National Geographic : 1981 Oct
A WALK OF SPLENDOR G LORIFYING the first imperialRoman dynasty and dedicated to Aphrodite, the south portico of the Sebasteion rose in the mid-first century A.D. This artist's rendition re-createsone section of the facade, known to stretch at least 60 meters. Evidence shows that reliefpanels between first-level columns hailed mythical characters,like the three Graces, companions of Aphrodite. The second story lauded the emperors and their domains. Here Ge, the earth, offers her power to a figure symbolizing Rome. Coffered panels with flowers topped the facade. The south portico'scolonnade faces the less excavated north portico; both probably lined the way to a main altar or temple. Rooms excavated in the south portico may have held individual shrines. Few such monuments, also called Kaisareia,are known. When earthquake andfire toppled the Sebasteion, its sculpture had alreadyfelt the wrath of Christianreformers. DRAWING BY RICHARDK. ANDERSON,JR., AND NATIONALGEOGRAPHICARTISTWILLIAM H. BOND '