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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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8888 news items

Today's Zaman

Today's Zaman
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 07:43:11 -0800

The temple stands next to the Hacı Bayram Mosque in the Ulus district of the capital. The Augustus Temple was built after Roman Emperor Augustus annexed the lands of the Galatians and Ancyra (Ankara) to the Roman Empire in the year 25 B.C. The temple, ...

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 ...

Today's Zaman

Today's Zaman
Tue, 29 Dec 2015 09:15:00 -0800

Culture Ministry takes first steps toward restoration of ancient Roman temple. Culture Ministry takes first steps toward restoration of ancient Roman temple. Temple of Augustus is seen in Ankara in this file photo. (Photo: Today's Zaman, Ankara ...

Jerusalem Post Israel News

Jerusalem Post Israel News
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 04:48:45 -0700

The pictures show Islamic State members placing explosives in the ancient temple, then destroying it. Play. Current Time 0:00. /. Duration Time 0:00. Remaining Time -0:00. Stream TypeLIVE. Loaded: 0%. Progress: 0%. 00:00. Fullscreen. Playback Rate. 1.

Tablet Magazine

Tablet Magazine
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 20:52:30 -0800

Grand Central Terminal in New York was constructed precisely to be a Roman temple. Its domed ceiling is the Pantheon's, sort of. But by the 1950s and '60s the efforts were vast to demolish the corny old building and replace it with something sleeker ...

Investor's Business Daily

Investor's Business Daily
Wed, 27 Jan 2016 06:35:15 -0800

For example, he wrote of an Alabama man who loved ancient history so much that he built — and lived in — a replica Roman temple. Pyle continued writing about his travel exploits until 1942. By then he was also reporting on the war, including the Nazi ...

Hurriyet Daily News

Hurriyet Daily News
Wed, 14 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0700

Works have been continuing to unearth a unique temple discovered during the French era in the eastern province of Hatay in 1932 which may date back to the Roman period. Mustafa Kemal University academic Hatice Pamir, who is the head of the ...

Yorkshire Post

Yorkshire Post
Wed, 27 Jan 2016 23:18:45 -0800

Self-builders who viewed it were frightened by the design issues and the possibility of hidden horrors like woodworm, rot and worse that are often waiting to thwart those who tackle ecclesiastical property. “I just had to have it. It looks like a Roman ...

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