Antoninus et Faustina, Templum

Richardson, L. jr

Built by Antoninus Pius in Regio IV on the north side of the Sacra Via just east of the street (Corneta?) dividing it from the Basilica Paulli in honor of his deified wife, who died in A.D. 141 (S.H.A. Ant. Pius 6.7). After his own death and deification in 161, the temple was rededicated to both (S.H.A. Ant. Pius 13.4). The first dedication is inscribed on the architrave and the second on the frieze, the decoration of which was chiseled away to receive it (CIL VI 1005).Thereafter, it was properly known as the Templum Divi Antonini et Divae Faustinae (CIL VI 2001). It was called the Templum Faustinae (S.H.A. Salon. 1.4 [Gall. 19.4] ; Notitia) and Templum Divi Pii (S.H.A. Carac. 4.2). It is shown on coins of Faustina (Cohen ed. 2, Faustine mère 64-71, 191-94, 253-55, 274; RIC 3.69-76 nos. 343, 354, 388, 396,406 and 162-169 nos. 1115, 1137, 1138, 1148, 1152, 1168, 1195).

The temple was raised on a lofty podium faced with blocks of peperino finished with moldings at base and crown, with a stair extending across the whole front. In the middle of the stair are remains of an altar. A fragment of marble relief with figures of gods in archaistic style has been identified as belonging to this altar (Lissi 1957 50-57). At the top of the stair were squarish statue bases to either side. Most of the stair has disappeared, robbed out for building material, but in 1899 the removal of the later pavement of the Sacra Via brought to light the three lowest steps of the stair, and it has since been reconstructed.

The temple was hexastyle, prostyle, with two additional columns to either side of the pronaos. The columns are monoliths of cipollino with Corinthian capitals and bases of white marble. The entablature in white marble ran down the flanks and probably around the whole building. The frieze is carved with griffins and scrolls flanking candelabra. The cornice, fragments of which are still in place, is elaborate in the Antonine taste. Although the tympanum was dismantled and destroyed, fragments of it and of the lateral antefixes showing female figures carrying cornucopias have been recovered and made reconstruction possible.

The lateral walls of the cella are of peperino ashlar masonry, built into the church of S. Lorenzo in Miranda. On the coins the temple is shown with pedimental sculptures and acroteria, but of these there is no trace today. Fragments of a colossal male and a colossal female statue were found, which are probably to be identified as the cult statues. The whole temple was revetted with marble plates simulating drafted ashlar above a plain dado that have disappeared. For the history of the church into which the temple was converted, see Hülsen 1927 288-89.

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