Dig at Augustus Temple in Turkey may bring a wealth of new history to light

October 23rd, 2008 - 2:53 pm ICT by ANI  

Istanbul, Oct 23 (ANI): An archaeological dig at the Augustus Temple in the Ulus area in Turkey is re-examining historical evidence that was uncovered almost a century ago, in an attempt to bring a wealth of new history to light.

According to a report in Todays Zaman, the dig was sparked by the need for certain factors at the historical site: a new detailed plan of the site, refurbishment of broken or damaged pieces of the building and restoration of the site.

Within this framework, the archeological dig at Augustus will allow experts to examine historical evidence that was uncovered almost a century ago.

The digs at the Augustus Temple began one month ago, and for as long as weather permits, will continue for another two months or so, said Orhan Duzgun, general director of Cultural Treasures and Museums.

The Augustus Temple was used as a pagan temple and then later as a church. Later, when the Hacybayram Mosque was built alongside it, this also became known as the area with the Hacybayram Mosque. So, this really is one of the areas of our country that portrays the high level of tolerance between religions, he added.

After Muslims took over this region, the sections of this temple that were used as a pagan temple and later as a church were not touched, and in fact part of the mosques roof was built over one of the walls of this site, which really showed that religions could coexist in tolerance, he further added.

The Augustus Temple was built after Roman Emperor Augustus annexed the lands of Galatians and Ancyra (Ankara) into the Roman Empire in the year 25 B.C.

The temple, known in Latin as Monumentum Ancyranum, was dedicated to Rome and built in honor of the Emperor Augustus and the citys local goddess.

During its restoration, an important text - the spiritual testament of the Emperor Augustus - was uncovered. This text, written in red, is called Res Gestae Divi Augusti.

Though it wasnt until the archeological efforts in the 1930s that the full extent of the architectural wonders in the Augustus Temple was uncovered, a delegation was sent during the 16th century from Germany to the Ottoman Empire.

During the delegations tour of the lands, an examination of the temple caused the men to later call the site a palace or theater on their return to Europe. (ANI)

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