Baalbeck, the Temple of Jupiter, Moloch and Allen Ginsberg!


This was the greatest of the three temples sacred to Jupiter Baal and identified with the sun. It was constructed during the first century CE and linked to a to Venus and a lesser temple to Bacchus. Neoclassical visitors calloed it the “Temple of the Sun” and thought it best-preserved Roman temple in the world. Three Eastern deities were worshipped here in Roman guise: thundering Jove, the god of storms, stood in for Baal-Hadad, Venus for ‘Ashtart and Bacchus for Anatolian Dionysus. It is surrounded by forty-two columns nearly 20 meters in height.

I don’t think he ever visited here, but Allen Ginsberg would write in Section 2 of “Howl” :

“They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!
Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstacies! gone down the American river!
Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!
Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years’ animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time!
Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!”

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