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Bill Thayer

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 p343  Article on pp343‑344 of

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

Minerva Capta

Minerva Capta (Minervium): a shrine on the Caelian (Ov. Fast. III.835‑838: Caelius ex alto qua mons descendit in aequum / hic ubi non plana est prope plana via / parva liceat videas Captae delubra Minervae /  p344 quae dea natali coepit habere suo). The site described by Ovid corresponds to that indicated in the procession of the Argei (Varro V.47: circa Minervium qua in Caelio monte itur in tabernola), where Minervium undoubtedly is this shrine, which is therefore to be located on the northern part of the Caelius, the Caeliolus, probably very near the present church of the SS. Quattro Coronati (Gilb. II.33‑34). This also corresponds with a possible indication of the Haterii relief, where a statue of Minerva is seen through the arcus ad Isis (Mon. d. Inst. V.7; Ann. d. Inst. 1849, 377.) If this is accepted as evidence, it shows that the shrine was standing in the second century. An inscription (CIL VI.524) found on the Caelian may also refer to it, and a statue of Minerva in alabaster found near SS. Quattro Coronati, now in the Museo delle Terme, is attributed to it (NS 1926, 61).

Ovid gives four explanations (Fast. III.839‑848) of the epithet Capta, of which only one has any probability (843‑844: an quia perdomitis ad nos captiva Faliscis / venit? et hoc ipsum littera prisca docet). If this be true, the shrine was erected after the destruction of Falerii in 214 B.C. The terms parva delubra and Minervium should indicate that this shrine was not an aedes sacra but only a sacellum. If so, Ovid's statement (see above) that the day of dedication was 19th March is an error, due to the confusion of this sacellum — which would have no natale marked on the calendar — with the temple of Minerva on the Aventine (HJ 226‑227; Rosch. II.2984‑2985; WR 253; Gilb. II.233‑235, and other literature cited in these places).

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Page updated: 26 Feb 14