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Bill Thayer

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Aedes Telluris

p511 Article on p511 of

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

Tellus, aedes (templum, Serv., Not.; νεώς, Dionys.; τέμενος, Cass. Dio; ἱερόν, Plut. App.): a temple vowed by P. Sempronius Sophus during an earthquake which occurred during a battle with the Picentes in 268 B.C. (Flor. I.14). Rosch. V.338 remarks that the vow is a natural one enough in the circumstances. It was doubtless built at once, although its erection is ascribed to the city or senate in two sources (Val. Max. VI.3.1; Dionys. VIII.79). It was on the Esquiline, in Carinis (Suet. de gramm. 15; Dionys. loc. cit.; Serv. Aen. VIII.361), on the site formerly occupied by the house of Sp. Cassius (q.v.), which was said to have been pulled down in 495 B.C. (Cic. de domo 101; Liv. II.41.11; Val. Max. loc. cit.; cf. Plin. NH XXXIV.15, 30), near the house of Antonius (App. B.C. II.126) and that of Q. Cicero (q.v.). The latter restored the temple about 54 B.C. (Cic. ad Q. fr. III.1.4; de har. resp. 31), and apparently gained possession of some of the land hitherto belonging to the temple. The day of dedication was 13th December (Fast. Ant. ad Id. Dec., CIL I2 p249, 336), when Ceres was associated with Tellus as on other occasions (WR 192‑195). The fact that the worship of Tellus was very ancient makes it probable that there was a much earlier cult centre on the site afterwards occupied by the temple.

The temple was sometimes used for meetings of the senate (Cic. Phil. I.31; ad Att. XVI.14.1; App. B. C. II.126; Plut. Brut. 19; Cass. Dio XLIV.22.3), and on its walls was a map of Italy (Varro, RR I.2.1; Urlichs, Malerei in Rom, p8). It was standing in the fourth century (Not. Reg. IV), but nothing is known of its later history. Its site was very probably between the present Vie del Colosseo and dei Serpenti (Gilb. I.193‑195; HJ 323‑36), but Ligorio's account of the discovery of remains belonging to it is open to suspicion (BC 1892, 32‑37; LS III.5‑6; Mitt. 1893, 301‑302; HJ loc. cit.). Cf. HCh 444, 445, 522, 523 for the (apocryphal) church of S. Salvator in Tellumine (in Tellude), and for a frieze representing a gigantomachy, which perhaps came from this temple, see Mitt. 1905, 121‑130; HF 138, 1013, 1014, 1211; Bocconi, Mus. Cap. 282.1, 4.

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Page updated: 19 Oct 08