ANTINOEION

Just to the west of the access road leading to the Vestibule is a sacred precinct with two temples (2, 3) with white marble facing. The two temples faced one another across a plaza, in the middle of which is a base that probably supported an obelisk. Delimiting the precinct on the west was a colonnaded hemicycle with a central room (7). Date palms were planted in the open areas. A number of pieces of Egyptianizing sculpture were found here during the recent excavations. Other statues, found earlier in the general area, probably came from here as well, including the Antinous-Osiris (now in the Vatican Gregorian Egyptian Museum; inv. 22795) as well as the Harpocrates (Capitoline Museums, inv. MC646). The excavators, Z. Mari and S. Sgalambro, think the sanctuary was dedicated to Antinous, Hadrian's younger friend who died by drowning in the Nile in 130 CE. They speculate that the obelisk dedicated to Antinous, which now stands on the Pincian Hill in Rome, was originally erected on the base in the middle of the plaza; they also restore the two Egyptianizing telamones found nearby (Vatican Museums, inv. 196, 197) to the porch in front of room 7 (Z. Mari and S. Sgalambro, "Antinoeion," AJA 111 [2007] 87, 98-99). The structure dates to ca. 134 CE.