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Topic: Temples Dedicated in 194 - 191 BC


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Temple Dedications in 218 - 191 BC

Eric Orlin (referenced below, 1997, at pp. 199-207) catalogued all of the known dedications of temples in Rome in the period 509-55 BC.  This list contains:

  1. six temples dedicated during the Second Punic War (218 - 201 BC):

  2. five in in 218 - 215 BC . during the initial disastrous phase of the war; and

  3. the sixth in 205 BC;

This was followed by a gap until 194 BC.  However, as Orlin observed (at p. 185), the following four-year period (194 - 191 BC inclusive) was:

  1. “... an intense time of temple construction, [in which] eight temples were dedicated ...” 

Even more striking is the fact that four of them were dedicated in 194 BC.

As we shall see, six of these eight temples had vowed in battle by individual commanders.  The other two were:

  1. the Temple of Faunus on the Tiber Island, which was commissioned by a pair of aediles in their official capacity; and

  2. the shrine of Victoria Virgo on the Palatine, which was commissioned by Marcus Porcius Cato.

Dedications in 194-1 BC of Temples Not Vowed in War

Temple of Faunus on the Tiber Island (194 BC)

The fasti via Principi Amedeo record an annual festival of ‘Fauno [i]n insula’ on 13th February.  Ovid also recorded that: 

  1. “On the [13th February], the altars of rustic Faunus smoke [during sacrifices], there where the [Tiber] island breaks the parted waters”, (‘Fasti’ 2: 193-4, based on the translation of James Frazer, revised by G. P. Goold, referenced below).

Livy recorded the construction and dedication of this temple in two related passages:

  1. in 197 BC:

  2. “The plebeian aediles, Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Caius Scribonius Curio, brought many pecuarii (grazers of animals) to trial before the people: three of them were convicted and [the aediles] used the money that they paid as fines to build a temple to Faunus on the [Tiber] Island”; and (‘History of  Rome, 33: 42: 9).

  3. in 194 BC, one of these aediles, Domitius:

  4. “... dedicated it while city praetor”, (‘History of  Rome, 34: 53: 4).

Thus, there is thus no doubt that this temple was built on the Tiber Island, albeit that no remains of it have been securely identified.

John Briscoe (referenced below, 1973, at p. 330) pointed out that:

  1. “... the fact that the [fines paid by] only three men were sufficient to provide enough money to build a temple suggests that [they] were not humble shepherds: we are dealing with large-scale operators, [who] had presumably either occupied ager publicus without permission or broken the law concerning the number of animals that could be grazed.”

Penelope Davies (referenced below, at p. 83) observed that the Second Punic War had weighed most heavily on the populus:

  1. “ ... whose old concerns [regarding the] disruption of agriculture and debt had resurfaced: [in order to court their political support, the], aediles [Domitius and Scribonius] pursued those whose misconduct had exacerbated [these] problems, and especially honoured the nature god Faunus, who could oversee the regulation of pastureland.”

Cult of Faunus

According to Varro:

  1. Fauni {Fauns] are deities of the Latins, and can be male and female (Faunus and Fauna).  In so-called Saturnian verses, tradition has it that, in woodland places, they used to speak (fori, foretell) the future, from which ‘speaking’, they were called Fauni” , (‘On the Latin Language’, 7: 36, based on the translation by Roland Kent, referenced below).

Hélène Moreau (referenced below, at p. 175) argued that:

  1. “The association of the name of Faunus with that of the Latins shows that the god was considered to be a deity of local origin, who must have appeared very early in the Roman pantheon,  albeit that his origins are more than uncertain: he appears in a number of important episodes of the life of Romulus and Remus, in close connection with the legend of foundation and the history of the site of Rome, [and] seems to be the only god whom [they] worshiped during their youth, before the foundation of Rome, while they lived among the shepherds.   In this context, he is the god of everything that is the opposite of the city: wild spaces, pastures, mountains, forests ... [and] also the cultivated fields ... Faunus appears as the god of a society with pastoral and pre-agricultural economy, like that of the first inhabitants of Latium..  Consequently his role in the Roman pantheon was to ensure the protection of farmers and breeders of animals ... ”

Eric Olin (referenced below, 2010, at p. 181) characterised Fuanus as:

  1. “... an ancient Italic god of the countryside, whom mythology turned into the father of [King] Latinus, that aetiological father of the Latins ... ”

Shrine of Victoria Virgo on the Palatine (193 BC)

Livy recorded that the year of 193 BC was a year noted for widespread portents of danger ahead:

  1. “There were great floods ...  and the Tiber overflowed  ... Also, the Porta Caelimontana was hit by a thunderbolt and the wall [nearby] was struck by lightning in several places.  [Furthermore], there were showers of stones at Aricia, at Lanuvium and on the Aventine, ...  [and] a great swarm of wasps flew into the forum [at Capua] and settled in the Temple of Mars ... Because of these prodigies, the decemviri were directed to consult the [Sibylline] Books, [following which] a nine-day sacrifice was performed, a supplication proclaimed, and the City purified.  At the same time, a shrine to Victoria Virgo near the Temple of Victory was dedicated by Marcus Porcius Cato, two years after he had vowed it”, (‘History of  Rome, 35: 9: 3-6).

Thus, it seems that Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Elder) had:

  1. vowed a shrine to Victoria Virgo in 194 BC, when he had served as proconsul in Spain; and

  2. dedicated it in the following year, when (as far as we know) he was not holding public office. 

Its dies natalis (1st August) is recorded in two of the surviving calendar-based fasti:

  1. fasti Antiates Maiores: Spei Victor(is) II (To Spes; to the two Victories)

  2. fasti Praenestini: Victoriae Victoriae / virgini in Palatio Spei in/ foro Holitorio (To Victory; To Victoria Virgo on the Palatine. To Spes in the Forum Holitorium)

None of our surviving records indicates the circumstances in which Cato vowed the new shrine to Virgo Victoria, although they may be deduced from the following:

  1. The fasti Triumphales record that Cato was awarded a triumph in 194 BC for a victory that he had won in Spain as proconsul.

  2. Plutarch described the campaigns that he undertook there:

  3. “... while he was subduing some of the tribes and winning over others by diplomacy, a great host of Barbarians fell upon him and threatened to drive him disgracefully out of the province.  He therefore [paid] the neighbouring Celtiberians to become his allies. ...  [In the battle that followed], he was completely victorious, and the rest of his campaign was a brilliant success. ... Cato himself says that he took more cities than he spent days in Spain ... His soldiers got large booty in this campaign, and he gave each one of them a pound of silver besides, saying that it was better to have many Romans go home with silver in their pockets, rather than a only a few with gold.  But, he says that ... no part of the booty fell to him, except what he ate and drank.  ... [When his replacement arrived from Rome], he took five cohorts of men-at‑arms and 500 horsemen as escort on his way home: on this march, he subdued the tribe of the Lacetanians and put to death 600 deserters whom they delivered up to him.  .... [On his return to Rome, he] celebrated a triumph” (‘Life of Cato the Elder’, 10-11).

  4. Livy recorded that, in 194 BC:

  5. “... Marcus Porcius Cato triumphed over Spain.  In his triumph, he carried 25,000 pounds of silver bullion, 123,0000 silver denarii, 540,000 silver coins of Osca, and 1,400  pounds of gold.  From the booty, he gave 270 asses to each of his soldiers, and three times that amount to each trooper”, (‘History of  Rome, 34: 46: 2-3).

None of these accounts record that Cato vowed a shrine during a battle. 

As noted above, the surviving fasti place Cato’s shrine on the Palatine and record that its dies natalis (1st August) with another Temple of Victory:  it is usually (and reasonably) assumed that this was the imposing Temple of Victoria, which Lucius Postumius Megellus has dedicated in 294 BC (as described in my page on the Temples Vowed in the Second Samnite War)  Penelope Davies (referenced below, at p. 92) argued that Cato’s shrine:

  1. “.... may have sat on unusually small foundations between the Temples of Victoria and Magna Mater.”

She observed that its:

  1. “... modest scale, possibly exaggerated by its position between two substantial temples, fits the mood of austerity that Cato advocated after the Second Punic War.  If ... Megellus’ Temple of Victoria ... had initiated a discourse on monumentality in sacred architecture, [then the shrine] of Victoria Virgo voiced an antithetical retort.”

It remains to discuss what part Cato actually played in the early history of this shrine.  If Plutarch is correct in claiming that he took nothing for himself during his campaign in Spain, we might reasonably assume that the booty that was not dispersed to the soldiers passed to the public purse.  However, Penelope Davies (referenced below, at p. 120) suggested that he:

  1. “... probably earmarked some [of it] to finance his [shrine] to Victoria Virgo ...”

It is certainly possible that the Senate devoted a small part of this booty to the building of the shrine, and that he was asked to dedicate it as a mark of honour.  As I discuss below, this procedure would have been consistent with other circumstantial evidence that suggests the existence of a senatorial policy to rein in the increasingly obvious ambition and ostentation of Rome’s military élite.

Dedications in 194-1 BC of Temples Vowed in War

As noted above, each of the other six temples dedicated in 194-1 BC had  been vowed in battle by an individual who belonged (or who aspired to belong) to this military élite.

Temple of Vediovis on the Tiber Island (194 BC)

Livy gave a fairly full, albeit internally inconsistent, account of the circumstances that led to the dedication of this temple:

  1. In 200 BC, immediately after the end of the Second Punic War, an army of Gallic  and Ligurian tribes unexpectedly attacked the Latin colonies of Placentia and Cremona in Cisalpine Gaul.  They took Placentia, but the praetor Lucius Furius Purpurio arrived with the consular army in time to defend Cremona.  At a crucial moment in the ensuing battle, he:

  2. “...  ... vowed a temple deo Iovi [see below], should he rout the enemy on that day”, (‘History of Rome’, 31: 21: 12).

  3. In 194 BC :

  4. “... the duovir Caius Servilius saw to the dedication on the Tiber Island of a temple to Iove (Jupiter), which had been vowed during the Gallic War by the praetor Lucius Furius Purpurio, who had subsequently contracted out its construction  as consul [in 196 BC]”, (‘History of  Rome, 34: 53: 5-6).

Obviously, these two passages relate to the same temple: as I set out in my page on the Cult of Vediovis, pace Livy 34: 53, as well as Ovid and Vitruvius, who seem to have followed him) it was almost certainly the Temple of Vediovis on the island, the dies natalis of which (1st January) is recorded in three of the surviving calendar-based fasti:

  1. fasti Antiates Maiores (84-55 BC): Aescula(pio) Co[r]o(ndini) Vedioue

  2. fasti Magistrorum vici (late 1st century BC): Aesc(ulapio) [Ved(ioui)]; and

  3. fasti Praenestini (6-9 AD): [Aescu]lapio Vedioui in insula.

In other words, despite a considerable amount of confusion among the surviving sources, it is likely that the temple that Furius vowed as praetor in 200 BC was built on the Tiber Island and dedicated to Vediovis on 1st January 194 BC.  As I discuss in my page on the Cult of Vediovis, it seems likely that this dedication constituted the introduction of the cult to Rome.

The start of 194 BC must have witnessed an intense period of religious activity on the Tiber island: this Temple of Vediovis was dedicated on 1st January:

  1. at the time of the festival celebrating the dedication of the venerable Temple of Aesculapius here in or soon after 293 BC; and

  2. just six weeks before the dedication of the Temple of Faunus (above).

Temple of Juno Sospita in the Forum Holitorium (194 BC)

It is almost certain that a temple to Juno Sospita was also dedicated in the first six weeks of 194 BC, this time in the Forum Holitorium.  However, once again, the sources are confused.


Livy recorded the vowing and dedication of this temple in two related but internally inconsistent passages:

  1. In 197 BC, at the beginning of a battle in Cisalpine Gaul], the consul Caius Cornelius Cethegus:

  2. “... vowed a temple to Juno Sospita, provided that the enemy should be routed and driven from the field on that day”, (History of  Rome, 32: 30: 10). 

  3. Livy’s list of four temples that were dedicated in 194 BC included:

  4. “... one to Juno Matuta in the Forum Holitorium, which had been vowed and contracted for in the Gallic war four years before by the consul Caius Cornelius, who also dedicated it while censor”, (‘History of  Rome, 34: 53: 3).

John Briscoe (referenced below, 1973, at p. 227) argued that Livy’s ‘Juno Matuta’ in the second passage:

  1. “... must be wrong, since ‘Matuta’ is not known as an epithet for Juno, while Sospita (Saviour) is known and is indeed extremely suitable for [a temple dedicated in war].” 

Rianne (A. M.) Hermans (referenced below, at p. 94) agreed, and argued that:

  1. “ ... the temple of Juno Sospita was [therefore] almost certainly located in the Forum Holitorium, where it was squeezed in between the temples of Janus and Spes, which were both older. ... Remains of the [three] temple have been identified under the church of San Nicola in Carcere, and [it was depicted] on the Forma Urbis [Roma of the 3rd century AD].  The temples were repeatedly restored, and most of the visible remains date from the 1st century AD.”

An entry in the fasti Antiates Maiores reads:

  1. “[1st] of February: .... to Juno Sospita Mater Regina [Juno Saviour, Mother, Queen]”.

However, Ovid did not locate this Temple of Juno Sospita in the Forum Holitorium:

  1. “At the beginning of [February], Juno Sospita, the neighbour of the Phrygian Mother Goddess [whom the Romas called Magna Mater (Great Mother)], is said to have been honoured with new shrines.  If you ask, where [these temples are now], the answer is that  they have tumbled down because of the long lapse of time”, (‘Fasti’ 2: 55-59, based on the translation of James Frazer, revised by G. P. Goold, referenced below).

Rianne Hermans (referenced below, at p. 95) pointed out that the Roman temple of Magna Mater:

  1. “... was on the Palatine, not in the Forum Holitorium.  [Furthermore], it seems highly unlikely that Juno’s temple had ‘tumbled down’ by Ovid’s time, since  ... [as noted above], it appears on the Forma Urbis Roma of the 3rd century AD.  [It is often assumed that] Ovid mistook Magna Mater for Mater Matuta, who did have a temple [in the Forum Boarium near the] Holitorium ...[However, this does not explain his] claim that the temple (or temples) had disappeared by his time.”

She noted (at pp. 95-6) that some scholars have proposed that:

  1. the fasti Antiates Maiores and Ovid’s fasti both referred to an ancient temple on the Palatine that had indeed  ‘tumbled down’ by Ovid’s time; while

  2. Livy’s temple in the Forum Holitorium was the second temple to be dedicated to the goddess in Rome. 

However, she concluded that the case that can be made for this hypothesis:

  1. “... is hardly conclusive. ... [All that] we can conclude [with certainty] is that Juno Sospita was firmly based in Rome from at least [194] BC ...”

Howard Scullard (referenced below, at p. 71) reached broadly the same conclusion:

  1. “In the Forum Holitorium, remains of three temples survive under the church of San Nicola in Carcere, and the most southerly is often identified with that of Juno Sospita; ... it cannot be the temple mentioned by Ovid, since this had disappeared before the poet's day: however, it could be the temple vowed by Cethegus (if that really was in the Forum Holitorium).”

In other words, it seems that Ovid was either mistaken or referring to an otherwise unknown earlier temple, which had also been dedicated on 1st February and which had disappeared by the Augustan period.

Cult of Juno Sospita

Rianne Hermans (referenced below, at p. 83)  pointed out that the cult of Juno Sospita was deeply rooted in the Latin city of Lanuvium, some 30 km south of Rome: 

  1. “From the 7th century BC onwards, [the religious life of this city] revolved around [its] acropolis.  Eventually,... [it was mostly covered by the sanctuary of Juno Sospita, which] dominated the landscape, especially after its monumentalisation in the middle of the 2nd century BC.”

Furthermore, this sanctuary seems to have been an important element of the religious life of Latium as a whole, at least by the 4th century BC: thus, Livy recorded that, after the Romans’ definitive victory over the Latins in 338 BC:

  1. “The people of Lanuvium were given civitas [citizenship, probably with voting rights] and their cults were restored to them, with the stipulation that the temple and grove of Juno Sospita should be held in common by the citizens of Lanuvium and the Roman people”, (‘History of Rome’, 8: 14: 2-3).

Nevertheless, the centre of her cult remained very firmly at Lanuvium (unlike that of Juno Regina, which had been transferred to Rome after the fall of Veii in 396 BC).  Eric Orlin (referenced below, 2010, at p. 123) pointed out that, in the dreadful year of 218 BC, when Hannibal invaded peninsular Italy, which experienced widespread portents of disaster:

  1. “... numerous expiations [were] ordered at that time.  Many [of these] rituals were performed at Rome ... [but the] decemviri [also] decreed that the Romans should make an offering to of 40 pounds of gold to Juno Sospita in Lanuvium ... Bringing an expiatory offering, especially such a costly one, from Rome to the sanctuary at Lanuvium moves the relationship with [the goddess] well beyond recognition of her importance; it makes her a goddess of the Romans, to be propitiated in exactly the same way as a divinity whose home lay in [Rome itself].”

In 63 BC, in a speech defending the consul Lucius Licinius Murena, Cicero urged the jury:

  1. “Do not tear from the hereditary worship of Juno Sospita, to whom all consuls must sacrifice, the consul [Murena] who is her fellow-townsman [at Lanuvium] and her own above all others”,(‘pro Murena)” (based on the translation be C. Macdonald, referenced below)..

Thus, more than a century after the dedication of the temple at Rome, the cult site at Lanuvium retained its political importance.

To sum up: the Latin cult of Juno Sospita was incorporated into Roman religion in 338 BC.  Ovid’s testimony suggests that she also had an ancient temple at Rome, but this was probably incorrect: the likelihood is that the temple that Caius Cornelius Cethegus vowed while consul during the war in Cisalpine Gaul in 197 BC and dedicated in the Forum Holitorium as censor in 194 BC, was the first temple of  the goddess to be built at Rome.  Despite this, her cult site at Lanuvium remained pre-eminent throughout the Republic. 

Temple of Fortuna Primigenia on the Quirinal (194 BC)

Livy recorded the vowing and dedication of this temple in two related passages:

  1. In 204 BC, during the Second Punic War:

  2. “At the start of [a battle in Bruttium], the consul [Publius Sempronius Tuditianus] vowed a temple to Fortuna Primigenia, should he rout the enemy: his prayer was granted [when] the Carthaginians were routed and put to flight ...”, (‘History of  Rome, 29: 36: 8-9).

  3. In 194 BC:

  4. “Quintus Marcius Ralla, a duovir created for this purpose, dedicated a temple to Fortuna Primigenia on the Quirinal hill; the consul Publius Sempronius Sophus had vowed this temple ten years before, during the [Second] Punic War, and had let the contract as censor”, (‘History of  Rome, 34: 53: 5-6).

John Briscoe (referenced below, 1981, at p. 132) observed that:

  1. “... there was no Sempronius Sophus in office during the Second Punic War, and the reference [in the second passage] is clearly to Publius Sempronius Tuditianus [as in the first passage.  However, his term as censor had been] in 209 BC, ... [when] he cannot have let the contract for a temple that he had not vowed.  It is impossible to say how the confusion arose.”

Vitruvius referred to three temples on the Quirinal that were dedicated to Fortuna:

  1. “An example of [a temple ‘in antis’] will be [one of the three temples on the Quirinal dedicated to Fortuna; specifically, the one] nearest to the Colline Gate”, (‘On Architecture’, 3: 2: 2).

An entry in the fasti Antiates Maiores reads:

  1. “[10th] of November: .... to Feronia; Fortuna Primigeinia; and Pietas”.

This temple of Fortuna Primigenia:

  1. might well have been the temple vowed in 204 BC and dedicated in 194 BC;

  2. was presumably one of the three temples on the Quirinal mentioned by Vitruvius.

According to Valerius Maximus:

  1. “[The consul] Lutatius Cerco, who ended the First Punic War [in 241 BC], was forbidden by the Senate to consult the sortes Fortunae Praenestinae because they judged that public business should be conducted under national auspices, not foreign ones”, (“Memorable Doings and Sayings, 1: 3: 2, based on the translation  by David Shackleton Bailey (referenced below) of a surviving fragment from Iulius Paris)

Thus, it seems that Lutatius had intended to consult for some reason the venerable oracle of Fortuna Primigenia at Praeneste (some 35 km from Rome), but had been forbidden to do so because the Senate considered that hers was a ‘foreign’ cult.  Eric Orlin (referenced below, 1997, at p. 181) observed that:

  1. “In this short span of [fewer than 50 years], Fortuna Primigenia moved from being a goddess whom the Senate did not trust to a home of the Quirinal hill, inside the pomerium of Rome itself.”



Orlin observed (at p. 185)

  1. Considering the tenor of these years, it is not surprising to see the Senate attempt to exercise more control over the matter of new temples. ”

He suggested (at p. 187) that is was only after:

  1. “... the small step of giving the dedication [of temples to officials previously unconnected with them] failed to have an effect that more drastic steps were taken [in order to bring matters under control].”

But, the question remains: since six of the temples dedicated in this period had been vowed by magistrates on their own authority (five of them in battle)in battle, why were four dedicated by  duoviri who had had no previous connection with them:

  1. 194 BC: Vediovis on the Tiber Island (vowed by Furius);

  2. 194 BC: Fortuna Primagenia (vowed by Publius Sempronius Tuditianus);

  3. 192 BC: Vediovis on the Capitol (vowed by Furius); and

  4. 191 BC: Juventus (vowed by Marcus Livius Salinator);

while the other two:

  1. 194 BC: Juno Sospita (vowed and dedicated by Caius Cornelius Cethegus);

  2. 193 BC: Victoria Virgo  (vowed in unknown circumstance by Marcus Porcius Cato as consul and subsequently dedicated by him);

were dedicated in the usual way ?  Orlin suggested that:

  1. the dedications by Caius Cornelius Cethegus (in 194 BC) and Marcus Porcius Cato (in 193 BC) of temples for which they had vowed probably indicated harmony between these individuals and the Senate, despite the changing political climate (see p. 181);

  2. the dedication in 194 BC by a duovir of the Temple of Fortuna Primagenia vowed by Publius Sempronius Tuditianus might simply indicate that neither Sempronius himself nor any of his male descendants were active in public life at that time (see p. 185);

  3. the dedication in 191 BC by a duovir of the Temple of Juventus vowed by Marcus Livius Salinator at a time when his son was active in public life might indicate that the family had some strong opponents in the Senate (see p. 183); and

although the dedication of Furius’s two temples of Vediovis by duoviri would have been conditioned by the wider movement to control the behaviour of ambitious individuals, it may also have been motivated in part by personal animosity arising from the controversy surrounding his triumph as praetor in 200 BC (see p. 185).

Eric Orlin (referenced below, 1997, at p. 185) observed that, surprisingly, all of these four unusual temple dedications took place:

  1. “... in a three-year time span, from 194 to 191 BC, even though the vows for building them had been made on distinctly different occasions.”

He pointed out that this coincided with the start of a period of about a decade that:

  1. “ ... saw several victories in the East, followed by a series of magnificent triumphs, each more lavish that the one before.  These years also witnessed a series of extraordinary political events as the Senate attempted to assert its authority over these individuals and its control over the ever-increasing amounts of money coming to Rome at this time.”


It is surprising that Furius dedicated neither of the temples that he had vowed on 200 - 196 BC, despite the fact that, as Eric Orlin (referenced below, 1997, at pp. 185) pointed out, he was still active in public life in 189 BC.   A similar situation arose in the same year with the dedication of the temple of  Fortuna Primagenia: Livy recorded the relevant details in two related passages:

  1. In 204 BC, during the Second Punic War:

  2. “At the start of [a battle in Bruttium], the consul [Publius Sempronius Tuditianus] vowed a temple to Fortuna Primigenia, should he rout the enemy: his prayer was granted [when] the Carthaginians were routed and put to flight ...”, (‘History of  Rome, 29: 36: 8-9).

  3. In 194 BC:

  4. “Quintus Marcius Ralla, a duovir created for this purpose, dedicated a temple to Fortuna Primigenia on the Quirinal hill; the consul Publius Sempronius [Tuditianus] had vowed this temple ten years before, during the [Second] Punic War, and had let the contract as censor”, (‘History of  Rome, 34: 53: 5-6).

In this case, we do not know if Sempronius or any of his male descendants were active in public life in 194 BC: all we can say is that a pair of duoviri were appointed in 194 BC for the express purpose of dedicating temples for which they had previously had no connection:

  1. on 1st January, the duovir Caius Servilius dedicated Furius’ temple on the Tiber Island to Vediovis; and

  2. on 10th November, his colleague, Quintus Marcius Ralla (whom Livy explicitly says had been created duovir for this purpose) dedicated Sempronius’ temple to Fortuna Primigenia on the Quirinal hill.

This was in sharp contrast to the cases of the other two temples that were dedicated in 194 BC:

  1. Livy recorded the vowing and dedication of the Temple of Juno Sospita in two related passages:

  2. In 197 BC, at the beginning of [a battle in Cisalpine Gaul], the consul Caius Cornelius Cethegus:

  3. “... vowed a temple to Juno Sospita, provided that the enemy should be routed and driven from the field on that day”, (History of  Rome, 32: 30: 10); and 

  4. the 1st February 194 BC saw the dedication of a temple:

  5. “... to Juno [Sospita] in the Forum Olitorium, which had been vowed and contracted for four years before in the Gallic war by the consul Caius Cornelius, who also dedicated it while censor”, (‘History of  Rome, 34: 53: 3).

  6. Livy similarly recorded the construction and dedication of the Temple of Faunus in two related passages:

  7. In 197 BC:

  8. “The plebeian aediles, Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Caius Scribonius Curio, brought many pecuarii (grazers of animals)  to trial before the people: three of them were convicted and [the aediles] built a temple to Faunus on the [Tiber] Island out of the money they paid as fines”, (‘History of  Rome’, 33: 42: 9); and

  9. on 13th February 194 BC:

  10. “...  Cnaeus Domitius ... dedicated it while city praetor”, (‘History of  Rome’, 34: 53: 4).

The significance of the unusual arrangements for the dedication of the temples to Vediovis and to Fortuna Primagenia in 194 BC becomes clearer if we put them in a wider political context.  Eric Orlin (referenced below, 1997, at p. 182) noted that:

  1. “We know of only five cases [including these two in 194 BC] in which our sources specify that individuals from two different families were responsible for the vow and the dedication of a temple.”

The other three known cases involved the following temples:

  1. the Temple of Concordia on the Capitol, which was vowed in 219 BC by the praetor Lucius Manlius but commissioned (in 217 BC) and dedicated (in 216 BC) by pairs of duoviri who were not related to him;

  2. Furius’ Temple of Vediovis on the Capitol, which, as we have seen, was dedicated in 192 BC by the duovir Quintus Marcius Ralla (as duovir for the second time); and

  3. the Temple of Juventus at the Circus Maximus was vowed in 207 BC by the consul Marcus Livius Salinator, commissioned by him as censor in 204 BC, but dedicated in 191 BC by a duovir who was not related to him, despite that (even if he had died by that time) his son was still active in public life.

The first of these three dedications (that of the Temple of Concordia) might well have been necessitated because of the pressures of war: as Orlin pointed out (at p. 189):

  1. “Under the stress of the Second Punic War, vows [made to the gods] took on extraordinary importance, and fulfilling them promptly and properly was of paramount importance.”

However, the other four cases arose only after the war had ended, so we must look for other explanations for them. 


Dionysius of Halicarnassus dealt with Romulus’ association with this site (which Ovid mentioned in the quote above):

  1. “... finding that many of the cities in Italy were very badly governed, ... [Romulus] undertook to attract fugitives from them ... His purpose was to increase the power of the Romans and to lessen that of their neighbours; but he invented a specious pretext for this initiative, making it appear that he was showing honour to a god: for he consecrated the place between the Capitol and the citadel (which is now called, in the language of the Romans ‘inter duos lucos’ (a term that described the actual conditions at that time, when the place was shaded by thick woods on both sides where it joined the hills) and made it an asylum for supplicants.   He also built a temple there, but I cannot say for certain to which god or divinity he dedicated it .  [Thus], under the colour of religion, he undertook to protect those who fled to [this consecrated location] from ... their enemies; and if they chose to remain with him, he promised them citizenship and a share of the land he should take from the enemy”, (‘Roman Antiquities’. 2: 15: 3-4).

Plutarch also wrote of a sanctified place of asylum here:

  1. “... when Rome was first founded, they made a sanctuary of refuge for all fugitives, which they called the sanctuary of the God of Asylum.  There, they received all who came, delivering none up (neither slave to masters, nor debtor to creditors, nor murderer to magistrates), declaring that they made the asylum secure for all men in obedience to an oracle from Delphi”, (‘Life of Romulus’, 9: 3).

I wonder whether, in some traditions, Dionysius’ Romulean temple here was dedicated to Plutarch’s ‘God of Asylum’, and whether the god in question was Vediovis ??



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