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Faqra


Tower of Claudius, Faqra. Photo Jona Lendering.
Faqra: site of several Roman monuments on the western slopes of the Lebanon Mountains.

General Tower of Claudius
Great Altar Small Altar
Destroyed Altar
Temple Adonis
Temple Atargatis
Basilica
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine
Inscription near the door. Photo Jona Lendering.
Inscription near the door.

On a local summit, at least four altars can be identified. The largest of these is called the "tower of Claudius", a square of 16 x 16 meters that is almost ten meters high. The name is derived from two inscriptions. One can be found above the door:

Inscription on the Tower of Claudius. Photo Jona Lendering.
Αὐτοκράτορι Τιβερίωι Κλαυδίωι Καίσαρι
Σεβαστῶι και θ[εῶι] πατ[ρώι Βε]ελγαλασωι
ἐπὶ Γαίου Κα…

To the emperor Tiberius Claudius Caesar
Augustus
and the ancestral god Beelgalasos,
under Gaius Ca(ssius) ...

The second one is next to the door and offers a date in the Seleucid Era:

ENT ἐπὶ Θολου
Ραββομου ἐπιμε-
λητοῦ ἐκ τῶν τοῦ
μεγίστου θεοῦ ώκοδο-
μήθη
In 355, Tholos,
son of Rabbomus, the pres-
ident, at the
great god's expenses he
built this

Tower of Claudius, Faqra. Photo Jona Lendering.
Interior

This date can be converted to our year 43-44 CE. The monument is essential a large platform (a "high place of worship"), where large animals could be sacrificed. This means that the platform had to be accessible, and there are indeed stairs inside the large stone cube. More famous examples of this type of structure are the altar-towers in the Great Court in front of the temple of Jupiter in Baalbek.

The platform itself shows traces of pillars and the pedestals of two statues, so we may assume that there was a second storey: a kind of loggia, with a ceiling that we can no longer reconstruct. The statues must have represented the emperor Claudius and Beelgalasus (a supreme god).

A satellite photo of the altar area is here.

Tower of Claudius, Faqra. Photo Jona Lendering. The tower of Claudius. Photo Jona Lendering.
Tower of Claudius, Faqra. Photo Jona Lendering.

General Tower of Claudius
Great Altar Small Altar
Destroyed Altar
Temple Adonis
Temple Atargatis
Basilica
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2012
Revision: 18 April 2013
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other