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p305 Aedes Jovis Tonantis

Article on pp305‑306 of

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


Iuppiter Tonans, aedes (templa, Martial; ναός, Cass. Dio cit.): a temple on the Capitol, vowed by Augustus in 26 B.C. because of his narrow escape from being struck by lightning during his Cantabrian campaign, and dedicated 1st September, 22 B.C. (Mon. Anc. IV.5; Suet. Aug. 29; Mart. VII.60.2; Cass. Dio LIV.4; Fast. Amit. Ant. Arv. ad Kal. Sept., CIL I2 p244, 248; VI.2295).1 The name Iuppiter Tonans (cf. Ov. Fast. II.69: Capitolinumque Tonantem; Mart. V.16.5: falcifer Tonans) was a translation of Ζεὺς βροντῶν (Cass. Dio loc. cit.), which form appears in a Latin transliteration in two inscriptions (CIL VI.432, 2241). It was famous for its magnificence (Suet. Aug. 29: inter opera praecipua), with walls of solid marble (Plin. NH XXXVI.50), and contained some notable works of art (Plin. NH XXXIV.78, 79).º Augustus visited this temple frequently, and on one occasion is said to have dreamed that Jupiter complained that the popularity of this new temple had sensibly diminished the number of worshippers in the great temple of the god. Whereupon Augustus replied that Jupiter Tonans was only the doorkeeper of Jupiter Capitolinus, and proceeded to hang bells on the gables of the former to indicate this relationship (Suet. Aug. 91; cf. Mart. VII.60.1: Tarpeiae venerande rector aulae). This shows that the temple must have stood quite close to the entrance of the area Capitolina, and therefore on the south-east edge of the hill overlooking the forum (cf. Claud. de sext. cons. Hon. 44‑46, which probably refers to this temple; RhM 1872, 269‑274).2 It is represented on a coin of Augustus (Cohen 178, cf. 179‑180, 184‑186; BM Rep. II.28.4412‑5; Aug. 362, cf. 363‑365 and p57, n.(a)), as hexastyle, with a statue of the god standing erect with right hand supported by a sceptre, possibly a reproduction of the famous statue of Leochares (Plin. NH XXXIV.79). The many other references in Latin poetry to Jupiter Tonans do not belong to this temple, but to that of Jupiter Capitolinus (Jord. I.2.47‑48; Rosch. II.747‑748; Gilb. III.399‑400).


The Authors' Notes:

1 Cf. also CIL VI.32323, l. 31.

2 Perhaps the foundation found in 1896 belongs to it (see Iuppiter Conservator); (Festschr. f. Kiepert, 216‑219; RE III.1537; BC 1896, 116‑120; 187‑190; NS 1896, 161, 185, 369, 466).


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