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The Maison Carrée in Nîmes, one of the best preserved Roman temples
The Temple of Hercules Victor, in the Forum Boarium in Rome (a Greek-style Roman temple)

Ancient Roman temples are among the most visible archaeological remains of Roman culture, and are a significant source for Roman architecture. Their construction and maintenance was a major part of ancient Roman religion. The main room (cella) housed the cult image of the deity to whom the temple was dedicated, and often a small altar for incense or libations. Behind the cella was a room or rooms used by temple attendants for storage of equipment and offerings.

The English word "temple" derives from Latin templum, which was originally not the building itself, but a sacred space surveyed and plotted ritually. The Roman architect Vitruvius always uses the word templum to refer to the sacred precinct, and not to the building. The more common Latin words for a temple or shrine were aedes, delubrum, and fanum (in this article, the English word "temple" refers to any of these buildings, and the Latin templum to the sacred precinct).

Public religious ceremonies took place outdoors, and not within the temple building. Some ceremonies were processions that started at, visited, or ended with a temple or shrine, where a ritual object might be stored and brought out for use, or where an offering would be deposited. Sacrifices, chiefly of animals, would take place at an open-air altar within the templum.

Origins and development[edit]

The Roman temple architecture style was derived from the Etruscan model. The Etruscans were an indigenous Italian race which was at its peak in the seventh century BC. In turn, the Etruscans had adopted other styles into their temples, of which Greek architecture was the main influence. Therefore Roman temples were distinct but also based on both Etruscan and Greek plans.[1]

Roman temples emphasised the front of the building, which consisted of a portico with columns, a pronaos. This departs from the Greek model of having equal emphasis all around the temple, where it could be viewed and approached from all directions.


A caesareum was a temple devoted to Imperial cult. Caesarea were located throughout the Roman Empire. In the city of Rome, a caesareum was located within the religious precinct of the Arval Brothers. In 1570, it was documented as still containing nine statues of Roman emperors in architectural niches. These are all lost, but the base for the statue of Marcus Aurelius survives, and altogether the inscriptions of seven of the nine are recorded in volume 6 of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum.[2]

One of the most prominent of the caesarea was the Caesareum of Alexandria, located on the harbor. During the 4th century, after the Empire had come under Christian rule, it was converted to a church.[3]

List of Roman temples[edit]

In Rome[edit]

Italy, outside Rome[edit]










Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek




See also[edit]

Sources and external links[edit]

  1. ^ Campbell, Jonathan. Roman Art and Architecture - from Augustus to Constantine. Pearson Education New Zealand. ISBN 978-0-582-73984-0. 
  2. ^ Jane Fejfer, Roman Portraits in Context (Walter de Gruyter, 2008), p. 86.
  3. ^ David M. Gwynn, "Archaeology and the 'Arian Controversy' in the Fourth Century," in Religious Diversity in Late Antiquity (Brill, 2010), p. 249.
  4. ^ a b c [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ [5]
  9. ^ [6](Colchester Museums).
  10. ^ [7](Roman-Britain).
  11. ^ Edward Robinson (1856). Biblical researches in Palestine and the adjacent regions: a journal of travels in the years 1838 and 1852. J. Murray. pp. 433–. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  12. ^ George Taylor (1971). The Roman temples of Lebanon: a pictorial guide. Les temples romains au Liban; guide illustré. Dar el-Machreq Publishers. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  13. ^ Daniel M. Krencker; Willy Zschietzschmann (1938). Römische Tempel in Syrien: nach Aufnahmen und Untersuchungen von Mitgliedern der Deutschen Baalbekexpedition 1901-1904, Otto Puchstein, Bruno Schulz, Daniel Krencker [u.a.] ... W. de Gruyter & Co. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_temple — Please support Wikipedia.
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25185 news items

Jerusalem Post Israel News

Jerusalem Post Israel News
Sun, 30 Aug 2015 22:00:21 -0700

The hardline Islamic State group has destroyed part of an ancient temple in Syria's Palmyra city, a group monitoring the conflict said on Sunday. The militants targeted the Temple of Bel, a Roman-era structure in the central desert city, the Syrian ...

Jerusalem Post Israel News

Jerusalem Post Israel News
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 04:58:33 -0700

The pictures show Islamic State members placing explosives in the ancient temple, then destroying it. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter. BEIRUT - Islamic State militants published photos on Tuesday purporting to show the destruction of a Roman-era ...

Fx Report Daily

Fx Report Daily
Fri, 04 Sep 2015 04:48:45 -0700

GETTY•GETTYThe temple of Bel was destroyed by ISIS militants The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and an activist claimed the jihadis detonated explosives around the Temple of Bel, quite possibly destroying it. “The temple structure is on a ...

Times of Malta

The New Indian Express
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 01:48:45 -0700

DAMASCUS: Satellite images have confirmed that the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has completely destroyed an ancient Roman temple in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the UN announced. A powerful blast in the ruins of the ancient city on Sunday was ...

Worcester News

Worcester News
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 07:59:36 -0700

CHRISTIAN and Muslim leaders in Worcester say they stand together against Isis after fanatics destroyed a Roman temple, beheaded an antiquities scholar and demolished a monastery in Syria. The Right Reverend Dr John Inge has spoken of the good ...

Junior College

Junior College
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:45:00 -0700

Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, said the “true intent of such attacks” was to “deprive the Syrian people of its knowledge, its identity and history”. The destruction of Palmyra's ancient temple of Baalshamin is a war crime, the UN's cultural ...

South China Morning Post (subscription)

South China Morning Post (subscription)
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 11:05:17 -0700

The majesty of the Baalshamin temple and the main building of the Roman temple of Bel have gone forever, blasted to dust and rubble by explosives. Khaled al-Asad, 81, the city's director of antiquities, was beheaded and his body hung from a column.


Thu, 03 Sep 2015 08:11:15 -0700

The most widespread opinion is that the church was once a Christianized Roman temple, which means that it was a Paleo-Christian church from the 4th to 6th centuries, and also the first church on Dacian territory. One thing is for sure: the building was ...

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