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Temple of Venus and Rome

Temple of Venus and Rome

The largest of Rome's temples, this was a double temple, with back-to-back halls where each of the two goddesses was worshipped: Venus in the eastern hall, Roma in the western. Designed by Hadrian (A.D. 76-138) himself, it was inaugurated on the Parilia festival (April 21) in A.D. 121 and was dedicated in 135. Hadrian's design was criticized by Trajan's architect, Apollodorus of Damascus. The angry emperor is said to have put the architect to death, though scholars have doubted the story. The temple was located on the site occupied by the vestibule to Nero's Golden House. The colossal statue of Nero standing here had to be moved to a site next to the Colosseum. Maxentius (A.D. 278-312) rebuilt it after a fire in A.D. 307. Substantial remains can still be seen.

Templum Veneris et Romae

From Samuel Ball Platner, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, rev. Thomas Ashby. Oxford: 1929, p. 552-554.

The double temple on the Velia built by Hadrian (Chron. 146; Hieron. a. Abr. 2147), and dedicated to Venus Felix, the ancestress of the Roman people, and to the genius of the city, Roma aeterna. The association of these two divinities on a coin of C. Egnatius Maximus is noticed by Babelon (i.472; but cf. BM. Rep. I. p399, n3). It was also called templum urbis Romae p553(Serv. Aen. II.227), templum urbis (Amm. Marcell. XVI.10.14; Hist. Aug. Hadr. 19; Cassiod. Chron.), urbis Venerisque templa (Prud. c. Sym. I.221), and possibly templum Veneris (Hist. Aug. trig. tyr. 32). The plans were drawn by Hadrian himself, and evoked sharp criticism from his Greek architect, Apollodorus, who is said to have been put to death in consequence (Cass. Dio LXIX.4). The temple was dedicated in 135 A.D. (Hieron. loc. cit.; cf. Athen. viii.63, p361, who erroneously gives the day as the Parilia), but perhaps finished by Antoninus Pius (Cohen, Hadrian 1420‑1423, Pius 698‑703, 1074‑1076).

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Additional source material

  • Ancient Library Sources (from Peter Aicher, Rome Alive: A Source Guide to the Ancient City, vol. 1, Bolchazy-Carducci: 2004) [Works cited]

    56. Temple of Rome and Venus. Sources.


    The Senate [in AD 176, after the death of Faustina] decreed that silver statues of Marcus Aurelius and his wife Faustina should be set up in the Temple of Venus and Rome, as well as an altar on which all newly-wed couples in the city were to make a sacrifice.

    Dio, History 72.31.1

    [More primary sources and commentary]

  • German Archaeological Institute
  • Wikipedia

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