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p15 Aedes Apollinis in Campo Martio

Article on pp15‑16 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.


Apollo, AEDES (delubrum, Pliny bis, templum, id. bis): the first temple of Apollo in Rome, in the campus Martius, vowed in 433 B.C. because of a plague that had raged in the city (Liv. IV.25.3), and dedicated in 431 by the consul Cn. Julius (Liv. IV.29.7). It was in or close to an earlier cult centre of the god, the Apollinar (q.v.), either a grove or an altar. This was the only temple of Apollo in Rome until Augustus built that on the Palatine (Asc. in Cic. orat. in tog. cand. 90‑91), and being a foreign cult was outside the pomerium (extra urbem, Liv. XXXIV.43.2; XXXVII.58.3). Therefore it was a regular place for extra-pomerial meetings of the senate (Liv. locc. citt.; XXXIX.4.1; XLI.17.4; Cic. ad Q. fr. II.3.3; ad fam. VIII.4.4, 8.5, 6; ad Att. XV.3.1; cf. Lucan III.103: Phoebeia palatia complet turba patrum nullo cogendi iure senatus).

The site is variously described as extra portam Carmentalem inter forum holitorium et circum Flaminium (Asc. loc. cit.), in pratis Flaminiis (Liv. III.63.7), near the forum (Plut. Sulla 32), near the Capitol (Cass. Dio. frg. 50.1), near the theatre of Marcellus (Mon. Anc. IV.22; cf. Liv. XXVII.37.11). These indications point definitely to a site just north of the theatre of Marcellus and east of the porticus Octaviae, on the street that led through the porta Carmentalis to the campus Martius, a little south of the present Piazza Campitelli.

Twice Pliny (NH XIII.53; XXXVI.28) speaks of works of art in the temple of Apollo Sosianus, and this epithet is usually explained as referring to a restoration of this temple, carried out by a Sosius, probably C. Sosius, consul in 32 B.C. and governor of Syria (Prosop. III.253. 556; but cf. JRS 1916, 183). Livy's statement (VII.20.9: relicum anni (353 B.C.) muris turribusque reficiendis consumptum et aedes Apollinis dedicata est) may refer to an earlier restoration, as the direct evidence of Asconius precludes the possibility of any second temple. This temple was also known as that of Apollo Medicus, and in 179 B.C. the censors let the contract for building a porticus from it to the Tiber, behind the temple of Spes (Liv. XL.51.6: locavit . . . porticum aliam post navalia et ad fanum Herculis et post Spei [a] Tiberi [ad] aedem Apollinis Medici. The MSS. read et post Spei ad Tiberim aedem Apollinis Medici, which Frank prefers — see below). In Greek it appears as Ἀπολλώνιον (Cass. Dio frg. 50.1). The shedding of tears for three days by the statue of Apollo, undoubtedly that in this temple, is cited among the prodigia at the death of the Younger Scipio (Cass. Dio frg. 84.2).

In this temple were some famous works of art, brought probably for the most part to Rome by C. Sosius — paintings by Aristides of Thebes (Plin. NH XXXV.99), several statues by Philiscus of Rhodes (ib. XXXVI.34), an Apollo citharoedus by Timarchides (ib. 35), a statue of Apollo of cedar wood from Seleucia (ib. XIII.53), and the celebrated group of the Niobids p16 (ib. XXXVI.28), which even the ancients were doubtful whether they should ascribe to Scopas or Praxiteles (Roscher III.409‑421).1 The day of dedication of the temple in the Augustan period was 23rd September (Fast. Urb. Arv. ad IX kal. Oct.; CIL I2 p215, 252, 339). Below the cloisters of S. Maria in Campitelli are remains of its podium wall, 13 metres long, over 4 high and over 2 thick. Delbrück assumed without question that it was a part of the original structure; but Frank, while admitting that the core, of blocks of cappellaccio tufa, may belong to it, maintains, owing to the use in the facing of tufa from Monte Verde (the southern end of the Janiculum) that the rest belongs to the restoration of 179 A.D. (Liv. XL.51.6, which he refers to the temple itself), except some concrete with facing of opus reticulatum, attributable to the restoration of Sosius (Delbrück, Apollotempel, Rome, 1903; HJ 535‑538; Wissowa, Rel. 294; Arch. f. Religionsw. 1909, 74‑75; BC 1893, 46‑60; Bull. d. Inst. 1878, 218; Mem. Am. Acad. II.60‑61; TF 131‑134; JRS 1925, 123).


The Authors' Note:

1 They are quite certainly due to neither. For other paintings, cf. Urlichs, Malerei vor Caesar, 13.


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