion of its prominent use of marble, a material with Roman imperial associations. Marble, not locally available in Petra, was not generally favored by the client kingdoms in the east, and had been almost entirely monopolized by the bureaucracy of the Roman Empire. The analysis of architectural evidence, as well as the placement of the Small Temple within the city, also support this identification.

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Contributor

Sara Reid

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • List of Maps (page 9)
  • List of Tables (page 9)
  • List of Illustrations (page 11)
  • Acknowledgments (page 15)
  • 1. The Nabataeans, Petra, and the Archaeological Record (page 17)
  • 2. Methodology (page 65)
  • 3. The Small Temple Excavation (page 77)
  • 4. Marble, Trade, and the Small Temple (page 129)
  • 5. Ruler Worship and the Imperial Cult (page 165)
  • 6. The Small Temple as an Imperial Cult Building (page 185)
  • Appendix 1: Trench Locations and Descriptions (page 205)
  • Appendix 2: Results of Marble Isotopic Analysis (page 218)
  • Appendix 3: Standard Deviations and Ancient Units of Measurement (page 221)
  • Bibliography (page 233)
  • Index (page 249)