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Bill Thayer

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Ara et Aedes Neptuni

p360 Articles on pp360‑361 of

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

Neptunus, ara: an altar of Neptune in circo Flaminio, the sweating of which is mentioned by Livy (XXVIII.1.4) among the prodigia of 206 B.C. The same prodigium, however, is related by Cassius Dio (fr. lvii.60) in words that imply a real temple (ἱδρῶτι πολλῷ αἵ τε θύραι τοῦ Ποσειδωνίου καὶ ὁ βωμὸς ἐρρύη), and it is probable that such a temple did exist at that time (see below).

Neptunus, aedes, delubrum: a temple of Neptune in circo Flaminio mentioned on an inscription of the Flavian period (CIL VI.8423: Abascanti Aug. lib. aedituo aedis Neptuni quae est in circo Flaminio), and without doubt by Pliny (NH XXXVI.26), who states that a famous group by Scopas of Neptune, Thetis, Achilles, the Nereids and Tritons, Phorcus and his crew, sea-monsters, etc., was in delubro Cn. Domitii in circo Flaminio. A coin of Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus (RE V.1331, No. 25), struck between 42 and 38 B.C. (Babelon, Monnaies I.466, Domitia 20, BM Rep. II.487.93), represents a tetrastyle temple with the legend Nept. Cn. Domitius M. f. Imp. This indicates that the temple was vowed at least between 42 and 38, but it may not have been built before 32, when Domitius had been reconciled to Augustus and held the consulship. The group of Scopas he probably brought from Bithynia, his province. The day of dedication of this temple was 1st December (Fast. Amit. ad Kal. Dec., CIL I2 p245, 335). To this temple also have been held to belong the parts of a frieze that were preserved (though this is no proof of their provenance) in the Palazzo Santacroce and are now in Paris and Munich p361(cf. however Martis, ara). In style and execution this frieze belongs to the second half of the first century B.C., and it evidently surrounded either an altar or, more probably, a pedestal, in the temple. This pedestal may well have been that on which Domitius placed the Scopas group. Part of the frieze represents a lustratio of the army of the period before Marius, and probably was a memorial of the victory of the great-grandfather of the builder of the temple, who was victorious over the Celts on the Isère in 121 and censor in 115 (for the discussion of these reliefs, and their bearing on the date of the temple, see Furtwängler, Intermezzi, Berlin 1896, 35‑48; Brunn, Bayr. Sitz. Ber. 1876, 342‑344; S. Sculpt. 33‑38; ScR I.10‑14;º Mon. Piot, 1910, xvii.147‑157; AR 1909, 77‑82; OJ 1910, 95‑101; AD iii.12). Remains of substructures and of six columns of a pycnostyle temple, belonging without much doubt to this temple of Neptune, have been found north-west of the Piazza S. Salvatore (BC 1873, 212‑221, pl. VI; Bursian's Jahresb. 1873, 787‑789).

It is impossible to determine whether Domitius built an entirely new temple, or restored that which previously existed in circo Flaminio (see Ara Neptuni above; HJ 522‑523; WR 227; Rosch. III.203‑204; Gilb. III.89, 90).

Neptunus, templum: see Basilica Neptuni; Divus Hadrianus, Templum; Porticus Argonautarum.

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Page updated: 26 Apr 01