Each research done on the site of the Gallo-Roman sanctuary of Blicquy (Leuze-en-Hainaut) made the reconstitution of the Gallo-Roman temple (fanum) possible Read more
Dimensions: 20 meters by 20
Although the study of the site of the sanctuary still goes on, it is possible to sketch out a reconstitution of this exceptional place of worship. The very sanctuary covered a surface of 120 meters by 100 and was surrounded
by a ring wall. An entrance building enabled the pilgrims to go into the sacred area. A paved way led directly to
the temple (fanum) that was the main element of the sanctuary. The pilgrims first had to solicit from the deity / deities and lay down a present and afterwards they were allowed to go to the other parts of the sanctuary, still walking on other paved ways. On both side of the sacred area there were two colonnade galleries that protected
the pilgrims from bad weather and were also used as banquet place or still as rest place. About 70 meters away
from the entrance of the sanctuary there was a theatre that could host an audience of some 6,000 people. This building was used for religious ceremonies but also probably for entertainment purposes.
According to ancient documents the word fanum (pl: fana) initially designated a sacred place and, more
generally, any building devoted to deities and reserved to the cult of a deity. Nowadays archaeologists use this
word to designate Gallo-Roman temples that differ from traditional Roman temples because of their central
plan. The cella, building situated in the very middle, corresponds to the deity’s residence; protecting the god’s statute was its main purpose. An open gallery surrounded the cella; it could host other deities and was also
used as a shelter for the pilgrims
The temple reconstituted here was built according to the same plan and the same dimensions as those of the
fanum discovered at Blicquy. Its reconstitution was also inspired by well preserved monuments such as the
temple of Janus at Autun (France) as well as by various elements detected during the excavations. The building techniques employed for this reconstitution are the same as those used for the villa
At the present stage of research we still ignore which deity was venerated at the fanum of Blicquy. There are
four statutes of deities inside the cella. In the middle we can see Mars, the god of war and protector of the
families; there is a statute of Mercury, the god of trade and travellers, on the right side; a statue of a Venus
carrying bunches of grapes is presented on the left side. There is also a statute of Minerva in the left corner.
Various archaeological discoveries were realized at the sanctuary of Blicquy, confirming the presence of the divinities mentioned previously (small statutes, attributes, and so on) but none of these enables to definitely
identify the main deity that was venerated inside the fanum. Various sorts of offers are visible on the ground,
namely crockery (for the food offers), jugs (for liquid offers such as wine), coins, dedications, small statutes,
and so on.
The walls are decorated with Roman paintings, the iconography of which is directly inspired by pieces of
painted coatings discovered during the excavations done under and near the Romanesque church of Aubechies.