Iulius Divus Aedes

Richardson, L. jr

Iulius, Divus, Aedes (Figs. 48, 49): the Temple of the Deified Julius Caesar, begun by the triumvirs in 42 B.C. (Cass. Dio 47.18.4) in the place where the corpse had been cremated by the people, and completed by Octavian and dedicated on 18 August 29 B.C. (Cass. Dio 51.22.2; Augustus, RG 19; Degrassi 497). Where the body was burned, at the east end of the Forum Romanum in front of the Regia, an altar and a column of giallo antico marble inscribed Parenti Patriae were erected shortly after the event (Suetonius Iul. 85; Appian BellCiv 2.148), but then Dolabella removed them and obliterated all trace of them (Cicero Att. 14.15.1; Cicero Phil 1.5). The dedication of the temple was celebrated with great games (Cass. Dio 51.22.4-9); it had the right of asylum (Cass. Dio 47.19.2); and the Arval Brethren met there (CIL 6.2051.55). Later it was repaired by Hadrian, a fact attested by coins, but with no change of the architectural style.

The available space dictated to some extent the architectural form. A high platform in front, 3.50 m high, served as a rostra and was decorated with the beaks of the ships taken at Actium (Cass. Dio 51.19.2); it was known as the Rostra Aedis Divi Iuli, or Rostra Iulia (Frontinus Aq. 2.129; Cass. Dio 56.34.4). Tiberius delivered the eulogy of Augustus from it (Suetonius Aug. 100.3), and the emperors frequently used it for public addresses. It was approached from behind by a lateral ramp on either side, and in the center of the front a deep semicircular niche walled off across the front contains the concrete core of a small circular structure in three steps, which has been interpreted as a restoration of the altar first installed on the site of the pyre, but is more likely the Puteal Libonis (q.v.). At ground level the ramps of approach are extended along the sides of the platform as arcades, being connected behind the temple by an oblique cryptoporticus and continued along the northeast side of the Regia. These covered walks have been identified as the Porticus Iulia (q.v.).

The temple proper thus was surrounded by single storey annexes on all sides and rose on a second platform 2.36 m high, which was approached from the front by a short stair passing between the columns of the façade. It was hexastyle, prostyle, with both pronaos and cella broad shallow rectangles of equal depth. Little remains of the columns or superstructure, except for a few fragments of the entablature, pilasters that decorated the interior, and marble beams of the roof, but Vitruvius (Vitruvius 3.3.2) tells us that the temple was pycnostyle, with columns spaced at close intervals of one and one-half diameters, which must have emphasized the verticality of the whole building and repeated with significant emphasis the aesthetic of the Forum Iulium and the Temple of Venus Genetrix. From the fragments we learn that the order was Corinthian (?), the frieze decorated with floral scrollwork and archaizing winged figures.

In the cella was a colossal statue of Julius Caesar, possibly with a star mounted on the head (Suetonius Iul. 83; Pliny HN 2.93-94; but cf. Cass. Dio 45.7.1). On coins of Augustus (Crawford 540/1; Lugli 1946, 201 and fig. 45) the cult statue is shown capite velato, holding a lituus, with a star in the pediment of the temple. Because Caesar is known to have been an augur (as well as Pontifex Maximus), this is probably correct. Here Augustus (Augustus RG 21) dedicated offerings from the spoils of war, among which may have been the paintings of Apelles of the Dioscuri with Victoria and Venus Anadyomene mentioned by Pliny (Pliny HN 35.27, Pliny HN 35.91, Pliny HN 35.93). When the latter deteriorated and could not be restored, Nero substitued for it another by Dorotheus.

Lugli 1946, 198-201; Nash 1.512-14; S. Weinstock, Divus Iulius (Oxford 1971), 385-401; MonAnt 48 (1973): 257-83 (M. Montagna Pasquinucci); Athenaeum 52 (1974): 144-55 (M. Montagna Pasquinucci); Roma, archeologia nel centro [1985], 1.67-72 [M. G. Cecchini); Arctos 21 (1967): 147-56 (E. M. Steinby).

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