Key to Umbria: Cesi
 


Temples of Monte Torre Maggiore


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This ancient cult site is at the summit of Monte Torre Maggiore, the highest point in the Monte Martani.  It was first documented in the 17th century, when it was known as “Ara Major” (the great sanctuary).  
Votive offerings found here demonstrate that this was a cult site from the 6th century BC.  It probably served as the focal point for the worship of the Umbrian people who lived in small communities across the area.  The site was monumentalised in the 3rd century BC, after the Roman conquest of Umbria.  The remains of a perimeter wall supporting an elevated terrace survive in situ. There are traces of a monumental entrance at the end of the path that leads to the site. 
Two temples were subsequently built on the terrace, each of which had a pronaos and a cella: 
Temple A (ca. 250 BC) was oriented east-west; and 
Temple B (ca. 200 BC) was oriented north west-south east.    

A travertine bust (ca. 200 BC) of a woman wearing a diadem (see below) that was recently found here suggests that one of the two Roman temples was dedicated to a goddess.  Other finds suggest that the other temple was devoted to Jupiter “Fulgurator” (of the lightning). 

Coins found on the site include some from the reign of the Emperor Philip the Arabian (244-9 AD), which suggests that the site remained in us until the late 3rd century AD. 
[The road from Carsulae to Spoleto passed the site.]
Finds from the Site 
Votive offerings (6th - 4th centuries BC) 
These mostly bronze objects provide evidence for a cult site here from an early date.  Many of the objects are in the form of warriors, but there are also female figures and representations of animals.  
Some of them are in the Museo Archeologico, Terni; and 






others, which were discovered in 1988, are in the Museo Archeologico, Perugia.  


Fragments from Temple A (4th or 3rd century BC) 
These exhibits in the Museo Archeologico, Terni include fragments architraves that are decorated with small heads of lions and fragments of terracotta antefixes.  

Inscription (early 3rd century BC) 
This inscription on a monumental travertine block that was found in front of the entrance to Temple A probably dates to the period in which the sanctuary was first monumentalised.  The damaged inscription reads (approximately): 
.....]e[.....
......]ri . f. i . atri[..... 
...]. t . rufrie 
This probably gives the name of a magistrate and the name of his office.  The inscription. which is now in the deposit of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Umbria, Perugia, is also included in the page on Umbrian Inscriptions  after 295BC.
Grafitti (early 2nd century BC)
This inscription, which is scratched onto a piece of pottery from Temple A, reads: 
...] . pupun[ 
This is presumably part of the name of the person to whom the pottery object belonged.  The fragment is in the Museo Archeologico, Terni.  The inscription is also included in the page on Umbrian Inscriptions  after 295BC. 
Bust of a woman (ca. 200 BC)
This travertine bust of a woman wearing a diadem is too large to have been a votive offering and was probably  from a statue of a goddess.  It is now in the Museo Archeologico, Terni.




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