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Monday, March 29, 2021

The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus

The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, also known as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus was the most important temple in Ancient Rome, located on the Capitoline Hill. It was surrounded by the Area Capitolina, a precinct where numerous shrines, altars, statues and victory trophies were displayed.

The first building was the oldest large temple in Rome, and, like many temples in central Italy, shared features with Etruscan architecture. It was traditionally dedicated in 509 BCE but in 83 BCE was destroyed by fire.  A replacement in Greek style was completed in 69 BCE (there were to be two more fires and new buildings). For the first temple sources report Etruscan specialists being brought in for various aspects of the building, including making and painting the extensive terracotta elements of the Temple of Zeus or upper parts, such as antefixes. But for the second building they were summoned from Greece, and the building was presumably essentially Greek in style, though like other Roman temples it retained many elements of Etruscan form. The two further buildings were evidently of contemporary Roman style, although of exceptional size.  The third temple only lasted five years, to 80 CE, but the fourth survived until the fall of the empire. Remains of the last temple survived to be pillaged for spolia in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, but now only elements of the foundations and podium or base survive.

I found this image of a reconstructed temple while searching Google Earth.  It appears to be a modern life-sized reconstruction but I've never seen it on either of my trips to Rome so I don't know if this is a model of one version of the temple simply added to Google Earth for historical reference or whether it is actually a reconstruction in situ. (Note: I've added the clouds to make the image more interesting).  I would welcome any further information anyone has about this structure.

Reconstruction of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in Rome courtesy of Google Earth



 

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