Roman Republic


As Catherine Steel (referenced below, at p. 9) pointed out:

  1. “The year 146 BC was a bad one for ancient cities [making it a good one for Rome]:

  2. -Carthage was captured by forces under the command of of Scipio Aemilianus, and the city was destroyed.

  3. -In Greece, Lucius Memmius defeated the Achaen League at the isthmus of Corinth, and proceeded, on the instructions of the Senate, to destroy the city. 

  4. By the end of the year, the inhabitants of Rome had watched three triumphal processions:

  5. those of Scipio and Mummius; [and]

  6. that of Mummius’ predecessor in Greece, Q. Caecilius Metellus”.

Each of these generals certainly or probably used the spoils from his victory to build an important temple in Rome:

  1. Metellus probably built of rebuilt Temple of Jupiter Stator in the Porticus Metelli,  famously the first marble temple in Rome;

  2. Scipio probably built the Temple of Hercules Victor in Foro Boario; and

  3. Mummius certainly built another temple to Hercules Victor, possibly on the Caelian Hill but more probably the Temple of Hercules Victor ad portam Trigeminam, the lovely temple that survives near the Tiber, on the edge of what was the Forum Boarium.

These temples are discussed in turn below.

Temple of Jupiter Stator in the Porticus Metelli

According to Velleius Paterculus:

  1. “... Quintus Metellus  ... received the cognomen of Macedonicus by virtue of his valour in this war [against the Macedonians, which ended in 148 BC].  He also defeated ... the Achaeans who had begun an uprising against Rome [two years later].  This is the Metellus Macedonicus:

  2. -who had previously built the portico about the two temples without inscriptions [i.e. those dedicated to Juno Regina and Jupiter Stator] that are now surrounded by the portico of Octavia [which the Emperor Augustus built and dedicated to his sister, Octavia in ca. 27 BC]; and

  3. -who brought from Macedonia the group of equestrian statues [that Alexander the Great had previously commissioned from Lysippus], which stand facing the temples and which ... are [still] the chief ornament of the place.

  4. ... This same Metellus was the first ... to build a temple of marble [in Rome], which he erected in the midst of these very monuments, thereby becoming the pioneer in this form of munificence, or shall we call it luxury?” (Roman History’, 1:11).

Although the meaning is not absolutely clear, it seems that Metellus first built the portico  around two pre-existing temples after his victory in Macedonia and then rebuilt one of them in marble (although Velleius Paterculus did not specify which one).  Festus (363) located a statue of Tarpeia near the “aedes Iovis Metellinae”, which we can reasonably referred to this rebuilt temple.  

Vitruvius cited a temple of Jupiter Stator as an example of the temple type that he named ‘peripteros’:

  1. “[This type] had:

  2. -six columns in the front and in the rear; and

  3. -eleven on the flanks (counting in the two columns at the angles);

  4. and these ... formed a walk around the cella of the temple, such as may be seen in:

  5. -the portico of the theatre of Metellus;

  6. -that of Jupiter Stator by Hermodus [generally identified as Hermodorus of Salamis]; and

  7. -the temple of Honour and Virtue  ...” (‘de Architectura’, 3:2:5)

Strictly speaking, Vitruvius could be referring to the surrounding Porticus Metelli when he says “that of Jupiter Stator”.  However, it is usually assumed that he was referring to the columns of the temple itself.  Since Hermodorus of Salamis built another marble temple, the Temple of Mars in the Circus Flaminius, for the triumphator, D. Junius Brutus Callaicus, at some time after 133 BC, we can reasonably assume that the Temple of Jupiter Stator described by Vitruvius was the temple that Metellus had  rebuilt in marble inside his portico.  Thus, Katherine Welch (referenced below, at p. 504) recorded that:

  1. “Metellus’ temple was the first marble one in Rome, designed by Hermodorus of Salamis.  It was in every sense Hellenistic: Ionic; peripteral [i.e. surrounded by a single row of columns]; and sitting on a low krepis [stepped base].”

Gwyn Morgan (referenced below) put forward the proposition that Metellus only began the construction of his temple after he became Consul in 143 BC.  However, Francisco Pina Polo (referenced below, at p. 164) could see no clear reason why this should be so:

  1. “If Metellus Macedonicus was indeed the promoter of the temple, and [if] we presume that he himself may have contracted for the work:

  2. -the locatio [letting of the construction contract] could have been completed during his Consulship of 143 BC, as maintained by Morgan; but

  3. -it could also been conducted immediately after his return [from Macedonia to Rome, in late 146 BC]” (my italics).

According to Pliny the Elder, both of the the temples inside the portico were also rebuilt in the reign of Augustus:

  1. “Nor should we forget the artists Saurus and Batrachus, who rebuilt the two temples that are enclosed in the Porticus of Octavia.… Curiously, in the one to Jupiter, the paintings and all the other decorations have themes concerning women.  It is said that this temple was intended for Juno but that the movers switched the cult statues by mistake [i.e. they put the respective cult statues in the wrong temples].  This alteration was subsequently preserved by religious scruple, as if the gods themselves had thereby chosen their seat.  For the same reason, the ornamentation originally designed for Jupiter is found in the neighbouring temple to Juno” (‘Encyclopedia’ 36: 42-3)

This temple was represented in a surviving fragment of the marble plan of Rome (ca. 203 AD) from the Temple of Peace and recorded in the so-called Chronogaph’ of 354 AD under the rubric ‘Aedes’ in Region IX.

Read more:

Steel C., “The End of the Roman Republic (146 to 44 BC): Conquest and Crisis”, (2014) Edinburgh

Pina Polo F., “The Consul at Rome: The Civil Functions of the Consuls in the Roman Republic”, (2011) Cambridge

Welch K. E., “Art and Architecture in the Roman Republic”, in:

  1. Rosenstein N. and Morstein-Marx R. (editors), “A Companion Guide to the Roman Republic”,  (2006) Malden MA and Oxford, at pp.496-542

Morgan M., “The Portico of Metellus: A Reconsideration”, Hermes 99:4 (1971) 480-505

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Rome in the Early Republic (509 - 241 BC)

Temple of Jupiter Stator in the Porticus Metelli