About 400m/435yds northeast of Ulus Meydani, next to the Haci Bayram Camii, are the remains of what is unquestionably the most important ancient building in Ankara, the "Temple of Augustus and of Rome". Converted in the fourth century into a Christian church having a rectangular choir with light and dark stone patterning, it was first built in the second century B.C. as an Ionic dipteros with pronaos, cella and rear hall (presumably of Pergamum influence). Originally dedicated to the Phrygian gods Men (moon) and Cybele (earth mother, fertility), it was restored under Augustus and became a joint shrine to the first Roman emperor and to the goddess of the city of Rome. A combination of earthquakes and despoliation (the stone was used in building the adjacent Haci Bayram Mosque) have left the temple in a severely ruined state.
The walls of the temple vestibule are inscribed with the historic "testament" of the Emperor Augustus (Res Gaestae Divi Augusti or Monumentum Ancyranum). Dating from the time of the emperor Tiberius (A.D. 14-37) the inscription, in Greek (exterior right) and Latin (inside), is a copy of the deposition which Augustus intended for the front of his mausoleum on the Field of Mars in Rome but which was never in fact found there. Apart from fragments unearthed in Antiochia (near Yalvaç in Pisidia) and Apollonia (near Uluborlu in Phrygia) the inscription in Ankara is the only extant copy. It was rediscovered in 1555 by Busbek, emissary of the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand I, while on his way to the court of Süleiman the Magnificent. The text was definitively analyzed by Th. Mommsen from plaster casts made by Carl Humann in 1882. The magnitude of Augustus's political achievement is clearly revealed in the list of his deeds and exploits. There is also mention of the census carried out at the time of Christ's birth.
Category: Religious - Christianity