Gian Berto Vanni/Art Resource, New York, NY

The Temple of the Sebastoi. Set on an impressive artificial platform nearly 300 feet long and more than 200 feet wide, the Sebastoi temple (Sebastoi means “revered” in Greek) was dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperors Vespasian (69–79 C.E.), Titus (79–81 C.E.) and Domitian (81–96 C.E.)

On the north side of the complex, a three-story stoa, or columned hall, rose 35 feet above the plaza at the base of the temple platform. Behind the colonnaded walkway on the first level stood a series of shops. The colonnade on the second level featured the sculpted figures of gods and goddesses seen in the photo at left. The symbolism was not lost on the ancient worshipers: The deities of the Roman empire supported and protected the temple in which the emperors were worshiped. Note, however, that while the artist’s reconstruction below shows a monumental statue outside the temple, investigators believe the statue actually stood indoors, a conclusion based in part on the fact that it was apparently made mostly of wood and would not have withstood outdoor weather.