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p430 Portunium

Articles on pp430‑431 of

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

Portunium: * the most certain occurrence of this word is in Fronto (Ep. I.7 (Naber): idem evenit floribus et coronis; alia dignitate sunt <in Portunio> (from marg.) quom a coronariis veneunt, alia quom a sacerdotibus <in templo> (from marg.) porriguntur; cf. Jord. II.199), where, if the marginal readings be correct, Portunium must mean the immediate vicinity of the temple of Portunus, a place frequented by flower-sellers, rather than the temple itself, as in the case of Dianium, Minervium. It is probable that Portunium may also be the correct reading in Varro V.146: secundum Tiberim ad Portunium (MSS. ad iunium) forum piscarium vocant (Jord. II.257); and that the Fortunium of Not.º (Reg. XI) should be changed into Portunium.

The temple of Portunus is mentioned in Varro (LL 22.vi.19: Portunalia dicta a Portuno, cui eo die aedes in portu Tiberino facta et feriae institutae), and in the calendar, under date of August 17th, the Portunalia, its day of dedication (Fast. Allif. Vell. Amit. ad XVI Kal. Sept., CIL I2. p217, 240, 244, 325: Portuno ad pontem Aemilium). Portus Tiberinus must mean here a quay along the river, not a warehouse (cf. Portus Licini, etc.), near the pons Aemilius, and the temple was close by. (For the discussion of this question, see Mommsen, CIL I2 p325; Fowler, Roman Festivals 202‑203; Besnier 307‑312: Jord. I.1.432; Rosch. p431III.2786‑2787.) A relief on the arch of Trajan at Beneventum seems to represent Portunus and other gods at the portus Tiberinus (OJ 1899, 182‑183; S. Sculp. 217; SScR 194).

This temple, among others, has been identified with the ancient circular temple (Ill. 43), which was occupied by the church of S. Stephanus Rotundus (1140), S. Stefano delle Carrozze (sixteenth century), and was later called S. Maria del Sole, in the Piazza Bocca della Verità (DAP 2.vi.263; HJ 143; Mitt. 1925, 321‑350). It is built of white marble, the blocks of the cella being solid, with a peristyle of twenty Corinthian columns. The cella is 10 metres in diameter and stands on a podium of tufa, 2 metres high, in the centre of which is a favissaa (LR 518‑520) which belongs to the period of the republic,1 although the marble covering and the whole superstructure date from the early empire.2 The entablature is missing, and the roof is modern. On the whole this identification is more probable than any other that has been suggested,3 but far from certain (Jord. I.2.485; Altm. 22‑30, 33‑36; ZA 248‑251 (whose attribution to the period of Severus is doubtful). See D'Esp. Fr. I.40‑43; DuP 72; TF 136).3


The Authors' Notes:

1 One column is missing. For a plan and section of the foundations, see De Angelis, Relazione 1899‑1902, 106, 107; and for the view that the podium is of an earlier date than the rest, see also Mitt. 1892, 108; 1893, 293. For the entasis, see Mem. Am. Acad. IV.122, 142.

2 So Jahrb. d. Inst. 1921, 68; Ath. Mitt. 1914, 25.

3 identification: º Delbrück (Hellenistische Bauten, II.43) identifies it with the temple of Hercules erected about 130 B.C. by Aemilius Paullus (p257). Cf. also Sol et Luna, aedes.


Thayer's Note:

a The non-specialist reader, left wondering what a favissa might be, can read about it in Lanciani; our ancient source for the term, not mentioned by Lanciani, is Gellius, II.10.


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