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p102 Aedes Castoris

Articles on pp102‑105 of

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


Castor, aedes: a temple of Castor (or the Dioscuri?) in circo Flaminio, that is, in Region IX, to which there are but two references. Its day of dedication was 13th August (Hemerol. Allif. Amit. ad id. Aug.; CIL I2 p325: Castori Polluci in Circo Flaminio; Fast. Ant. ap. NS 1921, 107), and it is cited by Vitruvius (IV.8.4) as an example of an unusual type (columnis adiectis dextra ac sinistra ad umeros pronai), like a temple of Athene on the Acropolis at Athens, and another at Sunium (Gilb. III.76, 84).

Castor, aedes, templum: * the temple of Castor and Pollux at the south-east corner of the forum area, close to the fons Iuturnae (Cic. de nat. deor. III.13; Plut. Coriol. 3; Dionys, VI.13; Mart. I.70.3; FUR fr. 20, cf. NS 1882, 233). According to tradition, it was vowed in 499 B.C. by the dictator Postumius, when the Dioscuri appeared on this spot after the battle of Lake Regillus, and dedicated in 484 by the son of the dictator who was appointed duumvir for this purpose (Liv. II.20.12, 42.5; Dionys. loc. cit.). The day of dedication is given in the calendar as 27th January (Fast. Praen. CIL I2 p308; Fast. Verol. ap. NS 1923, 196; Ov. Fast. I.705‑706), but by Livy (II.42.5) as 15th July. The laterº may be merely an error, or the date of the first temple only (see WR 216‑217, and literature there cited).

Its official name was aedes Castoris (Suet. Caes. 10: ut enim geminis fratribus aedes in foro constituta tantum Castoris vocaretur; Cass. Dio XXXVII.8; and regularly in literature and inscriptions — Cic. pro Sest. 85; in Verr. I.131, 132, 133, 134; III.41; Liv. cit. and VIII.11.16; Fest. 246, 286;1 Gell. XI.3.2; Mon. Anc. IV.13; Plaut. Curc. 481; CIL VI.363, 9177, 9393, 9872, 10024 — aedes Castorus (CIL I2582.17) or Kastorus (ib. 586.1; cf. EE III.70) appear merely as variants of this), but we also find aedes Castorum (Plin. NH X.121; XXXIV.23; Hist. Aug. Max. 16.1; Valer. 5.4; Not. Reg. VIII; Chron. 146), and Castoris et Pollucis2 (Fast. p103Praen. CIL p.I2.308; Asc. in Scaur. 46; Suet. Tib. 20; Cal. 22; Flor. Ep. III.3.20, cf. Lact. Inst. II.7.9; CIL VI.2202, 2203, although perhaps not in Rome, cf. Jord. I.2.369), forms due either to vulgar usage or misplaced learning. Besides aedes, templum is found in Cicero (pro Sest. 79; in Vat. 31, 32; in Pis. 11, 23; pro Mil. 18; de domo 110; de harusp. resp. 49; ad Q. fr. II.3.6), Livy once (IX.43.22), Asconius (in Pis. 23; in Scaur. 46), the Scholia to Juvenal (XIV.261), the Notitia and Chronograph (loc. cit.). In Greek writers it appears as τὸ τῶν Διοσκούρων ἱερόν (Dionys. VI.13), τὸ Διοσκόρειον (Cass. Dio XXXVIII.6; LV.27.4; LIX.28.5; Plut. Sulla 33), νεὼς τῶν Διοσκούρων (Cass. Dio LX.6.8; App. B. C. I.25; Plut. Sulla 8; Pomp. 2; Cato Min. 27).

This temple was restored in 117 B.C. by L. Caecilius Metellus (Cic. pro Scauro 46, and Ascon. ad loc.; in Verr. I.154; Plut. Pomp. 2). Some repairs were made by Verres (Cic. in Verr. I.129‑154), and the temple was completely rebuilt by Tiberius in 6 A.D., and dedicated in his own name and that of his brother Drusus (Suet. Tib. 20; Cass. Dio LV.27.4; Ov. Fast. I.707‑708). Caligula incorporated the temple in his palace, making it the vestibule (Suet. Cal. 22; Cass. Dio LIX.28.5; cf. Divus Augustus, Templum, Domus Tiberiana), but this condition was changed by Claudius. Another restoration is attributed to Domitian (Chron. 146), and in this source the temple is called templum Castoris et Minervae, a name also found in the Notitia (Reg. VIII), and variously explained (see Minerva, Templum). It had also been supposed that there was restoration by Trajan or Hadrian (HC 161), and that the existing remains of columns and entablature date from that period, but there is no evidence for this assumption, and the view has now been abandoned (Toeb. 51). The existing remains are mostly of the Augustan period (AJA 1912, 393), and any later restorations must have been so superficial as to leave no traces.

This temple served frequently as a meeting-place for the senate (Cic. in Verr. I.129; Hist. Aug. Maxim. 16; Valer. 5; CIL I2586.1), and played a conspicuous rôle in the political struggles that centred in the forum (Cic. de har. resp. 27; de domo 54, 110; pro Sest. 34; in Pis. 11, 23; pro Mil. 18; ad Q. fr. II.3.6; App. B. C. I.25), its steps forming a sort of second Rostra (Plut. Sulla 33; Cic. Phil. III.27). In it were kept the standards of weights and measures (CIL V.8119.4; XI.6726.2; XIII.10030.13 ff.; Ann. d. Inst. 1881, 182; Mitt. 1889, 244‑245), and the chambers in the podium (see below) seem to have served as safe deposit vaults for the imperial fiscus (CIL VI.8688, 8689),3 and for the treasures of private individuals ( Cic. pro Quinct. 17; Iuv. XIV.260‑262 and Schol.). No mention is made of the contents of this temple, artistic p104or historical, except of one bronze tablet which was a memorial of the granting of citizenship to the Equites Campani in 340 B.C. (Liv. VIII.11.16).

The traces of the earlier structures (including some opus quadratum belonging to the original temple; see Ill. 12) indicate successive enlargements with some changes in the plan of cella and pronaos (for the discussion of these changes and the history of the temple, see Van Buren, CR 1906, 77‑82, 184, who also thinks that traces can be found of a restoration in the third century B.C.; cf. however, AJA 1912, 244‑246). The Augustan temple was Corinthian, octastyle and peripteral, with eleven columns on each side, and a double row on each side of the pronaos. This pronaos was 9.90 metres by 15.80, the cella 16 by 19.70, and the whole building about 50 metres long by 30 wide. The floor was about 7 metres above the Sacra via. The very lofty podium consisted of a concrete core enclosed in tufa walls, from which projected short spur walls. On these stood the columns, but directly beneath them at the points of heaviest pressure travertine was substituted for tufa. Between these spur walls were chambers in the podium, opening outward and closed by metal doors. From the pronaos a flight of eleven steps, extending nearly across the whole width of the temple, led down to a wide platform, 3.66 metres above the area in front. This was provided with a railing and formed a high and safe place from which to address the people. From the frequent references in literature (see above) it is evident that there was a similar arrangement in the earlier temple of Metellus. Leading from this platform to the ground were two narrow staircases, at the ends and not in front. The podium was covered with marble and decorated with two cornices, one at the top and another just above the metal doors of the strong chambers. Of the superstructure three columns on the east side are standing, which are regarded as perhaps the finest architectural remains in Rome. They are of white marble, fluted, 12.50 metres in height and 1.45 in diameter. The entablature, 3.75 metres high, has a plain frieze and an admirable worked cornice (for the complete description of the remains of the imperial temple previous to 1899, see Richter, Jahrb. d. Inst. 1898, 87‑114; also Reber, 136‑142; D'Esp. Fr. I.87‑91; II.87; for the results of the excavations since 1899, CR 1899, 466; 1902, 95, 284; BC 1899, 253; 1900, 66, 285; 1902, 28; 1903, 165; Mitt. 1902, 66‑67; 1905, 80; for general discussion of the temple, Jord. I.2.369‑376; LR 271‑274; HC 161‑164; Théd. 116‑120, 210‑212;a DE I.175‑176; WR 268‑271; DR 160‑170; RE Suppl. IV.469‑471; Mem. Am. Acad. V.79‑1024; ASA 70; HFP 37, 38).

This temple was standing in the fourth century, but nothing is known of its subsequent history, except that in the fifteenth century only three columns were visible, for the street running by them was called via Trium Columnarum (Jord. II.412, 501; LS I.72, and for other reff. II.69, p105199, 202; DuP 97). In the early nineteenth century it was often wrongly called the Graecostasis or the temple of Jupiter Stator.


The Authors' Notes:

1 = Lindsay 290, 362: 257 (Paul. exc.) has 'pro significat in, ut pro rostris, pro aede, pro tribunali'. Of the original text of Festus (256) nothing remains but the letters stor, which may represent Ca>stor<is, and refer to the orator's platform in front of the temple (Rivista di Filologia, 1925, 105: Mem. Am. Acad. V.79, n3).

2 The inversion of the two names which was supposed by Tomassetti, who (BC 1890, 209‑219; cf. LR 274) wished to attribute to the temple a fragmentary inscription T.C. (i.e. [Polluci e]t C[astori], for which cf. Jord. I.2.372; Mitt. 1891, 90; CIL VI.30903), is rendered impossible by the fact that the inscription cannot be fitted on to the building.

3 8688 'actori Caesaris ad Castor. et ad loricata(m)' seems to allude to two separate buildings; and the latter is mentioned alone ('a loricata') in ib. 8690‑2 (= XV.7143‑7145). Mommsen (CIL in loc.) believes this 'loricata' to be a building defended by a lorica (i.e. a kind of government safe deposit); contrast Jord. I.2.374, who follows Hirschfeld (Verwaltungsgeschichte, I.3 f.) in referring it to the Statua Divi Iulii (q.v.).

4 The conclusions of this article are based on inaccurate drawings.


Thayer's Note:

a Platner cites the 1908 edition of Thédenat, which I haven't found online. Online at Gallica, however, is the 1898 edition; in it, the passages on the Temple of Castor are on pp131‑135 and 249‑253.


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