Augustus Divus Templum

Richardson, L. jr

Augustus, Divus, Templum: one of the thorniest problems in all of the topography of ancient Rome, a temple built by Tiberius (Cass. Dio 57.10.2). Tiberius either did not finish it, or finished it but did not dedicate it (Suetonius Tib. 47; Tacitus Ann. 6.45). It was dedicated by Caligula (Suetonius Calig. 21), the day of dedication probably being 5 October, and the statue of Diva Livia was added by Claudius (Cass. Dio 60.5). It was used by Caligula as one of the supports for his famous bridge connecting the Palatine with the Capitoline (Suetonius Calig. 22). It was destroyed by fire sometime before A.D. 79 (Pliny HN 12.94) and evidently restored by Domitian, at which time it was connected with, or close to, a shrine of Minerva, possibly the library mentioned below (Martial 4.53.1-2; CIL 16.36-157, 160-89). It was extensively restored by Antoninus Pius, whose coins show it as octastyle with Corinthian capitals and containing two statues. The last mention of it is in a military diploma of A.D. 298 (CIL 16.156).

It is shown on coins of Caligula (B.M. Coins, Rom. Emp. 1 Caligula nos. 41-43, 58, 69) as hexastyle with Ionic or Corinthian columns, a sculptured pediment, and, on the roof, a central acroterion of a quadriga and lateral acroteria of Romulus with the spolia opima and Aeneas leading Ascanius and carrying Anchises. As rebuilt by Antoninus and shown very frequently on his coins (B. M. Coins. Rom. Emp. 4 Antoninus Pius nos. 916, 938-43, 1652, 1718, 1729, 2051, 2063-66, 2070, 2072, 2079, 2098), it is octastyle with Corinthian columns and the same program of acroteria.

In literature it is called Templum Augusti or Divi Augusti, except by Martial (Martial 4.53.2) and Suetonius (Suetonius Tib. 74), who call it Templum Novum, a name that it seems to have been given early and that appears in the Acta Fratrum Arvalium (e.g., CIL 6.32346.10, 2041.5, 2042a.28 = ILS 230, CIL 6.2051.14), along with the variant Templum Divi Augusti Novum (CIL 6.2028e.12, 2044c.5, 32345). It contained a painting of Hyacinthus by Nicias of Athens (Pliny HN 35.131) and other treasures (Pliny HN 12.94). Connected with it was a library, the Bibliotheca Templi Divi Augusti (q.v.) or Templi Novi established by Tiberius. It is generally agreed that the large Domitianic building of brick-faced concrete often proposed to be the Temple of Augustus is rather an entrance hall to the Domus Tiberiana. The temple is presumed to lie somewhere to the west of this, behind the Basilica Iulia, in an area that has never been excavated.

BullCom 69 (1941): 29-58 (G. Lugli); Lugli 1946, 185-91; Nash 1.164; Athenaeum 52 (1974): 287-88 (R. E. A. Palmer).

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