The Temple Courtyard

Image: Reconstruction painting of Roman people in the Temple Courtyard by John RonayneThis was a place of worship and sacrifice where ceremonies took place around the great altar that formed a ritual focus in front of the Temple.

The courtyard was the sacred space surrounding the temple building and was contained within a colonnaded perimeter wall.  In one corner the Sacred Spring poured out a supply of hot water that was more than enough to serve the huge baths complex to the south.

The original courtyard was encroached upon during Roman times.  Small side chapels were built to either side of the Temple steps.  The Spring was enclosed by a building that was supported by buttresses and an entranceway on the south side of the courtyard and another building, known as "the four seasons" from the decoration of its facade, was built on the north side of the courtyard.   The space was cluttered with altars placed near the Temple by worshippers.

As the Roman Temple declined in the later fourth century so did the quality of maintenance in the courtyard. Further encroachment took place and rather half hearted attempts at maintaining a paved surface were made in the fifth and probably sixth century. The area was subject to occasional flooding at this time, no doubt as a result of poorly maintained drainage for the Spring.