Nymphaeum of Caracalla

    This monumental fountain is located in the southeast corner of the junction of the Syria and Stadium Streets. It has two façades due to its location at the corner. The two-tiered structure is in the Corinthian order and has a different layout. It was built on the occasion of Emperor Caracalla’s (r. 211-217) visit to the city in 215 and dedicated to him.

      The rectangular pool in the corner measures 8.90x7.90 m and is flanked with an apsidal pool on the east in the Syria Street and on the south side in the Stadium Street. Today the back walls built with dressed travertine blocks still reaching a height of 2.70 m at places and the parapet balusters of 0.95 m height are visible. The main pool is paved with square terracotta plaques.

     The parapet balusters in the north still retain their reliefs depicting scenes like Heracles, Abduction of Ganymedes by Zeus, Theseus killing Minotaurus, etc. The parapet balustrades are plain. Along the north and west sides of the main pool are four small niche-like pools. The apsidal pools flanking the fountain have columns with Corinthian capitals and figural decoration – he-lion attacking bull’s head. Coffers have vegetal and figural reliefs including Medusa heads. These all point to highly decorated façade architecture.

     The monument underwent four phases of successive repairs, the last one in the early fifth century. Doorjambs with frieze, parapet with cross motif, and pilaster fragments reveal the conversion of the fountain to a baptistery. 

  

 


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