Templum Veneris et Romae (Temple of Venus and Roma), Rome

Templum Veneris et Romae (Temple of Venus and Roma), Rome

The Temple of Venus and Roma, believed to be the largest temple in Ancient Rome, stood on the Velian Hill, between the eastern edge of the Forum Romanum and the Colosseum. Constructed by Emperor Hadrian, the temple was dedicated to two goddesses: Venus Felix, the bringer of good fortune, and Roma Aeterna, the personification of eternal Rome.

The construction of the temple began in 121 AD and was completed in 141 AD under Emperor Antoninus Pius, with its official inauguration taking place in 135 AD by Emperor Hadrian. However, the temple suffered damage from a fire in 307 AD and was later restored with modifications by Emperor Maxentius.

The temple was situated on a raised platform measuring 145 meters by 100 meters. The main structure of the temple, known as the peripteral temple, had dimensions of 110 meters by 53 meters and reached a height of 31 meters, including the statues atop. It consisted of two main chambers called cellae, each housing a cult statue of a deity. Venus, the goddess of love, and Roma, the goddess of Rome, were both depicted seated on thrones. The cellae were arranged symmetrically, with Roma's cella facing west toward the Forum Romanum, and Venus' cella facing east overlooking the Colosseum.

The entrance to each cella was adorned with a row of four columns, creating a tetrastyle design. The temple was surrounded by colonnaded entrances that terminated in staircases leading down to the Colosseum. This arrangement provided a grand and impressive approach to the temple.

One fascinating aspect of the temple, devised by Emperor Hadrian, was the symbolic connection between the two goddesses. Venus, in addition to her role as the goddess of love, also represented "Amor" in Latin. By placing the divinities of Venus and Rome back-to-back in a single temple, a subtle symmetry was created, as "AMOR" is "ROMA" spelled backward.

Within Venus' cella, there was an additional altar where newlywed couples could make sacrifices, emphasizing the association between love and the eternal city. Adjacent to this altar stood imposing silver statues of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger, further adding to the grandeur of the temple.

The Temple of Venus and Roma, with its colossal size and architectural ingenuity, stood as a remarkable testament to the imperial grandeur and religious devotion of ancient Rome. While the temple no longer stands in its complete form, the remnants and historical accounts provide valuable insights into the magnificent structures of the Roman Empire.

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Templum Veneris et Romae (Temple of Venus and Roma) on Map

Sight Name: Templum Veneris et Romae (Temple of Venus and Roma)
Sight Location: Rome, Italy (See walking tours in Rome)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

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