Roman Conquest of Italy

Developments at Rome

Roman Temples: Temples of Concordia

Cult Sites of Concordia in Rome

Stephen Heyworth (referenced below, at pp. 57-8) pointed out that our surviving sources indicate six shrines or temples dedicated to Concordia in Rome in the period up to 10 AD, when the most securely authenticated of them, the Temple of Concordia Augusta in the Forum, was dedicated.  He also noted (at p. 59) that this the Temple of Concordia Augusta is the only one of the six that the sources characterise as a restoration of an earlier temple of this dedication. 


To follow

Cnaeus Flavius (304 BC)

Possible location of Flavius’ Aedicula Concordae

Adapted from from this site by René Seindal, based on Filippo Coarelli, referenced below, Figure 5

According to Livy:

  1. “... a government scribe, Cnaeus Flavius, ... [the son of a freedman], was curule aedile [in 304 BC. ... Although there is variance among the sources for his fitness for this office], there is no difference of opinion about the stubbornness of his contention with the nobles, who despised his lowly birth.   He [offended them even more by:

  2. publishing] the legis actiones (formal procedures used in civil law), which had previously been kept in the secret archives of the pontiffs; and

  3. posting the dies fasti (days on which business could be conducted) on notice boards in the Forum, so that anyone was able to establish when legal actions could be brought.  

  4. He dedicated a temple of Concordia in area Volcani [precinct of Vulcan], greatly to the resentment of the nobles; and Cornelius Barbatus, the pontifex maximus, was forced by the unanimous wishes of the people to dictate the form of words to him, though he [Barbatus] asserted that, by ancient custom, only a consul or commanding general might dedicate a temple”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 46: 1-7).

Pliny the Elder also recorded Flavius’ radical anti-patrician actions as aedile, although his account of Favius’ ‘temple’ is different in important respects from that of Livy: according to Pliny, Flavius:

  1. “... made a vow to erect a temple to Concordia if he succeeded in effecting a reconciliation between the [patricians] and the people.  [However, since] the necessary money was not forthcoming from public funds, he used the fines paid by usurers to build a small bronze shrine on the Graecostasis, which, at that date, stood above the Comitium.  He recorded in an inscription engraved on a bronze tablet that the shrine had been constructed 204 years after the consecration of the Capitoline temple [which, according to tradition, was in 509 BC]”, (‘Natural History’, 33: 6).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 621) observed that:

  1. “Since aediles regularly used money from fines for public works, Pliny’s statement that the refusal of public funds by the Senate forced Flavius to spend fines taken from money-lenders is not above suspicion.”

Cicero recorded more information on Flavius. publication of official documents: 

  1. “[In relation to] Cn. Flavius, son of Annius, ...  he was curule aedile ... [and is known to have published]  the dies fasti.  It seems that, at one time, the tablet containing them had been kept secret, so that information as to days for doing business might only be ascertains from a a small number of people. And indeed, several of our authorities relate that a scribe named Cn. Flavius published the fasti and the  legis actiones (formal procedures used in civil law)”, (Letter to Atticus, 6: 1: 8).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 609) suggested that:

  1. “... Flavius published in rudimentary form the legis actiones so that the people could have easier access to the correct procedures for litigation.”

Location of Flavius’ Temple

The testimonies above locate Flavius’ temple in area Volcani  (Livy) and of the Graecostasis (Pliny). A passage by Varro locates the Graecostasis in relation to a later temple of Concord built by L. Opimus (see below):

  1. “The Comitium ... was [the place where the people of Rome] coibant (came together) for [meetings of] the comitia curiata ... and for lawsuits.  The curiae (other main meeting-houses) are of two kinds:

  2. those where the priests were to attend to affairs of the gods; ... and

  3. those where the Senate should attend to affairs of men.

  4. In front of [these] is the Rostra (speaker’s platform) ... A little to the right of it, in the direction of the Comitium, is a lower platform, where the envoys of the nations who had been sent to the Senate were to wait; this ... [was known as] the Graecostasis (platform of the Greeks).  Above it was the Senaculum  (platform of the Senate), where the temple of Concord and the Basilica of Opimius are ...”, (‘On the Latin Language’, 5: 155-6, based on the translation by Roland Kent, referenced below, at p. 147).

In other words, Opimus’ temple looked down on the Graecostasis and the Comitium.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 625) observed that Flavius’ temple:

  1. “... seems not to have survived into the late Republic: perhaps it was knocked down to make way for Opimus’ reconstruction of the large temple of Concordia that stood nearby.”

Lucius Manlius  (216 BC)

According to Livy, in 216 BC, the Romans:

  1. “ ... were concerned that the contract for the temple of Concord, which the praetor Lucius Manlius had vowed two years before in Gaul, during the mutiny of the soldiers, had hitherto not been let.  Accordingly the Urban Praetor, Marcus Aemilius, appointed Caius Pupius and Caeso Quinctius Flamininus as duoviri, and they arranged to have the temple built on the Arx”, (‘History of Rome’. 22: 33: 7-8).

According to the fasti Antiates Maiores, on a temple was dedicated on 5th February to 'Concord(iae) in Capit(olio)’.

Lucius Opimius (121 BC)

Joseph Farrell (referenced below, at p. 77, with references at note 77) observed that:

  1. “The most notorious dedication to [Concordia in Rome] was the immediate forerunner of Tiberius’ temple [see below, which is] the only ... structure ... [related to the cult of Concordia that was certainly] built during the Republic.  This is the Aedes Concordiae dedicated in 121 ... by L. Opimius.  This temple was a political statement of particularly Orwellian character, a declaration of victory in what was probably the bloodiest episode of civil disturbance in Rome prior to the war between Marius and Sulla.  [It was thus], in effect, a triumphal monument to a civil war.  As consul during the [radical] tribunate of C. Gracchus, and fortified by the senatus consultum ultimum ([i.e., a formal sentence of death], which was passed on this occasion for the first time in history), Opimius supervised the murder of  Gracchus and his immediate followers and then rounded up and executed hundreds and perhaps thousands of additional Gracchani.”

Appian recorded that:

  1. “After this [carnage], a lustration of the city was performed for the bloodshed, and the Senate ordered the building of a temple to Concord in the Forum”, (‘Civil Wars’, 1: 26).) .

As Plutarch observed:

  1. “ ... what vexed the people more than [any of these dreadful events] was the erection of a temple of Concord by Opimius; for it was felt that he was ... celebrating a triumph within view of all this slaughter of citizens.  Therefore at night, beneath the inscription on the temple, somebody carved [graffiti proclaiming ironically that]: ‘A work of mad discord produces a temple of Concord’", (‘Life of Caius Gracchus’, 17: 6)

Arnaldo Momigliano  (referenced below, at p. 115) argued that:

  1. “It must be assumed for archaeological reasons, although it is never stated in our literary evidence, that this is the temple which Tiberius rebuilt as an aedes Concordiae Augustae and dedicated on 16 January 10 AD [see below].”

Temple of Concordia Augusta (10 AD)

Adapted from Stephen Heyworth (referenced below, Figure 2, at p. 51)

According to Cassius Dio, in 7 BC, Tiberius, the stepson of the Emperor Augustus and his most senior general:

  1. “... having assumed the duty of restoring the temple of Concordia so that he might inscribe his own name and that of [his dead brother] Drusus upon it, celebrated his triumph [over the Germans].  Then, in company with his mother [Livia], he dedicated the so-called precinct of Livia [see below]. He gave a banquet to the Senate on the Capitol, and she gave one on her own account to the women somewhere or other”, (‘Roman History’, 55: 8: 2).

As Michael Swan (referenced below, at p. 73) observed, Tiberius had been awarded this triumph in the previous year and would probably now:

  1. “... have received approval to proceed with [the restoration of this temple], to be financed from spoils of German victories.”

For reasons that are still debated, Tiberius withdrew from public life in 6 BC and left Rome: according to Cassius Dio, he:

  1. “... made the journey [to Rhodes] as a private citizen, though he exercised his authority by compelling the people of Paros to sell him the statue of Vesta, in order that it might be placed in the temple of Concord”, (‘Roman History’, 55: 9: 6).

Thus, it seems that, Tiberius remained involved with this project even after is departure from Rome.

In 10 AD, by which time Tiberius had been reconciled with and adopted by Augustus and was widely expected to succeed him, he:

  1. “.... [dedicated] the temple of Concord, ... and his own name was inscribed upon it, together with that of Drusus, his dead brother”, (‘Roman History’, 56: 25: 1).

Two calendar-based fasti record its dedication on 16th January:

  1. The Augustan fasti Praenestini record that, on this date:

  2. “Imp. Caesar [i.e. Octavian] was named [Augustus] when he was consul for the 7th time ... [in 27 BC]”;

  3. “The temple of Concordia Augusta [was dedicated] when P.Dolabella and C.Silvanus were consuls [10 AD]; and

  4. Tiberius Caesar [.....]ed from Pa[....].

  5. Stephen Heyworth (referenced below, at p. 68), who assumed that the second and third lines referred to the dedication of the temple, observed that they were:

  6. “... clearly in a second hand, added perhaps in 10 AD, when the temple was [dedicated], or perhaps after Tiberius became princeps [in 14 AD].”

  7. However, Michael Swan (referenced below, at pp. 367-8) noted the possibility that the third line might not have referred to the dedication of this temple.

  8. The fasti Verulani, which belong to Tiberius’ reign, record this as the dies natalis  of the aedes Concordiae in foro.

Ovid’s poetic fasti recorded that, on 16th January:

  1. “... bright Concord was placed in a snow-white temple where tall [Juno] Moneta raises her lofty steps [see the stairs of Moneta on the map above], now enjoying an excellent view of the Latin throng [in the Forum]: now sacred hands [those of Tiberius] have restored you”, (‘Fasti’, 1: 637–40, from the translation by Steve Green, used by Joseph Farrell, referenced below, at pp. 61-2). 

The podium of this temple can still be seen in this location, as discussed in the website ‘Digitales Forum Romanum’.  Stephen Heyworth (referenced below, at p. 68) pointed out that, like the entry in the fasti Praenestini, this was an addition to an existing text: Ovid had been exiled in 8 AD with only the first half of his work complete, and he must have added this entry after the temple’s dedication two years later.  Thus, while Concordia could look down on the throng in the forum, he was no longe able to do so.

Ovid then looked back to what he claimed were the origins of the temple that Tiberius had restored:

  1. “[Marcus Furius Camillus], the conqueror of the Etruscan people, had vowed a temple long ago,  and he had redeemed the promise of his vow.  His motive was that the rabble had taken up arms and seceded from the [patricians], and Rome herself was afraid of her own strength”, (‘Fasti’, 1: 641-4, translation as above).

I discuss below the putative temple of Concordia that Camiilus vowed in 367 BC.  In contrast:

  1. “The recent motive [of Tiberius’ vow] is better: Germany spreads her flowing tresses in surrender to your auspices, reverend leader.  And so you offered gifts made possible by your triumph over that nation and built a temple to the goddess whom you worship yourself”, (‘Fasti’, 1: 645-8, translation as above).

Finally, Ovid observed that: 

  1. “Your mother [i.e., Livia], the only woman found worthy of the bed of great Jupiter [i.e., Augustus], has made a place for this goddess by means of her own acts, as well as an altar.”, (‘Fasti’, 1: 649-50, translation as above).

As we shall see, this was probably a reference to an altar dedicated to Concordia that she built in the portico that Tiberius had dedicated on this day.

As noted (for example) by Barbara Kellum (referenced below, at pp. 277-8) and Joseph Farrell (referenced below, at p. 68), this temple (as rebuilt by Tiberius) probably celebrated:

  1. the (alleged) concord within Augustus’ family; and

  2. Augustus himself, as the personification of Concordia.

Porticus Liviae

Porticus Liviae depicted on the Forma Urbis Romae (Severan marble plan),

now in the Museo dell’ Ara Pacis, Rome

Cassius Dio recorded that, when a rich and apparently obnoxious freedman, Vedius Pollio, died in 15 BC, he left a large part of his estate to Augustus, who:

  1. “... razed Pollio's house [in Rome] to the ground, ... so that Pollio should have no monument in the city, and built a porticus on the site, inscribing on it the name, not of Pollio, but of Livia”, (‘Roman History’, 54: 23: 6).

This structure is depicted on surviving fragments of the Forma Urbis Romae, from which it can be located on the Oppian hill, under what is now the church of Santa Lucia in Selci (although the excavations carried out here in 1939 are unpublished). Unlike the previous house on the site, the portico was a public space that would have been accessible from the clivus Suburanus (now Via dei Selci).  As we have seen, Cassius Dio recorded that, in 7 BC, Tiberius:

  1. “... in company with his mother [Livia], dedicated the so-called precinct of Livia . He gave a banquet to the Senate on the Capitol, and she gave one on her own account to the women somewhere or other”, (‘Roman History’, 55: 8: 2).

According to Ovid, on June 11 (of an unknown year after 7 BC):

  1. “Livia dedicated to thee, ... Concordia, a magnificent aedes, which she presented to her dear husband, (‘Fasti’, 6: 637-8, translation by Joseph Farrell, referenced below, at p. 68).

This is the only reference to Livia’s ‘aedes Concordiae’ in the surviving sources.  Since the rest of this passage relates to the portico, it is usually assumed that Livia’s shrine to Concordia was located inside the rectangular structure that is depicted at its centre in the Forma Urbis Romae.  However, this is the only reference to it in the surviving sources.  Marleen Boudreau Flory (referenced below, at p. 310) pointed out

  1. “The term aedes, of course, does not imply a building of any particular size, and can refer to modest shrines as well as to imposing temples. Since the passage begins by flattering Livia , ...  we cannot wholly discount rhetorical exaggeration in Ovid's choice of language.  Although doubts may still linger in the absence of conclusive evidence, the shrine mentioned by Ovid is now generally accepted as the building seen on the [Forma Urbis Romae].”

She concluded (at p. 322) that Livia’s shrine celebrated the

  1. “The ideal of Concordia [in Livia’s dedication] not only suggested the pleasures of marital felicity but a time-honoured and dignified concept of marriage as a partnership, undertaken for the sake of children, and mutually beneficial.”

Read more:

J. Farrell, “Camillus in Ovid's Fasti”, in:

  1. J.Farrell and D. Nelis, (Eds) “Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic”, (2013) Oxford and New York, at pp. 57-88

S. J. Heyworth, “Roman Topography and Latin Diction”, Papers of the British School at Rome, 79 (2011) 43-69

S. Oakley, “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume III: Book IX”, (2005) Oxford

M. P. Swan, “The Augustan Succession: An Historical Commentary on Cassius Dio's Roman History Books 55-56 (9 BC - 10 AD)”, (2004) Oxford and New York

S. Oakley, “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume I: Book VI”, (1997) Oxford

B. Kellum, “The City Adorned: Programmatic Display at the Aedes Concordiae Augustae”, in:

  1. K. A. Raaflaub and M. Toher (Eds), “Between Republic and Empire: Interpretations of Augustus and his Principate”, (1990) Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, at pp. 276-307

F. Coarelli, “Il Foro Romano: Periodo Repubblicano e Augusteo”, (1985) Rome

M. Boudreau Flory, “Sic Exempla Parantur: Livia's Shrine to Concordia and the Porticus Liviae”, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 3:3 (1984) 309-30

A. Momigliano, “Camillus and Concord”, Classical Quarterly ,36: 3/4 (1942) 111-20 

R. Kent (translator), “Varro: On the Latin Language, Volume I: Books 5-7” (1938) Harvard MA

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