The Temple of Antas is an ancient Punico-Roman temple in the commune of Fluminimaggiore in southern Sardinia. Nestled in the middle of the Iglesiente mountains, the ruins of the temple offer visitors a truly majestic sight. After lying abandoned for centuries, the temple was discovered in 1838 and extensively restored in 1967. The present visible structure dates to the 3rd century AD on a floor-plan from the Augustan age.
The area, rich in silver, lead and iron, was originally a Nuragic necropolis in use in the early Iron Age (9th-8th century BC) and identified probably as a sanctuary. The god worshipped here was Babai, the main male divinity of the Nuragic civilization. Attracted by its metal deposits, the Carthaginians colonised the area at the end of the 5th century BC and built a temple in honour of the Punic deity Sid Addir, god of warriors and hunters, who personified the indigenous god worshipped in the nearby Nuragic sanctuary. Its construction was divided into two phases: the more archaic dates back to 500 BC when the place of worship was made up of just a simple rectangular cella (sacred enclosure) where a rock served as a sacred altar. Later in approximately 300 BC occurred a series of transformations. The area has produced numerous fragments of Punic sculptures and a large number of dedicatory inscriptions. Some remains of the Punic temple can be seen in front of the temple, which were covered in Roman times by a broad staircase.
The Roman temple was built on the site of its Punic predecessor and the Romans in their turn identified the Punic deity as Sardus Pater. Both Sallust and Pausanias record that Sardus was the son of Hercules who migrated out of the land of Libya to settle on the island of Sardinia which he called after himself. Under the Roman emperors, the cult of Sardus was encouraged because in Rome there was a temple dedicated to Hercules on the Forum Boarium which made a strong connection between Sardus and Rome.
The temple was built on a podium accessible by a wide flight of steps on the front side consisting of various levels. On the fourth stood the altar in which, according to Roman rituals, the sacrifices were made. The podium was 20 m long and was divided into three parts; the pronaos, cella and adyton. The pronaos had four Ionic columns (tetrastyle) upholding the main beam that contained a Latin inscription: Imp(eratori) [Caes(ari) M.] Aurelio Antonino. Aug(usto) P(io) F(elici) temp[(lum) d]ei [Sa]rdi Patris Bab[i/vetustate c]on[lapsum] (?) [—] A[—] restitue[ndum] cur[avit] Q (?) Co[el]lius (or Co[cce]ius) Proculus
The inscription reveals that the temple was restored under the emperor Caracalla and dedicated to the god Sardus Pater Babi, the forefather of the Sards, by a man called Proculus. This dates the restoration phase to around 215 AD, but the Roman version of the temple could have been built as early as 27 BC under Augustus.
At approximately 1 km from the temple are located the Roman quarries from which limestone boulders were extracted and used for the construction of the sanctuary. The work was carried out with hammer and chisel, while the transport was probably made by carts pulled by oxen. The line cuts which were followed to extract the limestone blocks are still visible.
Coordinates: 39° 23′ 38.4″ N, 8° 30′ 0.72″ E
The temple’s isolated position in a fertile valley makes it an enchanted place to visit and offers visitors a great natural scenery. It is one of the most impressive and interesting archaeological remains on the island.
– from July to September every day from 9.30 to 19.30
– from April to May and October from 9.30 to 17.30
– June from 9.30 to 18.30
– from November to March from 9.30 to 16.30 except Monday