Temple of Concord

Temple of Concord

Dedicated to the Roman goddess Concordia (goddess of concord and harmony), the Temple of Concord was vowed in 367 BC to commemorate reconciliation between patricians and plebians after the Aventine Secession. The Licinian laws, expanding the civil rights of the commoners or ‘plebians’, had been proposed and were eventually accepted despite great opposition by the patricians. M. Furius Camillus had promised to consecrate a temple to Concordia if peace was made. As part of the agreement between the two groups the first plebian consul was elected and going forward one of the two consuls was required to be a plebian. Centrally located between the Capitoline Hill and the Comitium, the Temple served as a reminder of the peace that had been established. In 211 B.C. a statue of Victory on its roof was struck down by lightning. In order to foster harmony after the murder of Gaius Gracchus, the Temple was rebuilt in 121 BC. The original dedication probably taking place on the 22nd of July. It was rededicated on January 16, 12 AD by the future emperor Tiberius during the reign of Augustus. This final restoration was noted for its opulent marble and rich architectural ornamentation. The cella, (central chamber or sanctuary of the temple) housed a row of Corinthian columns. These columns had pairs of leaping rams instead of the traditional corner volutes and were raised on a continuous plinth projecting from the wall that divided the cella into bays. Part of the function of the Temple appears to have been as a museum since it housed a wealth of Greek sculpture, paintings, and other works of...
Shrine of Cloacina – Sacrum Cloacina

Shrine of Cloacina – Sacrum Cloacina

Shrine of Cloacina or Sacrum Cloacina The Sacrum Cloacina was a shrine to Cloacina, an Etruscan diety who may well have been associated with the small brook that would eventually become the sewer of Rome, the Cloaca Maxima. Cloacina’s name may be a derivation of the Latin verb cloare (to purify or to clean), or the noun cloaca (sewer). For unknown reasons, the goddess would eventually become associated with the Roman goddess Venus and be called Venus Cloacina. The shrine was located in the Roman Forum in front of the Tabernae Novae (new shops and eventual location of the Basilica Aemilia) on the Via Sacra. The foundations of the shrine were discovered directly in front of the Basilica Aemilia in 1899-1901. They stand over the drain that flows under the Basilica, near the point where it drains into the Cloaca Maxima. The remains consist of a round marble base, except on the west side where there is a rectangular projection. It appears that the foundation of the shrine was raised over time, probably as the Basilica encroached on it. Coins minted around 42 BC give a clear visual representation of the shrine. The coins show the legend CLOACIN, with two statues of females standing on a round sacellum (small, uncovered shrine) with a metal balustrade. Each statue has a low pillar with a bird on it. One is holding an object in her hand (possibly a flower) or waving. Tradition ascribes the shrine to Titus Tatius, the Sabine king (8th century BC), during the reign of Romulus though it seems more reasonable that it would have been erected some...

All Roads Lead to Rome – Milliarium Aureum

In 20 BC, Augustus, as curator viarum or inspector-in-chief of a road or roads, erected the Milliarium Aureum. This monument was most likely a marble column sheathed in gilded bronze and was adjacent to the Rostra on the opposite side from the Umbilicus Urbis. A huge marble cylinder matching this description was found in 1835 near this location. All roman roads were considered to begin from this point and distances in the Roman Empire were measured relative to that point. Hence, the saying ‘All roads lead to Rome’ was surely a reference to the Milliarium Aureum. There are three main hypotheses about what the inscription on the monument contained: 1. It contained only the name and title of the Emperor. 2. It contained the names of the most important cities of Italy and the Empire with the distances to them from Rome. 3. It contained the names of the roads out of Rome and the men who had been made curator viarum to oversee the upkeep of them. While there are marble fragments in the Forum Romanum labeled Milliarium Aureum, scholars tend to believe these fragments actually are from the Umbilicus Urbis. The derived diameter of these fragments match the diameter of the Umbilicus Urbis and would have probably been too large for a milestone monument. Items from the Creating History...
Scalae Gemoniæ

Scalae Gemoniæ

The Scalae Gemoniæ was a flight of steps leading up to the Capitoline past the carcer, on which the bodies of certain criminals, who had been executed, were thrown and left exposed for a time — a frequent practice during the empire. They are often mentioned, first under Tiberius, and are called scalae Gemoniæ, …gradus gemitorii, and…gradus Gemonii. Only two…passages give any topographical information, but that does not determine the course of these steps with precision. It is probable, however, that it coincided approximately with the present Via di S. Pietro in carcere. It is possible that the Gradus Monetae, mentioned by Ovid, may have connected in some way with these steps. Gemoniæ was undoubtedly connected in the popular mind with gemo, ‘I groan’ but incorrectly. It is rather derived from the proper name Gemonius, but the reason for its use is unknown. The most famous to be meet their demise on the sight were the former confidant of Tiberius, Sejanus; and the emperor Vitellius. Death of Sejanus and his Family Cassius Dio mentions the Scalae in Roman History – Book LVIII: ‘For the moment, it is true, he [Sejanus] was merely cast into prison; but a little later, in fact that very day, the senate associated in the temple of Concord not far from the jail, when they saw the attitude of the populace and that none of the Pretorians was about,…condemned him to death. By their order he was executed and his body cast down the Stairway [Scalae Gemoniæ], where the rabble abused it for three whole days and afterwards threw it into the river. His children...
The Forum of Julius Caesar

The Forum of Julius Caesar

The Forum Iulium was the first of the so‑called imperial fora, begun by Julius Caesar and designed, not for a market, but to provide a centre for business of other kinds. The plan of this forum had been conceived as early as 54 B.C., for in that year Cicero and Oppius engaged in purchasing land for Caesar from private owners, and had already paid sixty million sesterces. More land was acquired afterwards, and the final cost is said to have been one hundred million sesterces, a sum perhaps exaggerated. Work was probably begun in 51, during Caesar’s absence in Gaul. At the battle of Pharsalus Caesar vowed a temple to Venus Genetrix, the mythical ancestress of the Julian gens, and proceeded to build it in the centre of his forum, which thus became in effect a porticus surrounding the temple, a type followed in all the later fora. Temple and forum were dedicated on the last day of Caesar’s great triumph, 26th September, 46 B.C., although the forum was not finished by Caesar, but by Octavianus after the dictator’s death. In the forum Caesar allowed the erection of a statue of himself wearing a cuirass, and he himself dedicated a statue of his horse with ‘humanis similes pedes priores’, on which the dictator was mounted. In front of the temple stood a fountain surrounded by nymphs, called Appiades. The forum was burned in 283 A.D. and restored by Diocletian. While the official designation was forum Iulium it appears regularly in our sources as forum Caesaris. The temple of Venus was pycnostyle and built of solid marble. The statue of...
The Forum of Augustus

The Forum of Augustus

The Forum Augustum or Augusti was the second of the imperial fora, adjoining the Forum Iulium, built by Augustus to provide additional room for the courts, and for other needs of the increasing population. The site was purchased by Augustus from its owners with the proceeds of the spoils of war, but he did not succeed in acquiring enough land to carry out his original plan. Within the forum was the temple of Mars Ultor which formed the essential element of the forum as the temple of Venus Genetrix did that of the forum Iulium. The work was greatly delayed, but that on the forum was hurried at last and this was opened before the temple was finished, although its actual dedication is said to have taken place on 1st August, 2 B.C., at the same time as that of the temple. Because of the temple of Mars, this forum was sometimes called forum Martis. In 19 A.D. Tiberius erected two arches, one on each side of the temple, in honour of the victories of Drusus and Germanicus in Germany. Pliny regarded this forum with the temple of Peace and the basilica Aemilia, as the three most beautiful buildings in the world, and says that the timber used in its construction was cut in the Raetian Alps in the dog days, considered to be the best time. In fact, wooden dowels were found in the sixteenth century so well preserved that they could be used again. As might be expected, many works of art were collected in the forum, including a quadriga dedicated by the senate to Augustus; and...