Roman Republic

Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus

Livy recorded the circumstances in which Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus, one of the consuls of 295 BC,  vowed this temple following his victory over the Gauls and their Samnite allies at the Battle of Sentinum: when he heard that his colleague, P. Decius Mus, had performed ‘devotio’ (self-sacrifice) in order to secure this victory, he:

  1. “... ordered [his men] ... to attack the rear of the Gallic line ... [and], wherever they saw the enemy soldiers disordered by the charge, ... [to] cut them to pieces. ... After vowing a temple and the spoils of the enemy to Jupiter Victor, he proceeded to the camp of the Samnites, to which all their forces were hurrying in confusion.  As the camp gates could not accommodate such large numbers, those [Samnites] who were consequently excluded attempted resistance just at the foot of the rampart, and it was here that Gellius Egnatius, the Samnite general, fell.  ... [Victory followed]:

  2. 25,000 enemy soldiers were slain on that day and 8,000 taken prisoner; and ...

  3. 7,000 of Decius’ men and 1,200 of those of Fabius [also died in the battle]. 

  4. Fabius ... had the spoils of the enemy collected into a heap, and burned them as an offering to Jupiter Victor”, (‘History of Rome’, 10: 29: 13-8).

As Tim Cornell (referenced below, at p. 362) recorded:

  1. “... Fabius [then] returned to Rome in triumph, with an assured place in the Roman tradition as the hero of the Samnite Wars.  Sentinum sealed the fate of Italy [which now progressively fell under Roman control].” 

It is likely that Fabius’ vow marked the initiation of the cult of Jupiter Victor into the Roman State religion.  A passage by Zonaras probably explains his choice of this form of Jupiter: both Jupiter and Victoria had featured in the portents prior to the victory: 

  1. “The Romans ... were in a state of alarm, particularly since many portents were causing them anxiety:

  2. on the Capitol, blood is reported to have issued for 3 days from the altar of Jupiter, also honey on one day and milk on another (if anybody can believe it); and

  3. in the Forum, a bronze statue of Victory set upon a stone pedestal was found standing on the ground below ... facing in that direction from which the Gauls were already approaching.

  4. This of itself was enough to terrify the populace, who were even more dismayed by ill-omened interpretations of the seers.  However, a certain Manius (an Etruscan by birth) reassured them by declaring that:

  5. Victory, even if she had fallen, had at any rate gone forward, and being now established more firmly on the ground, indicated to them mastery in the war; and

  6. [the Roman] altars, and particularly those on the Capitol were regularly stained with [the blood of sacrificial victims] on the occasion of Roman victories and not in times of disaster.

  7. In this way, [Manius] persuaded them to expect some fortunate outcome ... [Since] his prophecy turned out to be in accordance with subsequent events [i.e. with Fabius’ victory at Sentinum], he gained a reputation for skill and foreknowledge” (‘Epitome ton istorio’, 8:1: 2-4).

Although the year of the dedication of Fabius’ temple is unknown, Ovid probably recorded its dies natalis:

  1. Iovi Victori keeps the Ides of April [13th April]: a temple was dedicated to him on this day” (‘Fasti’, IV).

This information is also recorded in the pre-Julian ‘Fasti Antiates’.

Location of Fabius’ Temple

On the Capitol (?)

It is sometimes assumed that Fabius’ temple subsequently featured in the following passage by Josephus, in which he recorded that, following the murder of Caligula in 41 AD:

  1. “... the consuls called the Senate together into the temple of  Zeus Nikephoros (Zeus, who brings Victory) ...”, (‘Antiquities of the Jews’, 19:4:3)

Suetonius placed this temple on the Capitol:

  1. “... the Senate was so unanimously in favour of re-establishing the Republic [after the death of Caligula] that the consuls called the first meeting, not in the Senate House (because it had the name Julia) but on the Capitol; ...”  (‘Life of Caligula’, 60). 

As Filippo Coarelli (referenced below, 2012, at pp. 243-6) summarised, a new fragment of the slab containing inscribed Fasti viae Ardeatinae (ca. 19 BC), which was discovered in 2010, allows a reconstruction of the inscription as a whole that:

  1. identifies a temple of Jupiter Victor in Capitolio; and

  2. records its dies natalis on 21st November. 

Coarelli acknowledged (at p. 247) that dies natalis of 21st November could relate to a subsequent re-dedication of Ovid’s temple (with the dies natalis of 13th April, mentioned above) and that:

  1. “... the lack of information for the 21st November in the [surviving] text of Ovid and the almost total loss of the information for [November] in nearly all epigraphic calendars prevent us from exploring this possibility”, (my translation).

However, Alessandro Vella (referenced below, who published the relevant fragment at p. 347-8 and Figures 12 and 27) argued (at p. 371) that:

  1. “The only temple of Jupiter Victor in Rome for which information survives in relation to its dedication is the one that Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus vowed at Sentinum in 295 BC ... [This temple], the location of which is uncertain, has been variously located on either the Quirinal or the Palatine [see below] ... However, there is no real reason either to support or to exclude its identification as the [temple of Jupiter Victor] in Capitolio [recorded in the Fasti viae Ardeatinae with its dies natalis on 21st November].  In order to argue against this identification, we must] hypothesise that the temple of Jupiter Victor in Capitolio was one of the numerous temples whose foundations are unrecorded in the surviving sources, presumably because they were founded in a period after [293 BC ] for which the text of Livy no longer survives ...”, (my translation)

On the Quirinal (?)

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2007, at p. 328) referred to:

“... the slightly more probable view that [Fabius’ temple] was on the Quirinal, [which] depends on [CIL  VI 438 = VI 475], a dedication to Jupiter Victor found on the hill.” 

This CIL entry records two inscriptions on a donative  altar (now lost) that was found on the Quirinal in the 17th century:

P(ublius) Corn[elios]/ L(uci) f(ilius) coso[l]/ / proba[vit] / Mar[te ---]

[D]iovei Victore/ T(itus) Mefu[---] M(arci) f(ilius)/ IIIvir [resti]tuit

Filippo Coarelli (referenced below, 2012, at p. 239) suggested that the first of these identified the altar as:

  1. “... a donative altar dedicated in a temple [of Mars ??] by a magistrate who can probably be identified with P. Cornelius Lentulus, consul of 236 BC and the victor over the Ligurians ...” (my translation). 

This altar had apparently been reused by T(itus) Mefu[---], possibly in a Temple of Jupiter Victor.  Coarelli suggested that:

  1. “...the nature of the donative altar was evidently indicated in the lost part of the inscription at the start of the text” (my translation).

He also suggested that the name of the dedicator could probably be completed as Titus Mefulanus, a member of a magistracy that (according to Livy, 25: 7.5) was created in 212 BC to:

  1. “... search for the property belonging to the temples and to register the offerings”,

in connection with an extraordinary programme of temple restoration.   Based on this inscription, both Adam Ziolkowski (referenced below, 1992, at pp. 91-4) and Filippo Coarelli (most recently in the book referenced above) placed Fabius’ temple on the Quirinal.  This is accepted by Peter Wiseman (see, for example his review of Coarelli’s book, referenced below, 2013, at p. 255).

Filippo Coarelli provided two supporting pieces of evidence for this hypothesis:

  1. He pointed out (at p. 241 and note 213) that Livy (5: 46: 2-3) had recorded a cult site on the Quirinal that belonged to the gens Fabia, at which Fabius Dorso had sacrificed during the Gallic siege of the Capitoline in the 4th century BC.

  2. He also described (at p. 239 and p. 241) another inscription (CIL VI 565) that was found near the inscriptions above:

  3. Quirino / L(ucius) Aimilius L(uci) f(ilius)/ praitor

  4. He associated this with the Temple of Quirinus that Lucius Papirius Cursor had dedicated in 293 BC (discussed on the main page) and suggested that the dedicator of the altar had been Lucius Aemilius Paulus, who was Praetor in 191 BC.  He observed that:

  5. “The significance of the proximity of the two temples might well be explained by the personal and political relations between their respective constructors: the enmity between Fabius Rullianus and Papirius Cursor was proverbial. ... The possibility  that they chose the same area for their votive temples is perhaps not unrelated to their rivalry” (my translation).  

  6. [Note that the site of the Temple of Quirinus had probably been selected by the eponymous father of the Papirius Cursor who dedicated it in 293 BC; Papirius Cursor senior seems to have vowed it in 325 BC.  This temple must have been finally approaching completion when Fabius vowed his temple, so the implication is that it was  Fabius’ decision to site his temple near that of the rival family.]    

There is another reason why Fabius might have chosen a site on the Quirinal:  Peter Wiseman (see, for example, his book referenced below, 1995a, at p. 140-1) tentatively suggested that, at the time of  the dedication of the Temple of Quirinus:

  1. “...the myth-making producers of the [associated]  ludi scaenici created ... [the story of] the miraculous disappearance and revealed apotheosis of Romulus [as Quirinus]”.

If so, we might reasonably assume that the site of the Temple of Quirinus was thereafter closely associated with that of the apotheosis of Romulus, (or perhaps of its revelation to the Romans) and that Fabius had decided to build his temple near this hallowed place.

Palatine (?)

Traditionally, scholars assumed that the “aedes Iovis victoris” listed in regio X (Palatium) in the regionary catalogues in the so-called ‘Chronograph of 354 AD’ (see below), was a later version of Fabius’ temple. Thus, according to Stefan Weinstock (referenced below, at p. 215), Fabius’ temple:

  1. “... was built on the Palatine, probably in the neighbourhood of the temple of Victoria.”

His suggestion of a particular site near Megellus’ temple of Victoria seems to have arisen because of his perception that the cults of Victoria and Jupiter Victor were closely linked (see above). 

Two later authors also made suggestions as to its specific location on the Palatine:

  1. Peter Wiseman (referenced below, 1981, at p. 46), placed Fabius’ temple in the precinct of the temple of Victory, although he subsequently changed his view in favour of the Quirinal (see below).  

  2. Mario Torelli (referenced below, 1987, at pp. 578-9) also assumed that the temple in the regionary catalogues related to Fabius’ temple.  As discussed below, he placed its Flavian successor near the so-called Arch of Domitian, albeit that he did not discuss whether this had been its original site.

However, Filippo Coarelli (referenced below, 2012, at p. 247) pointed out that the “aedes Iovis victoris” in the regionary catalogues is otherwise completely unattested.  As discussed below, he suggested that it was a mistaken reference to the Temple of Jupiter Ultor (see below), which was certainly a Palatine temple, and that Fabius’ temple had probably been built on the Quirinal (below).  In his opinion, there had never been a Temple of Jupiter Victor on the Palatine.

My Conclusion

As noted above, recent scholarly opinion clearly favours the hypothesis that Fabius’ temple was on the Quirinal.  However, I am reluctant to rule out the alternative possibility that it was on the Palatine, perhaps at the summit, as would befit a temple vowed during such an important Roman victory.  It is, after all, at least conceivable that Fabius wanted his temple to stand on a site that was closely associated with the foundation of Rome, and also close to Megellus’ Temple of Victoria (particularly if his erstwhile consular colleague, Decius Mus, really was buried below its altar).  

Aedes Iovis in Palatio

As noted above, Filippo Coarelli (referenced below, 2012, at p. 251), who doubted that there had ever been a Temple of Jupiter Victor on the Palatine, believed that the “aedes Iovis victoris” in the 4th century regionary catalogues was a mistaken reference to the “aedes Iovis ultoris”.  Peter Wiseman, in his review of Filippo Coarelli’s book (referenced below, 2013, at p. 255), accepted that this was possible, but suggested that it was not necessarily the case.   Although, as noted above, he came to the view that Fabius’ temple had been built on the Quirinal, he suggested that the entry in the regionary catalogues could have related to a temple that stood on the Palatine, at least from the time of Augustus (i.e. from 7 BC, when the regions were defined and the monuments in them first listed). 

The paragraphs below look at the evidence for this putative Palatine temple, initially leaving to one side the question of whether it might be traced back to Fabius Maximus Rulianus.  I will return to the crucial point of its pre-Augustan identity in the light of that discussion.

Original Location

If there was (as Peter Wiseman suggested) a Temple of Jupiter Victor on the Palatine in 7 BC, when the administrative regions of Rome were first designated, then it would almost certainly have appeared in the early regionary catalogues.   Moreover, it would have appeared in these lists in a sequence that reflected its original location.  However, As Peter Wiseman pointed out (at p. 255):

  1. “... we have to imagine a building [that was] destroyed in the fire of 64 AD and presumably reconstructed on a different site, in a thoroughly redeveloped urban landscape ....”.

The 4th century regionary catalogues obviously related to the temple on this later site.  However, Wiseman  suggested (at p. 251) an ingenious method  of deducing its location at the time of Augustus:

  1. “I think an Augustan [location can be deduced] if we look carefully at the sequence of names in the regionary list: auguratorium, area Palatina, aedes Iouis Victoris.”

Wiseman suggested that the creators of the new urban landscape might well have maintained the original spatial relationship between these monuments, moving them as a group to the new location. 

Peter Wiseman then proceeded to deduce where the this group of monuments might have been at the time of Augustus. 

  1. His analysis started with the literary sources for the auguratorium, which was revered as the hut in which Romulus had taken the auspices before founding Rome.  He deduced that this was also the hut of Faustulus, the shepherd who had cared for the abandoned Romulus and Remus when they had washed up on the banks of the Tiber.  This site must have been on an open, east-facing site on the summit of the Palatine. 

  2. He then used the account by Josephus of the murder of Caligula to establish that this hut was in front of the imperial residence, and that this residence overlooked an open area that was probably designated as the area Palatina.

  3. The final link was from an account by Conon, a Greek mythographer of the age of Augustus:

  4. “As evidence of the dwelling of Faustulus, there is a hut in the temple of Zeus, which [the Romans] preserve by putting it together with waste material and new sticks”, (‘Narrations’, 48:8; translation from Peter Wiseman, referenced below, 1981, at p. 45).

  5.   He observed (at p. 253) that:

  6. “If that ‘hut of Faustulus’ was Romulus’ auguratorium, then the otherwise unattested precinct may be that of Jupiter Victor ... .  And, if so, the Jupiter Victor temple was [also originally] on the summit of the hill.”

His conclusion (at p. 254-5) was that:

  1. “... we must place this lost topography somewhere northeast of the temple of Victoria, on the high ground later used for the imperial palace called domus Tiberiana, where the Farnese Gardens are now. ...”

I am unaware of any other attempt to identify the original location of the Palatine temple (assuming that it existed).  Thus, the paragraphs below assume that:

  1. it was probably originally at the top of the hill; and

  2. it was subsequently rebuilt as part of the Neronian and/or Flavian redevelopment if the Palatine, in a location reflected by the 4th century regionary catalogues,

Post-Neronian Temple

This section looks at the evidence for the existence of a Temple of Jupiter Victor on the Palatine after the fire of 64 AD.  It assumes that it was related in some way to the ‘aedes Iovis Victoris’ listed under regio V in the 4th century regionary catalogues.  Filippo Coarelli (referenced below, 2012, at p. 247) pointed out that the sequence of monuments here placed the temple:

  1. “... between the area Palatina and the Curiae veteres, and thus in the zone [now] occupied by the Vigna Barberini ...” (my translation).

This terrace south of the Arch of Titus was created in the reign of Domitian and formed part his new imperial palace complex.  It takes it present name from the Barberini family, who used it as a vineyard in  the 17th century.   (The site is now open to the public.) 

Philip Hill (referenced below, at pp. 33-6) marshalled an impressive body of numismatic evidence for a temple in the Vigna Barberini from 94 AD.  He started (at p. 35) with the premise that:

  1. “Since there was existed only one temple in Rome dedicated to Jupiter Victor, Fabius‘ temple can only  have been [the ‘aedes Iovis Victoris’]  listed under regio V in the [4th century regionary catalogues]. ... It must have been damaged or destroyed in the great fire of 80 AD and rebuilt by Domitian, who also constructed the artificial platform [in the Vigna Barberini] upon which he erected his restored temple.”

Without worrying too much about this starting point, we can now move to the heart of Hill’s hypothesis.  He suggested that this temple on the terrace in the Vigna Barberini was depicted on the reverses of:

  1. an issue of denarii by Domitian (RIC II:1 Domitian 816) in 94 AD

  2. a series of coins issued by Trajan in 103 AD (RIC II Trajan: 577 (as); 577 (sestertius); and 578);

  3. a medal of Elagabalus (RIC IV Elagabalus 339) of 222 AD; and

  4. a number of pieces of Severus Alexander:

  5. a bronze medallion, an example of which is illustrated here) of 224 AD; and

  6. three of his coins: a silver denarius; a bronze sesterius; and a bronze as (respectively RIC IV Severus Alexander: 146412 and 413). 

Françoise Villedieu, in her book reporting on the excavations carried out on the terrace in 1989-99 (referenced below, 2007, p. 383), agreed that:

  1. “On [each of] the coins of Domitian, Trajan, Elagabalus and Severus Alexander, the [temple on the reverse is] octastlyle and apparently Corinthian.  Although, generally, the symbolic representation of steps leading to temples is too imprecise for one to differentiate between a [simple] podium and a crepis [stepped platform], in the case of the coins of Trajan, [the perspectival representation of the temple base] undoubtedly leads one to the second conclusion.  Now, the late temple in the Vigna Barberini has the same characteristic” (my translation).

(She might also have added that the temple of Trajan, like that excavated on the terrace of Vigna Barberini, was surrounded by a portico.)

I ploughed through the conclusions to be drawn from these coins in my pages on:

  1. the Flavian Dynasty: Domitian's Temples to Jupiter; and

  2. the Severan Dynasty: Elagabalium/ Temple of Jupiter Ultor.

This led to the following scenario:

  1. Domitian built a Temple to Jupiter Victor on the Flavian terrace in the Vigna Barberini, in ca. 94 AD.  The apparent lack of archeological remains suggests that it was destroyed in the fire of 191/2 AD. 

  2. Septimius Severus began its reconstruction, possibly in its original location, and probably after his ‘victory ‘over the Parthians in 197 AD.

  3. Elagabalus took over the nearly-completed temple, and so was able to dedicate it to Heliogabalus in 220 AD, less than two years after his acclamation and his arrival in Rome.

  4. Severus Alexander re-dedicated it to Jupiter Ultor on 13th March 224 AD, the second anniversary of his accession. 

I recognise that this scenario depends on a long series of hypotheses, and that the disproving of any one of them could well demolish it.  Nevertheless, it can at least attempt to address the problem of the “aedes Iovis victoris” in the regionary catalogues.  It could be that:

  1. the temple’s dedication to Jupiter Victor was reinstated soon after the damnation of Elagabalus’ memory in 220 AD;

  2. the new games that Severus Alexander introduced for Jupiter Ultor following the rededication of the Elagabalium to this cult on 13th March 224 AD were duly recorded in the official calendars, and it remained there in the ‘Calendar of Philocalus’ of the 4th century AD; but

  3. the regionary lists were not updated after 220 AD, either through oversight or because the epithets Victor and Ultor were considered to be essentially interchangeable.

Any scenario that places the “aedes Iovis victoris” anywhere else (for example, on the podium near the so-called Arch of Domitian) faces the powerful point made by Filippo Coarelli: it is difficult to see why the “aedes Iovis ultoris”, which certainly featured in the ‘Calendar of Philocalus’, was missing from the broadly contemporary regionary catalogues, while the less impressive “aedes Iovis victoris” on this relatively small podium was included. 

If one accepts that Domitian’s temple lived on as the Temple of Jupiter Ultor, and was represented in the regionary catalogues under its original dedication (for whatever reason), then the case for locating Fabius’ temple on the Palatine is considerably strengthened.  I have to say that, in my opinion, it is the most likely of the three possibilities discussed above.  This temple might well have been rebuilt by Nero somewhere else on the Palatine after the fire of 64 AD.  It was very probably rebuilt again by Domitian (for whatever reason) on the Flavian terrace in the Vigna Barberini in ca. 94 AD.

Read more: 

Wiseman T. P., “The Palatine, from Evander to Elagabalus”, (review of the book by F. Coarelli (2012) below), Journal of Roman Studies, 103  (2013) 234-68

Coarelli F., “Palatium: Il Palatino dalle Origini all' Impero”, (2012) Rome 

Vella A., “Due Nuovi Frammenti di un Calendario Marmoreo dalla Via Ardeatina, a Roma: Considerazioni Epigrafiche e Riflessioni sulla Topografia Antica del Campidogli, Rendiconti della

Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, 83 (2010-2011) 335-78 (the link opens a pdf)

Oakley S., “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume IV: Book X”, (2007) Oxford

Villedieu F., “La Vigna Barberini II: Domus, Palais Impérial et Temples: Stratigraphie du Secteur Nord-est du Palatin”, (2007 ) Rome

Cornell T. C., “The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (C. 1000-264 BC)”, (1995) London 

Wiseman T. P. (1995a), "Remus: A Roman Myth", (1995) Cambridge 

Ziolkowski A., “Temples of Mid-Republican Rome”, (1992) London 

Hill P., “Monuments of Ancient Rome as Coin Types”, (1989) London

Torelli M., “Culto Imperiale e Spazi Urbani in Età Flavia: Dai Rilievi Hartwig all' Arco di Tito”, in:

  1. Urbs, Espace Urbain et Histoire: Colloquio Roma, 1985)”, Collection de l'École Française de Rome, 98 (1987), at pp. 563-82

Wiseman T. P., "Temple of Victory on the Palatine", Antiquaries Journal, 61 (1981) 35-52

Weinstock S., “Victor and Invictus”, Harvard Theological Review, 50 (1957) 211-47

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Rome in the Early Republic (509 - 241 BC)

Temple of Jupiter Victor