1902 Encyclopedia > Rome > Ancient Rome - Other Temples, etc.

(Part 28)



Other Temples, etc.

Other Temples

Besides the temples mentioned in previous sections remains of many others still exist in Rome. The circular temple by the Tiber in the Forum Boarium, formerly thought to be that of Vesta, may be the temple of Hercules mentioned by Macrobius (Saturn., iii. 6), Solinus (Collect., i. 11), and Livy (x. 23). Its design is similar to that of the temple of Vesta in the Forum (fig. 15), and, except the entablature and upper part of the cella, which are gone, it is well preserved (see Piale, Tempio di Vesta, 1817). The neighbouring Ionic temple, popularly called of Fortuna Virilis, is of special interest from its early date, probably the end of the 2d century B.C. The complete absence of marble and the very sparing use of travertine, combined with the simple purity of its design, are all proofs of its great antiquity. It has a prostyle tetrastyle portico of travertine, and a short cella of tufa with engaged columns ; the bases of these and of the angle columns are of travertine. The frieze has reliefs of ox skulls and garlands. The whole was originally stuccoed and painted so that the different stones used would not show. Fig. 21 gives the plan, showing the hard travertine used at the points of greatest pressure, while the main walls with the half columns are of the weaker and softer tufa. The dedication of this temple is doubtful; on the whole it appears most probable that it is the temple to Fortuna (without any affix) founded by Servius Tullius (Dionys., iv. 27) in the Forum Boarium, not the one to Tuche Andreia [Gk.] (Fors Fortuna ?) mentioned as being by the river (comp. Plut., De Fort. Rom., 5). Ten columns of what is probably the temple of Ceres, Liber, and Libera exist in situ, built up in the end and side wralls of the church of S. Maria in Cosmedin. These have well sculptured composite capitals and wide intercolumniation,—probably a survival of the original design of this temple, which was Tuscan in style (Vitr., iii. 3, 5 ; Plin., H.N., xxxv. 45). It was founded by Aulus Postumius, dictator in 497 B.C., and dedicated by Spurius Cassius, consul in 494 B.C. (Dionys., vi. 17, 94). In 31 B.C. it was burnt (Dion Cass., 1. 10), and was rebuilt by Augustus and Tiberius (Tac., Ann., ii. 49); but the existing columns belong to a still later restoration. The temple stands close to the carceres of the Circus Maximus, in the Forum Boarium. Within the walls of S. Niecolo in Carcere (see fig. 22) in the Forum Olitorium are preserved remains of the tufa cells and travertine columns of three small hexastyle peripteral temples, two Ionic and one Tuscan, set close side by side. A fragment of the marble plan includes part of this group, as is indicated on fig. 22. Two of these temples were probably those to Spes and Juno Sospita (Liv.,xxi. 62,xxxii. 30); the third may be that of Apollo Medicus (Liv., xl. 51), as suggested by Burn (Rome and Campagna, 1871, note i. p. 306). Near the Forum Olitorium, in the modern Ghetto, are extensive remains of the large

FIG. 22.—Plan of three temples on site of S. Niccolo in Carcere ; the part within the line A, A is that shown on a fragment of the marble plan. The black shows what still exists.

group of buildings included in the Porticus Oetaviae, two of which, dedicated to Juno Regina and Jupiter Stator, with part of the enclosing porticus and the adjoining temple of Hercules Musarum, are shown on a fragment of the marble plan.

Porticus Octaviae

The Porticus Octaviae, a large rectangular space enclosed by a double line of columns, was built in honour of Octavia by her brother Augustus on the site of the Porticus Motelli, founded in 146 B.C. This must not be confounded with the neighbouring Porticus Octavia founded by Cn. Octavius, the conqueror of Perseus (Liv., xlv. 6, 42), in 168 B.C., and rebuilt under the same name by Augustus, as is recorded in the Ancyramn inscription. The whole group was one of the most magnificent in Rome, and contained a large number of works of art by Phidias and other Greek sculptors. The existing portico, which was the main entrance into the porticus, is a restoration of the time of Severus in 203. The church of S. Michele and the houses behind it conceal extensive remains of the porticus and its temples (see Ann. Inst., 1868, p. 108 ; and Contigliozzi, I Portici di Ottavia, 1861).

Temple of Neptune

Remains of a large peripteral Corinthian temple are built into the side of the "Dogana di Terra," near Monte Citorio. Eleven marble columns and their rich entablature are still in situ, with the corresponding part of the cella wall of peperino ; in 1878 a piece of the end wall of the cella was discovered, and, under the houses near, part of a large poribolus wall, also of peperino, forming an enclosure with columns all round the temple nearly 330 feet square (see Bull. Comm. Arch. Rom., vi., pi. iv., 1878). The dedication of this temple is not known ; it has commonly been identified with the temple of Neptune (Dion Cass., lxvi. 24), built by Agrippa, and surrounded by the Porticus Argonautarum (Dion Cass., liii. 27; Mart. iii. 20, 11) ; but its details appear to be later than the reign of Augustus. Another not improbable theory is that it was the temple of Hadrian, mentioned in the Mirabilia (Uhlrichs, Codex Topogr., Wiirtzburg, 1871, p. 107) as being near this spot.

Temple of Venus and Rome

The temple of Venus Felix and Roma Aeterna on the Velia (see fig. 23) was the largest in Rome ; it was pseudo-dipteral with ten Corinthian columns of Greek marble at the ends, and probably twenty at the sides.; it had an outer colonnade round the poribolus of about 180 columns of polished granite and porphyry. Of these only a few fragments now exist; for several centuries the whole area of this building was used as a quarry, while the residue of the marble was burnt into lime on the spot in kilns built of broken fragments of the porphyry columns. A considerable part of the two cellae with their apses, sit back to back, still exists; in each apse was a colossal seated figure of the deity, and along the side walls of the cellae were rows of porphyry columns and statues in niches. The vault is deeply coffered with stucco enrichments once painted and gilt. The roof was covered with tiles of gilt bronze, which were taken by Pope Honorius I. (625-638) to cover the basilica of St Peter's. These were stolen by the Saracens during their sack of the Leonine city in 846. The emperor Hadrian himself designed this magnificent temple, which was partially completed in 135 ; the design was criticized rather severely by the architect Apollodorus (Dion Cass., lxix. 4 ; Spart, Hadr., 19).1 The temple was probably finished by Antoninus Pius ; it was partly burned in the reign of Maxentius, who began its restoration, which was carried on by Constantine (Amm. Marcell., xvi. 10). The existing remains of the two cellae are mainly of Hadrian's time, but contain patches of the later restorations. Between the south angle of this temple and the arch of Constantine stand the remains of a fountain, usually known as the Meta Sudans. This was a tall conical structure in a large circular basin, all lined with marble. From its brick facing it appears to be a work of the Flavian period.

Buildings on Coelian

That part of the Coelian Hill which is near the Colosseum is covered with very extensive remains,—a great peribolus of brick-faced concrete, apparently of Flavian date, and part of a massive travertine arcade, somewhat similar to that of the Colosseum; most of the latter has been removed for the sake of the stone, but a portion still exists under the monastery and campanile of SS. Giovanni e Paolo. What this extensive building was remains doubtful till further excavations are made. According to one theory it is the temple of Claudius, built by Vespasian (Suet, Vesp., 9); but Bunsen's suggestion is much more probable (Bosch., iii. p. 476), that it was the house of Vectilius, bought and probably enlarged by Commodus (Hist. Aug.: Comm., 16), and connected with the Colosseum by a subterranean passage. Such a passage actually exists, and has been partly cleared out.

The so-called temple of Minerva Medica on the eastern slope of the Esquiline (so named from a statue found in it) is probably part of some baths. It is a curiously planned building, with central decagonal domed hall, probably of the time of Gallienus 263-268 (see Canina, Ind. Top., p. 161). Somewhat similar ruins beside the neighbouring basilica of S. Croce have been supposed to belong to a nymphaeum of Severus Alexander, mentioned in the Notitia, Regio v., but are more probably part of the Sessorium, a court of justice on the Esquiline. The remains on the Quirinal in the Colonna gardens of massive marble entablatures richly sculptured were formerly thought to belong to Aurelian's great temple of the Sun, but it now appears certain that they belong to the very extensive thermae of Constantine, part of the site of which is now occupied by the Quirinal palace and neighbouring buildings.2

Private Houses

The excavations of recent years have brought to light, and in many cases destroyed, a large number of domestic buildings; many of these are recorded in the Notizie degli Scavi and the Bull. Comm. Arch. Rom., 1872-1876. The extensive cutting away of the Tiber bank for the new embankment exposed some very ornate houses near the Villa Farnesina, richly decorated with marble, fine wall-paintings, and stucco reliefs, equal in beauty to any works of the kind that have ever been found. Some of these were cut off the wall, and will be exhibited in a new museum about to be formed to contain all ancient works of art found in Rome ; but the houses themselves have been destroyed. The laying out of the new Quirinal and Esquiline quarters also has exposed many fine buildings. One handsome villa, built over the Servian wall, may possibly be
the house of Maecenas. A very remarkable vaulted room, decorated with paintings of plants and landscapes, has been shown to be a greenhouse ; at one end is an apse with a series of step-like stages for flowers. This one room has been preserved, though the rest of the villa has been destroyed ; it is on the road leading from S. Maria Maggiore to the Lateran. The walls are a very fine specimen of tufa opus reticulatum, unmixed with brick, evidently earlier than the Christian era. Among the numerous buildings discovered in the Horti Sallustiani near the Quirinal is a very fine house of the 1st century A.D., in concrete faced with brick and opus reticulatum. It has a central circular domed hall, with many rooms and staircases round it, rising several stories high. This house was set in the valley against a cliff of the Quirinal, so that the third floor is level with the upper part of the hill. It is nearly on the line of the Servian wall, which stood here at a higher level on the edge of the cliff. This is identified as the house of Sallust, which at his death became crown property, and was used as a residence by Nero (Tac, Ann., xiii. 47) and other emperors till the 4th century. In 1884, near the Porta S. Lorenzo, a long line of houses was discovered during the making of a new road. Some of these were of opus reticulatum of the 1st century B.C.; others had the finest kind of brick-facing, probably of the time of Nero ; all had been richly decorated with marble linings and mosaics. The line of the street was parallel to that of the later Aurelian wall, which at this part was built against the back of this row of houses. At the same time, behind the line of houses, were uncovered fine peperino and tufa piers of the aqueduct rebuilt by Augustus, one arch of which forms the Porta S. Lorenzo. These interesting remains have all been completely destroyed. A fine house of the end of the 1st century A.D., with richly decorated walls, was exposed in June 1884 against the slope of the Quirinal, near the Palazzo Colonna ; it was immediately destroyed to make room for new buildings.

Praetorian Camp

The praetorian camp was first made permanent and surrounded with a strong wall by the emperor Tiberius (Suet., Tib., 37). Owing to the camp being included in the line of the Aurelian wall a great part of it still exists ; it is a very interesting specimen of early imperial brick-facing. The wall is only 12 to 14 feet high, and has thinly scattered battlements, at intervals of 20 feet. The north gate (Porta Principalis Dextra) is well preserved; it had a tower on each side, now greatly reduced in height, in which are small windows with arched heads moulded in one slab of terra-cotta. The brick-facing is very neat and regular,—the bricks being about 1 1/2 inches thick, with 1/2 inch joints. On the inside of the wall are rows of small rooms for the guards. Part of the Porta Decumana also remains. This camp was dismantled by Constantine, who removed its inner walls ; the outer ones were left because they formed part of the Aurelian circuit. The present wall is nearly three times the height of the original camp wall. The upper part was added when Aurelian included it in his general circuit wall round Rome. The superior neatness and beauty of Tiberius's brick-facing make it easy to distinguish where his work ends and that of the later emperors begins. Owing to the addition of the later wall it requires some care to trace the rows of battlements which belong to the camp.


The Pantheon is the most perfect among existing classical buildings in Rome (see fig. 24). It was built by Agrippa in 27 B.C., as is recorded on the frieze of the portico. What its original purpose was is not clear ; on the one hand, it forms part of the great thermae built by Agrippa, and in position and design closely resembles the great circular calidarium in the thermae of Caracalla ; on the other hand, it has no hypocaust or hot-air flues, and was certainly consecrated as a temple to Mars, Venus, and other supposed ancestors of Caesar's family very soon after it was built (Dion Cass., liii. 27) ; it was used as the meeting-place of the Fratres Arvales before they began to meet in the temple of Concord (see Henzen, Acta Frat. Arval., 1868, No. 71). It had the name Pantheum apparently from the first; Pliny (H. N., xxxvi. 4) mentions the sculpture by the Athenian Diogenes which adorned it, and its capitals and dome covering of Syracusan bronze (xxxiv. 7): the ceiling of the portico too was of bronze, supported by massive tubular girders, which remained till Urban VIII. melted them to make cannon for S. Angelo and the baldacchino of St Peter's ; the bronze weighed 450,000 lb. The bronze tiles of the dome were stolen long before by Constans II., in 663, but on their way to Constantinople they were seized by the Saracens. The portico has eight columns on the front and three on the sides, all granite monoliths except the restored ones on the east side,—sixteen in all. The capitals are Corinthian, of white marble; the tympanum (deros) of the pediment was filled with bronze reliefs of the battle of the gods and the giants. The walls of the circular part, nearly 20 feet thick, are of solid tufa concrete, thinly faced with brick. The enormous dome, 142 feet 6 inches in span, is cast in concrete made of pumicestone, pozzolana, and lime; being one solid mass, it covers the building like a shell, free from any lateral thrust at the haunches. Mound the central opening or hypaethrum still remains a ring of enriched mouldings in gilt bronze, the only bit left of the bronze which once covered the whole dome. The lower story of the circular part find the walls of the projecting portico were covered with slabs of Greek marble; a great part of the latter still remains, enriched with

FIG. 24.—Plan of Pantheon and part of thermae of Agrippa. A. Angle of portico rebuilt in 17th century. B, B. Niches which contained colossal statues of Augustus and Agrippa. C. Pedestal for statue, and apse added by with Hadrian.

Corinthian pilasters and bands of sculptured ornament. The two upper stories of the drum were covered outside with hard stucco of pounded marble. Inside the whole was lined with a great variety of rich Oriental marbles. This magnificent interior, divided into two orders by an entablature supported on columns and pilasters, has been much injured by alteration ; but the materials are ancient, and the general eifeet is probably much the same as it was, not in the time of Agrippa, but after the restorations of Hadrian (Spart., Hadr., 181) and Severus, when the magnificently coloured porphyries and Oriental marbles were so largely used. About 608 the Pantheon was given by Phocas to Boniface IV., who consecrated it as the church of S. Maria ad Martyres.

Thermae of Agrippa

In 1881-82 the destruction of a row of houses behind the Pantheon exposed remains of a grand hall with richly sculptured entablature on Corinthian columns, part of the great thermae of Agrippa, which extend beyond the Via della Ciambella (fig. 24). A great part of the thermae appears from the brick stamps to belong to an extensive restoration in the reign of Hadrian, and bricks of his time are even said to have been found in the facing of the Pantheon itself. (See BATHS, vol. iii. p. 434 sq.)

Close by the Pantheon is the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, which stands (as its name records) on the site of a temple to Minerva Chalcidica, probably founded by the great Pompey c. 60 B.C. Adjoining this were temples to Isis and Serapis, a cult which became very popular in Rome in the time of Hadrian ; large quantities of sculpture, Egypto-Roman in style, have been found on this site at many different times.

Firemen's Barracks

Several of the barracks (excubitoria) of the various cohorts of the vigiles or firemen have been discovered in various parts of Rome. The central depôt is buried under the Palazzo Savorelli ; that of the second cohort is on the Esquiline, near the so-called temple of Minerva Medica ; that of the third was found in 1873 near the baths of Diocletian (see Bull. Comm. Arch. Rom., 1873). The most perfect is that of the 7th cohort near S. Crisogono in Trastevere, a handsome house of the 2d century, decorated with mosaic floors, wall-paintings, &c.

The excavations made in exposing the ancient church of S. Clemente brought to light interesting remains of many different periods ; drawings are given by Mullooly, St Clement's Basilica, 1869, and De Rossi, Bull. Arch. Crist., 1870, pt. iv.

Golden House of Nero

Many remains exist of the Golden House of Nero, which show that this gorgeous palace covered an almost incredibly large space of ground, extending from the Palatine, over the Velia and the site of the temple of Venus and Rome, to the Esquiline, filling the great valley between the Ccelian and the Esquiline where the Colosseum stands, and reaching far over the Esquiline to the great reservoir now called the "Sette Sale." No other extravagances or cruelties of Nero appear to have oifended the Roman people so much as the erection of this enormous palace, which must have blocked up many important roads and occupied the site of a whole populous quarter. It was no doubt partly to make restitution for this enormous theft of land that Vespasian and Titus destroyed the Golden House and built the Colosseum and public thermae of Titus on part of its site. Under the substructions of the latter building extensive remains of the Golden House still exist ; and at one point, at a lower level still, pavements and foundations remain of one of the numerous houses destroyed by Nero to clear the site. The great bronze colossus of Nero, 120 feet high (Suet., Nero, 31), which stood in one of the portions of the Golden House, was moved by Vespasian, with head and attributes altered to those of Apollo (Helios), on to the Velia ; and it was moved again by Hadrian, when the temple of Rome was built, on to the base which still exists near the Colosseum. Several coins show this colossus by the side of the Colosseum.

Septa Julia

Under the Palazzo Doria, the church of S. Maria in Via Lata, and other neighbouring buildings extensive remains exist of a great porticus, with long rows of travertine piers ; this building appears to he represented on fragments of the marble plan with the words SAEPT .. . LIA. This is probably the Septa Julia, begun by Julius Caesar, and completed by Agrippa in 27 B.C., as the voting place for the Comitia Centuriata, divided into compartments, one for each century. The building contained rostra, and was also used for gladiatorial shows. Under the later empire it became a bazaar and resort of slave-dealers.

That curiously planned building on the Esquiline, in the new Piazza Vit. Emmanuele, where the so-called trophies of Marius once were placed (see drawing by Du Perac in his Vestigj), is one of the numerous castella or reservoirs from which the water of the various aqueducts was distributed in the quarters they were meant to supply. This was built by Severus Alexander at the termination of his Alexandrine aqueduct, opened in 225 (see Lamprid., Hist. Aug.: Sen. Alex., 25). The marble trophies are now set at the top of the Capitoline steps ; their quarry mark shows them to be of the time of Domitian : it consists of the following inscription, now not visible, as it is cut on the under part—IMP. DOM. AVG. GERM. PER . CHREZ . LIB . ______.


5 For drawings of them see Ann. Inst., 1850, p. 347, and Mori. Inst., v. 24; also Labacco, Architettura, 1557.
6 The remains of the Porticus Octavia; are now being more completely exposed by the demolition of the Ghetto.
This, however, is not conclusive, as the temple of Neptune may have been completely rebuilt after the fire which injured it in 80.

1 The existence of some chambers in the podium near the Colosseum and the great platform by which this temple is raised above the Sacra Via make it appear that the criticisms of Apollodorus were made before Hadrian's design was carried out, and that the emperor had the good sense to adopt the suggestion of his professional critic.
2 See Palladio (Terme dei Romani, London, 1732), who gives the plan of this enormous building, now wholly hidden or destroyed.

Bull. Inst., 1875 ; see also Bull. Comm. Arch., 1874, where drawings are given.
During excavations made here in 1876 lead pipes were found inscribed with the name of the estate, the imperial owner (Severus Alexander), and the plumber who made them—HORTORVM . SALLVSTIAN . IMP . SEV . ALEXANDRI. AVG. NAEVIVS . MANES. FECIT.
The demolition of the block of houses which was built against it at the back has exposed the point of junction between the Pantheon and the thermae. It is now apparent that the Pantheon originally was an isolated building, and that the union of it and the thermae was a later alteration.

1 Drawings of this interesting bronze work by Sallustio Peruzzi are preserved in the Uffizi at Florence.
2 On the architrave is cut an inscription recording the restoration of the Pantheon by Severus iu 202.
3 The Pantheon still possesses its original doors between fluted pilasters, and over them an open screen, all of bronze. Other ancient bronze doors stilt exist in the temple of Romulus, the La te ran basilica, and in its baptistery, the latter taken from the thermte of Caracalla.
4 The plan of the whole group, including the Pantheon, is given by Palladio (op. cit.). The recent discoveries are given by Lanciani, Not. d. Scant, 18S2, p. 357, with a valuable plan. The one given by Canina is worthless. See also Maes, II Pantheon,, 1881 ; Geymiiller, Documents inédits sur les 'Thermes d'Agrippa, Lausanne, 1S83 ; Nispi-Landi, Il Pantheon, 1882 ; Adler, Das Pantheon, Berlin, 1871 ; and Hirt, Das Pantheon, Berlin, 1807.
5 Part of the Serapeum is shown on a fragment of the marble plan ; see Jordan, For. Ur. Rom.
6 See Maruechi, "Le Scoperte dell' Iséo Campense," in Bidl. Comm. Arch.
7 See De Rossi, "Vigili,11 in Ann. Inst, 1858 ; Visconti, Coorte VII. de' Vigili,
1867. 8 See Fea, Cam Aurea, 1832.
8 See Romanis, Terme di Tito, 1S22. It should be noted that the paintings
Bom.. JS83, and Ann. Inst., 1853 ; Fea, Miscell., ecliv. 112.
9 See Romanis, Terme di Tito, 1S22. It should be noted that the paintings
said in this and other works to have belonged to the baths of Titus really decorated the Golden House, over which the baths were built. The substruc-tures of Titus's building are absolutely without ornament, and were almost devoid of light.
10 See Bruzza, in Ann. Inst., 1870, and Lenormant, Trophées de Marins, Blois, 1842. This once magnificent building, with the marble trophies in their place, is shown with much minuteness on a bronze medallion of Severus Alexander (see Froehner, Médaillons de l'Empire, Paris, 1S78, p. 169).

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