Vespasianus Divus Templum

Richardson, L. jr

Vespasianus, Divus, Templum (Fig. 19): a temple that Titus began and Domitian completed, called Templum Vespasiani et Titi (Chron. 146; regionary catalogues for Regio VIII), but only Vespasian's name appeared on the architrave (CIL 6.938 = ILS 255). Below Vespasian's name was added a second line commemorating a restoration by Septimius Severus and Caracalla. The inscription was complete in the eighth century and was copied in the Einsiedeln sylloge but is now reduced to the last few letters. The temple stands at the northwest end of the Forum Romanum against the base of the Tabularium, above the Clivus Capitolinus between the Temple of Concordia and the Porticus Deorum Consentium.

The temple was prostyle, hexastyle, 33 m deep by 22 m wide, and the order was Corinthian. The concrete core of the podium of the temple survives, which blocks the entrance to the stair that earlier led from the forum through the base of the Tabularium to the area Inter Duos Lucos on the Capitoline. The podium preserves some of its peperino lining and travertine facing. There are poor fragments of the cella wall in travertine and the base for the cult statues at the rear of the cella. Inside and out, the temple was revetted with marble. The glory of the temple is the three columns of the southeast corner of the pronaos that still stand and carry a part of the entablature, having been reinforced by Valadier in 1811, at which time a section of the whole entablature was restored, perhaps the finest example of the Flavian style of decoration in existence. The section is now kept in the Tabularium. The frieze of sacrificial implements and apparatus between bucrania and the resolution of classical moldings into floral ornament of various sorts are especially interesting. The columns are 1.57 m in diameter, 13.20 m high, and decidedly elongated. Because the space available was very limited, the cella was squarish, but broader than deep, and the stair of approach continued between the columns. It is believed that there were columns in the interior of the cella, but of these nothing remains.

Lugli 1946, 114; Nash 2.501-4; RendPontAcc 60 (1987-88): 53-69 (P. Rockwell), 71-90 (R. Nardi)

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