Photographer's Note

Good Morning Everyone,

My last photograph showed a view from the Palatine Hill towards the Colosseum.

This photograph shows what was visible in the opposite direction. It really was a stunning viewpoint to survey some amazing historical buildings in Rome.

The temple in this photograph is that of Emperor and Empress Antoninus Pius and Faustina Maior.
(It is even better to view in the large format as a new tab.)

The temple was a cult site and it is counted among the latest buildings to be erected on the Forum Romanum.

The building delimits the Forum on the northeast corner and was the last prestige-enhancing temple to be newly constructed on the Forum during the Imperial Period.

The ancient temple was saved from destruction, because the later church San Lorenzo in Miranda was built into it: This why this building constitutes one of the best-preserved ancient temples of Rome.

The reason for the construction of the temple was the death of Emperor Antoninus Pius’ wife, Faustina Maior, in 141 A.D. After her death, the deceased Empress was given all Roman honours and deified by the Senate. Shortly afterwards her own cult was founded and Antoninus Pius ordered that a temple be erected in the northeast corner of the Forum Romanum for the newly created Imperial cult. When Anotninus died (about 20 years later) on March 7th, 161 A.D., he was also deified by the Senate and incorporated into the cult of his wife.

The building is only seldom mentioned within ancient literature. Some sources speak of the statues of the Roman elite that were erected within the temple area. The church San Lorenzo in Miranda was built into the pronaos of the temple in the 5th century A.D. This not only led to radical alterations of the ancient architecture, but “filled” the building with new content. The temple had started off as a building of the Imperial cult, but after the church San Miranda was built in, the building served the purposes of Christianity, which had taken on a greater significance between 300 – 600 A.D. and been declared the “state religion” in 380 A.D. by Theodosius.

The rise of Christianity went hand in hand with a departure from Roman polytheism and the Imperial cults. Big parts of the temple survived, because the church was built into it. This secured the importance of the structure in the Middle Ages.

It really is amazing how many ancient structures are still available for us to discover, millennia after their construction!

Keep safe this weekend, Bev :-)

I have a feeling that some irresponsible people will ignore the rules about safe distancing and attempt to party this w/e because of the Easter Weekend. Let's hope that I am wrong!

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Additional Photos by Beverley Robinson (Royaldevon) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 8264 W: 345 N: 19079] (75468)
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