Wednesday, November 6, 2013


House with Antae
My favorite kind of vacation is one that sparks my imagination and leaves me with many things to ponder even after my return home. My six-day trip to the Riviera and the Alpilles certainly fit the bill! My imagination ran wild in this ancient town. Glanum sits on the fringe of St. Remy-de-Provence. It's an ancient Greco-Roman town that lay buried in the earth for 17 centuries before being discovered and excavated in 1921. It was built between the 4th and 2nd centuries BCE by a tribe of Celto-Ligurian people, the Salyens. Its name, Glanum, comes from the name of the ancient Celtic god, Glanis. Situated at the source of an underground spring, it's thought the town became mainly a religious site after its Romanization in 49 BCE when Julius Caesar captured the entire area and made it part of Rome.  The town is full of temples to various Roman gods and special wells dedicated to healing.

The house you see above was a typical Greek-style house built around a courtyard surrounded by rooms and porticos. The deep basin in the middle would have been lined with tiles and collected rainwater for household use. Excess was drained off and stored in a cistern. One room was decorated with two antae...pilasters with Corinthian capitals.
The main street lined with houses on either side and paved with large flat stones

Can you imagine it looking like this? Waste water and excess rainwater drained from the buildings into the under-road conduit which took it away from the town.
The Germinated Temples

This is the only part of Glanum that has been restored. It is actually part of the smaller of two temples built side by side honoring the Emperor and his family. It was originally surrounded on three sides by a peribolos, an enclosed area around a temple delimited by porticos. Stone screens on either end kept the public out of the interior sacred space.
Can you imagine it looking like this?

Is your curiosity piqued? Are you imagining what life in Glanum was like? I'll share more of its story in my next post.

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