Roman temple

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[edit] Pagan history and architecture

  • Originally in Roman paganism, a templum was not (necessarily) a cultic building but any ritually marked observation site for natural phenomena believed to allow predictions, such as the flight of birds (see Augurs). Later the word was mainly used for the equivalent of Greek and other temples.
  • The numbers and architecture of Roman temples reflect the city's receptivity to all the religions of the world. The oldest Roman temples reflect Etruscan temples, like the great temple on the Capitoline Hill, dedicated in 509 BC to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, the Capitoline Triad.
  • Like its Etruscan models the Roman temple was raised on a high podium and could only be approached by steps across the front of the building in contrast to the common arrangement for Greek temples, whose steps run around all four sides. The facade also differed from Greek models -- the columned porch was deeper than those of most Greek temples: 6 columns deep -- and was only on the front of the building. The interior was divided into several large rooms for the cult statues.
  • The most noteworthy temples of Rome were the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, the father of the Roman divinities, and the Pantheon. The Pantheon was built between AD 117 to 128 by Emperor Hadrian and dedicated to all the gods; this building replaced a smaller temple built by the general and statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. The Pantheon became a Christian church in 607 and is now an Italian national monument, the burial place of Raphael and several of the kings of united Italy.

[edit] Fanum

The Romans used the Latin word fanum for other cultic sites, such as the 'temples' of all other divinities than those traditionally revered by their native paganism, the state cult.

  • Like the corresponding Latin adjective, fanaticus, the modern word fanatic still reflects the disapproval by devote traditional Romans of various exotic religious practices.

Nevertheless under the empire some of the imported cults, mainly from conquered people, such as the Persian Mithras and Egyptian divinities such as the mother-goddess Isis and Serapis (for his fanum the specific term serapeum was used) would gain great popularity, demonstrated in rich temple cults. The temple of Isis and Serapis in the Campus Martius, built of Egyptian materials and in the Egyptian style to house the Hellenized cult of the Egyptian deity Isis, is typical of the heterogeneity of later Roman religious monuments.

  • The word became part of several Roman place names, notably Fanum Voltumnae (possibly Viterbo or Montefiascone) and Fanum Fortunae (modern Fano)
  • They would only be virtually wiped out together with the Roman paganism after Christianity was officially adopted by the Roman Empire. The word temple would be transferred to its churches, as well as synagogues; occasionally fanum was also used as such, e.g. Fanum S. Andreae for Santander.

[edit] List of Roman Temples

[edit] See also

[edit] Sources and external links

Roman religion series
Offices
Augur | Flamen | Haruspex | Pontifex Maximus | Rex Nemorensis | Sacred king | Vestal Virgin
Beliefs and practices
Apotheosis | Festivals | Funerals | Imperial cult | Mythology | Persecution | Sibylline Books | Temple
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mk:Римски храм pt:Templo romano

Roman temple

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