The story

Temple of Vejovis, Rome



Temple of Venus and Roma

The Temple of Venus and Roma (Latin: Templum Veneris et Romae) is thought to have been the largest temple in Ancient Rome. Located on the Velian Hill, between the eastern edge of the Forum Romanum and the Colosseum, in Rome, it was dedicated to the goddesses Venus Felix ("Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune") and Roma Aeterna ("Eternal Rome").

The building was the creation of the emperor Hadrian and construction began in 121. It was officially inaugurated by Hadrian in 135, and finished in 141 under Antoninus Pius. Damaged by fire in 307, [1] it was restored with alterations by the emperor Maxentius.


Temple of Vejovis, Rome - History

Temple Rome students have many opportunities to engage with Rome beyond the classroom. In addition to meeting Villa Caproni guests during gallery openings, lectures, critiques, and special events, Temple Rome students learn from Italian partners and mentors every day through internships, tutoring programs, volunteer opportunities, and more.

INTERNSHIPS

Our internship program provides students with an immersive, in-depth introduction to the Italian workplace, coupled with an academic context for their experience.

STUDENT ACTIVITIES

Read about all of the student activities organized at Temple Rome each semester, including soccer nights, wine tasting, a Tiramisù Extravaganza and many more.

TUTOR ENGLISH

Thanks to our popular “Mamiani Project,” Temple Rome students tutor English to over 300 Italian high school students each semester, across 15 different language classes.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Students are invited to take part in a number of volunteer opportunities during their time in Rome: from taking a shift at a local soup kitchen to a semester-long commitment at a refugee center.


Entrance to the Temple of Venus and Rome is to the left of the Arch of Titus as you face the Colosseum, before leaving the forum.

The Colosseum is situated in the heart of the city of Rome at Piazza del Colosseo. The twin cities are well-connected by an extensive public transport system, allowing you to easily reach the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

The Colosseum has its own metro station: Colosseo, on metro line B. To travel by bus, buses 40, 60 and 75 stop at Piazza del Colosseo which is nearby. The Piazza del Colosseo tram stop is located right outside the Colosseum. You can take tram Lines 3 and 8 to reach your destination.


Temple of Vejovis, Rome - History

Photo: Painting in the studio.

Returned to explore the southern end of the forum, looking at warehouses and The House of the Vestal Virgins whose occupants were entrusted to keep the sacred fire burning in Rome. A life-sized marble statue of each Head Vestal originally lined the courtyard that faces onto the forum. The name of one has been erased from the base. Some believe this refers to Claudia who converted to Christianity marking the decline of the pagan era. The Vestals took a vow of chastity and were considered married to the state, which appears to have became the model for Catholic nuns.

Nearby a temple honoured the gods of war and fertility. It seems the Romans responded to correlating opposites (i.e. also considering the oppositional role the temple to Vejovis might have served to The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.)

The journey up the Via Sacra (Sacred Way) ends with the Arch of Titus, constructed in the first century and celebrating the destruction of Jerusalem. The Arch of Septimius stands diagonally opposite at the north-eastern end of the forum, next to the Umbilicus Urbis Romae and the Milliarium Aureum. One wonders whether a relationship between the two was conceived, ala Janus, with one marking the coming and the other the going.

My paintings have centred on the highway and the high-rise in which the transitory and the monumental are represented. The victory arch combines both in relation to a fleeting event in history.

During the Middle Ages the Arch of Titus was incorporated into a wall. It was in serious disrepair before the structures around it were removed and it was restored in 1817.

Photo: The Arch of Titus today and as depicted by Canaletto in 1744.

A road from the Arch of Titus also ascends the Palatine where in contrast to the cluttered forum, palaces and ruins are set in cultivated gardens and amongst the wilder Roman Pines, reminding one of paintings by Sydney Long and Rick Amor. This view reminded me of Edward Hopper.


Contents

The cult was probably introduced in Rome during the 2nd century BC, as attested by two inscriptions discovered on the Capitoline Hill mentioning priests of Isis Capitolina. [4] Cassius Dio reports that in 53 BC the Senate ordered the destruction of all private shrines inside the pomerium dedicated to Egyptian gods [5] however, a new temple to Serapis and Isis was voted by the second Triumvirate in 43 BC. [6] Repressive measures against Egyptian cults were decreed by Augustus in 28 BC, [7] Agrippa in 21 BC, [8] and Tiberius who, in 19 AD, had the priests of the goddess executed and the cult statue thrown into the Tiber. [9] [10]

The cult was officially reinstalled sometime between the reign of Caligula and 65 AD, [11] and it continued to be practiced until the end of the late imperial period, [12] [13] when all pagan cults were forbidden and Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire.

The precise date of the construction of the sanctuary in the Campus Martius is not known, but it has been suggested that it was built shortly after the Triumvirate's vote in 43 BC, between 20 and 10 BC, [14] or during the reign of Caligula (37-41 AD). [15] The whole complex was also rebuilt by Domitian after its destruction in the great fire of 80, [16] [17] and later restored by Severus Alexander. [18] If still in use during the 4th-century, it would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire.

A fire in the 5th century AD left the structure dilapidated, [19] and its last remains were probably destroyed in the following centuries, [14] although parts of it (such as the two entrance arches) might have survived until the Middle Ages. [20]

Juvenal [21] mentions the temple being standing next to the Saepta Iulia, a placement confirmed by the depiction on the Forma Urbis Romae showing a southern part comprising a semicircular apse with several exedrae, and a courtyard surrounded by porticoes on the north and southern sides, with an entrance to the East.

It is difficult to gather more precise data about the original aspect of the sanctuary, as its architecture has been completely erased by later buildings and modifications to the area. The generally accepted reconstruction proposes that the whole area was a rectangle measuring about 220 x 70 meters [22] [23] that comprised wells, obelisks, and Egyptian statues, along with a small temple of Isis in the northern section. [24] [25]

The only known depictions of the sanctuary apart from the plan on the Forma Urbis are four denarii minted during the reigns of Vespasian and Domitian. [26] The earliest coin shows a small Corinthian temple on podium, with an Egyptian-style architrave with solar disk and ureai topped by a pediment showing Isis-Sothis riding the dog Sirius the columns frame the cult statue of the goddess inside the cella. [27] The temple appears slightly different in a later emission, in which it has a flat roof, but the presence of the identical cult statue allows the identification with the same temple. Another coin shows a tetrastyle temple on podium with flat top, and a similar structure with a pediment, interpreted as the temple of Serapis. The last denarius depicts a three-bayed arch that could be the propylon to the sanctuary. [26] A similar arch with the inscription ARCVS AD ISIS is present in one of the reliefs from the 2nd-century AD Mausoleum of the Haterii. This structure has been identified with the Arco di Carmigliano, once standing across Via Labicana and dismantled in 1595, which would have constituted the eastern entrance to the sanctuary built by Vespasian. [14] [28] [29] [30] [31] It has also been proposed that the area could be accessed from the West through a quadrifrons arch built by Hadrian, [32] now part of the apse of the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. [33] [34]


Temple of Vejovis, Rome - History

First, it's important to understand how Rome's hills were formed. Think of a plain with a river running through it approximately from north to south. The river cuts a channel which, of course, over time, widens to form a flood plain through which the river meanders when it is at normal levels. Streams feeding into the river erode valleys that descend from the upper plain down to the flood plain. Ridges of land that are not eroded remain between the valleys leading down to the river. Sometimes, the ends of ridges are cut off by changes in the course of the streams or by flooding of the river and these "loose ends" become isolated hills. In Rome, both ancient and modern, a confusion factor is added by using the word "hill" to describe both the ridges and isolated hills: the Quirinal, Viminal, Esquinal, and Caelian are actually ridges, and the Aventine, Palatine, and Capitoline are "loose end" hills. Some of the ridges and hills have multiple high points and these also were called hills at various times.

The Capitoline Hill is the smallest in surface area of Rome's traditional seven hills, but it is also the highest. It has two high points, which the ancients Romans called the Arx and the Capitolium. The Ancients knew which was which, but that information was somehow lost over the centuries -- all the historians knew was that the very large temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus stood on the Capitolium and that the other high point was the Arx. The mystery was solved in 1875 when Rudolfo Lanciani, Italy's ace Roman archeologist, found the platform of the Jupiter temple below the garden between Palazzo Conservatori and Palazzo Caffarelli on the southern height. Excavations around the platform have continued in fits and starts until today -- University of Texas scholars are now prominent on the team..

The contours of the Capitoline Hill have been softened, mostly by human activity, in the intervening centuries and it's now hard to see how very defensible the hill was in ancient times: the slopes are much more gradual now, and the level of the central saddle has risen by about seven meters. Michelangelo's gentle "scalinata" up the western slope wasn't there in ancient times: the Capitoline monuments faced east then, toward the Forum, and any access up the western side was a fairly late addition. By the time the scalinata was built, the street level at the bottom end had already risen about eight meters.

When you visit the Capitoline Hill today, you can best visualize the heights if you stand on the Campidoglio pavement (finally added in the 1930s, with colors reversed from Michelangelo's drawings) right in front of and facing the fountain. From there you can see the steep flights leading up on opposite sides of the square: to the north, over your left shoulder, are the stairs up to the side door of the church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli on the Arx -- and to south, over your right shoulder, are the flights up to the Capitolium.

On the more northerly height, the Arx, there stood a temple dedicated to Juno Moneta, that is, Juno who warns of approaching danger. Early bronze money was made at this temple, and its name is the origin of our words "money" and "monetary". The Arx is also thought to be the site of an open air "templum" where augurs watched the activities of birds to see if it was safe to undertake proposed actions. Thatâs the place where all young men went the first time they put on the forma "toga virilis" (toga of manhood) and assumed the rights and duties of citizenship at age 14. Juno Moneta is thought to have been where the Ara Coeli church is now, but there is no real proof of where the templum was -- perhaps it's under the Victor Emanuel monument.

A saddle called the Asylum joined the two heights, and in the center of the Asylum, in about 190 BC was built, a temple of Vediovis (Vejovis). The remains of this temple, which are well preserved because they were protected by the Tabularium, into which it was later integrated, can be seen under the Palazzo Senatorio on the Campidoglio (go down through the Museums toward the Tabularium). Vediovis is usually identified as an aspect of Aesculepius, and this temple may have been located at the point of quarantine for new arrivals. (The Etruscan god Veive may also be somewhere in the background of Vediovis. Even in ancient times, however, Vediovis was sometimes misidentified as Jupiter -- Jupiter held aloft a bundle of lightning bolts, and Vediovis either held lightning bolts or arrows, and Vejovis sounds almost the same as Jovus, an alternate name for Jupiter.) The limbless cult statue is now on view in the corridor outside the temple. The temple is unusual in that its entry porch is on one of its long sides, rather than on one of the shorter ends of its rectangular shape. Many archeologists think that the entry was moved to the side when the temple was incorporated into the tabularium.


President Nelson Calls Rome Temple Dedication a “Hinge Point” in Church History

President M. Russell Ballard and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints react to a photograph taken earlier in the day of themselves in Rome, Italy, on Monday, March 11, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

The dedication of the Rome Italy Temple is “a hinge point in the history of the Church,” said President Russell M. Nelson while visiting the ancient and great city where two millennia ago Peter and Paul preached and died.

“Things are going to move forward at an accelerated pace,” said President Nelson. “The Church is going to have an unprecedented future, unparalleled. We’re just building up to what’s ahead now.”

President Nelson’s words followed a historic weekend March 9–12 in which the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the Rome Italy Temple , addressed youth in the temple district , and met with Pope Francis —becoming the first prophet to have a formal audience with the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

President Nelson was joined by every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Rome, one of the most influential cities in the history of Christianity. The Church leaders stood together on March 11 in the Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center for iconic photographs—symbols of their unified testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.

In addition to the group photograph, President Nelson—who holds all the keys to the Church—stood near the statue of Peter. The keys held in Peter’s hand are symbolic of Matthew 16:19, where Christ promised Peter, “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

After the photographs, President Nelson looked forward with characteristic energy and optimism. The many historic firsts of the weekend are “only the beginning,” he said.

Members of the First Presidency expressed deep gratitude for the invitation President Nelson gave them to participate in the historic events surrounding the dedication of the Rome temple.

The Lord, he said, told him to take all the senior leaders to Rome for the dedication. “I was just following the instructions I received,” he said. “It was very clear to me.”

Only a few times in history has the entire senior leadership of the Church been together outside of Utah, the most recent being the Nauvoo Illinois Temple dedication in 2002.

President Nelson said the Church leaders’ time in Rome will be “a blessing for the people all over the world because these Apostles now will go all over the world and recap the experiences that they felt here as this holy house was dedicated.”

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles added: “We know that two former-day apostles, Peter and Paul, were here, and then to have modern-day Apostles here, all of us, is just a moving experience, in some ways paying homage to them and homage to the gospel that we all preach.”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Everything in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ focuses on Him and ordinances and covenants. Period. End of sentence. Exclamation point. …. And that is what we’ll take all over.”

He said this marks “the beginning of something very majestic, and President Nelson has already highlighted the fact that this experience here is a hinge point not just for the Church in this temple district but in all the world.”

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claps during the cornerstone ceremony for the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy, on Sunday, March 10, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dressed in white temple clothing, posed for an iconic photograph in the Rome Italy Temple Visitors' Center in Rome, Italy on Monday, March 11, 2019. Front center are President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring. Also included are members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: President M. Russell Ballard, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, Elder Dale G. Renlund, Elder Gerrit W. Gong, and Elder Ulisses Soares. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posed for an iconic photograph in Rome, Italy, on Monday, March 11, 2019. Front center are President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring. Also included are members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: President M. Russell Ballard, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, Elder Dale G. Renlund, Elder Gerrit W. Gong, and Elder Ulisses Soares. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson presents Pope Francis with a small statue of the Christus and a framed copy of the Church’s proclamation on the family. President Nelson and President M. Russell Ballard visited with the Pope on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Vatican.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, greet attendees after a devotional in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

The Rome Italy Temple in Rome, Italy, on Monday, March 11, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.


Nero’s Rome burns

The great fire of Rome breaks out and destroys much of the city on this day in the year 64. Despite the well-known stories, there is no evidence that the Roman emperor, Nero, either started the fire or played the fiddle while it burned. Still, he did use the disaster to further his political agenda.

The fire began in the slums of a district south of the legendary Palatine Hill. The area’s homes burned very quickly and the fire spread north, fueled by high winds. During the chaos of the fire, there were reports of heavy looting. The fire ended up raging out of control for nearly three days. Three of Rome’s 14 districts were completely wiped out only four were untouched by the tremendous conflagration. Hundreds of people died in the fire and many thousands were left homeless.

Although popular legend holds that Emperor Nero fiddled while the city burned, this account is wrong on several accounts. First, the fiddle did not even exist at the time. Instead, Nero was well known for his talent on the lyre he often composed his own music. More importantly, Nero was actually 35 miles away in Antium when the fire broke out. In fact, he let his palace be used as a shelter.

Legend has long blamed Nero for a couple of reasons. Nero did not like the aesthetics of the city and used the devastation of the fire in order to change much of it and institute new building codes throughout the city. Nero also used the fire to clamp down on the growing influence of Christians in Rome. He arrested, tortured and executed hundreds of Christians on the pretext that they had something to do with the fire.


Transversal gallery

At the top of the stairs leading up from the Junction Gallery we find the colossal marble statue of Veiovis found in the cell area of the temple, where it must have been the central image of worship. On the right-hand side, protected by glass, we can see the rear portion of the high travertine marble pedestal of the Temple of Veiovis, beyond the remains of the large tufa-stone Tabularium wall, which at this point was indented to allow for the presence of the temple.

The Temple of Vejovis was discovered in the foundations of Palazzo Senatorio, during excavations carried out in the late 30s to build the gallery that connects the two Capitol buildings. It was characterized by a transverse cella, wider than deep, preceded by a pronaos with four columns the podium is made of travertine, while the walls of the cella are of Grotta Oscura tufa.

Based on literary sources, the temple was identified as the one dedicated to Vejovis in 192 B.C.inter duos lucos, inter Arcem et Capitolium (between the two woods, between the Arx and the Capitolium).

The building we see today is the result of the refurbishment in the age of Sulla (early first century B.C.) with major renovations during the Flavian period (late second century AD). In the latter period the wooden vault was replaced with one in concrete and the inside decoration of the cella was enriched with inlaid coloured marble.

During the excavations, a cult statue was found in the cella, unfortunately without the head: it depicts a young-looking male deity, twice bigger than the norm, standing naked with a heavy cloak leaning against his left shoulder.

To reach the large gallery facing the Roman Forum one had to go through the cellars, which were originally not accessible.

On the left, some rooms on two floors are worthy of mention, one of which preserves the barrel vault and the white plaster on the walls: though at the same level of the gallery, originally it did not communicate with it and was accessible from the Roman Forum only through a narrow corridor with windows that ran below the gallery one is supposed to recognize the officina Monetae, namely the mint, placed on the Arx next to the temple of Juno Moneta.

At the end of the corridor leading to the gallery we can see, on the right-hand side, a portion of the trabeation of the Temple of Vespasian and Titus, the remains of which are also visible in the Roman Forum below, next to the foundations of the Tabularium. Directly opposite we can see a modern aperture one of the areas on the north-eastern side of the Tabularium, with white limestone cemented paving.

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