The temple of Rome and Augustus in the Acropolis of Athens

temple of romeEast of the Parhenon lay the foundations of a small building attributed by the first excavators of the Acropolis to the Temple of Rome and the Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus. The association of the foundations with the temple stems from the discovery in the area of many marble architectural members, as well as of the architrave bearing the incised dedicatory inscription.

The architectural members indicate that the Temple of Rome and Augustus was of the lonic order, circular and monopteral – namely that it featured a single circular colonnade made of nine columns (pteron), without a walled room inside (cella).

temple of rome augustus (2) Its diameter measured ca. 8.60 m and its height reached 7.30 m up to the conical roof. The contruction of the temple is associated with the architect who repaired the Erechtheion in the Roman Period, because the architectural details of its members replicate those of the Erechtheion. It is possible that the temple interior housed statues of Roman and Augustus, although no fragments of sculptures have been identified to date.

temple of rome augustus (1)

The temple of Rome and Augustus is the sole Roman temple on the Acropolis and the only Athenian temple dedicated to the cult of the Emperor. The Athenian deme (people) constructed it in order to propitiate octavian August and reverse the negative climate that characterized the relations of the two parties, as, during the Roman civil wars, the city of Athens had supported his opponent, Marcus Antonius.

The temple is securely dated after 27 B.C., when Octavian was proclaimed Augustus – most probably between 19 and 17 B.C.

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