List of Temples in the Roman Forum (Rome)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The list of temples in the Roman Forum attempts to enlist the ancient Roman period temples situated in the Roman Forum. This list may include smaller shrines, sacred precints, sacred pools or springs or other cultic buildings as well.


Amidst the sprawling ruins and majestic columns of the ancient Roman Forum lie the remnants of magnificient temples and cultic buildings that once served as the sacred precincts, embodying the religious fervor and architectural prowess of the Roman Republic and Empire. These temples, with their imposing facades and intricate decorations, served as focal points for religious ceremonies, political gatherings, and civic rituals, creating a harmonious blend of spiritual and secular pursuits.

Among the temple structures surviving today in whole or in part are the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of the Deified Caesar, the Temple of Saturn, the Temple of Vesta, and the Temple of Romulus.

List of the Roman Temples

circa 600 BCE

Lacus Iuturnae
The Lacus Iuturnae, also called the Lacus Juturnae or the Spring of Juturna in English, is a reservoir constructed around a natural water spring by the Romans in the Roman Forum near a spring or well dedicated to the water nymph Juturna. It formed part of a shrine devoted to the water nymph Juturna, and the term Lacus Iuturnae encompasses both the spring and the shrine, both of which are situated in proximity to the pool. The shrine and fountain, named after Juturna, gathering waters from a spring, have roots in the archaic period (around 600 BCE).

According to legend, the divine twins Castor and Pollux, horsemen, paused to water their horses while passing through the city, revealing Roman victory at the Battle of Lake Regillus in 495 BCE. The Lacus Iuturnae spring was utilized by the Vestal Virgins during the Roman Empire for their religious rituals when another city spring had dried up. Believed to possess healing properties, individuals, especially the elderly and sick, visited the spring with offerings, hoping that the goddess Juturna would alleviate their ailments.

circa 497 BCE

Temple of Saturn
The Temple of Saturn, a majestic structure situated in the heart of the Roman Forum, stands as a testament to the grandeur of ancient Roman architecture and the cultural significance attributed to the god Saturn. Thought to have been originally constructed in the fifth century BCE, the temple underwent multiple renovations and expansions over the centuries, reflecting Rome's evolving political and religious landscape. The surviving architectural elements of this temple include a row of eight majestic columns and the front portico, which provide glimpses into the impressive scale and design that once defined this sacred space.

Dedicated to Saturn, the god of wealth and agriculture, the temple played a vital role in the religious, political and civic life of ancient Rome. It housed the state treasury and some important documents, and its significance extended beyond mere religious ceremonies. The iconic Saturnalia festival, a time of revelry and merrymaking held in honor of Saturn, originated from the traditions associated with this temple. During Saturnalia, social norms were temporarily suspended, and the atmosphere was one of joy, gift-giving, and festivities, reflecting the temple's role in fostering communal bonds.

While most of the strucute of the temple of Saturn no longer stands, the remaining ruins invoke a sense of awe and curiosity, inviting visitors to imagine the splendor of ancient Roman rituals and the architectural marvels that once graced the Roman Forum. Today, the temple's ruins serve as a tangible link to Rome's rich history, offering a glimpse into the spiritual and civic practices that shaped the identity of this formidable ancient civilization.

circa 484 BCE

Temple of Castor and Pollux
The Temple of Castor and Pollux, known as the "Tempio dei Dioscuri" in Italian, has a storied history rooted in the ancient heart of Rome, the Roman Forum. Its origins trace back to 484 BCE when it was initially erected, and later, in 6 CE, Tiberius oversaw its reconstruction. Today, remnants of this architectural marvel include only three columns and a segment of the architrave. This temple served as a multifunctional hub, with its significance extending beyond religious practices.

One of the temple's noteworthy roles was as a prominent meeting place for the Roman Senate. Moreover, it housed the standards for weights and measures, highlighting its practical and administrative functions in addition to its religious significance. The structure featured a lofty podium with descending stairs leading to a rostra and a series of chambers known as loculi situated in the intercolumniations at the base. Originally, the front of the podium was designed to function as a tribunal or platform for public speaking. However, by the early third century, architectural modifications, including the replacement of lateral stairs with a single flight in front, altered the temple's original design.

A pivotal turning point in the temple's history occurred when Clodius, in a transformative act, completely demolished the stairs, effectively converting the structure into a formidable fortress. This strategic alteration not only impacted the temple's architectural integrity but also underscored the dynamic nature of the Roman Forum as a center for both political and religious activities. The Temple of Castor and Pollux, though reduced to fragments, remains a compelling testament to the evolving functions and adaptations of ancient Roman structures over the centuries.

circa 360 BCE

Temple of Concord
The Temple of Concordia, or Aedes Concordiae in Latin, holds a significant place in Roman history, having been initially dedicated in 367 BCE as a symbol of reconciliation between the patricians and plebeians. This act marked a pivotal moment in the ongoing socio-political dynamics of ancient Rome. However, the temple's narrative did not end there; it underwent a transformative reconstruction in 121 BCE following the murder of Gracchus. This rebuilding effort aimed to restore harmony and cohesion to the Roman society in the aftermath of political unrest.

The temple experienced yet another phase of renewal during the reign of Augustus. Tiberius, during his rule around 12 CE, oversaw a restoration that distinguished itself with opulent marble elements and intricate architectural ornamentation. Within the central chamber, or cella, a notable feature emerged—a row of Corinthian columns with capitals adorned by pairs of leaping rams, a unique design replacing the traditional corner volutes. The cella was further divided into bays, each hosting a niche, forming a visually captivating and artistically rich interior.

Remarkably, the Temple of Concordia evolved beyond its religious role to become a repository of cultural treasures. Abundant with fine Greek sculpture, paintings, and various works of art, the temple seemed to function as a veritable museum. Its cultural significance extended beyond art appreciation, as the temple also served as a venue for Senate meetings, particularly during periods of civil unrest. The versatility of the Temple of Concordia, from symbolizing social reconciliation to embodying artistic and political functions, underscores its central role in the intricate tapestry of ancient Roman life.

circ 180 BCE

Circular Shrine of Venus Cloacina
The Shrine of Venus Cloacina holds a unique place in the historical and religious landscape of ancient Rome. Situated in the Roman Forum, this shrine was dedicated to Venus Cloacina, a goddess associated with the purification of the city's main sewer, the Cloaca Maxima. The term "Cloacina" is derived from the Latin word "cloaca," meaning sewer or drain. The earliest mention of the circular shrine dedicated to Venus Cloacina was by the playwright Plautus in the early second century BCE.

The shrine base is placed above a tuff structure set in to the ground, located where the Cloaca Maxima enters the Forum. This shrine was dedicated to Venus Cloacina, containing two statues with the symbols of Venus. According to tradition the young Virginia was murdered here by her brother to prevent her falling in to the hands of the decemvir Appius Claudius. The shrine was also used for the ritual purifications of the Roman and Sabine armies.

The worship of Venus Cloacina was intricately connected to the cleanliness and hygiene of the city. The Cloaca Maxima, a monumental sewer system, played a crucial role in maintaining sanitation in ancient Rome. The shrine served as a focal point for rituals and offerings dedicated to Venus Cloacina, seeking her divine favor in ensuring the proper functioning and cleanliness of the city's sewer system.

The exact appearance and structure of the Shrine of Venus Cloacina are not well-documented, but historical references and archaeological evidence suggest its existence in proximity to the Cloaca Maxima. This sacred site underscored the Romans' recognition of the importance of proper sanitation in maintaining the health and well-being of the city

circa 29 BCE

Temple of Caesar
After Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BCE, his adopted son Octavian (later known as Augustus) played a crucial role in promoting the cult of Caesar and establishing him as a deified figure. Later on Augustus raised a temple (Tempio del Divo Giulio or Templum Divi Iulii), dedicated in 29 BCE, dedicated to the divine spirit of Caesar and became a site for religious ceremonies and cultic worship. It housed a statue of Julius Caesar, and the altar in front of the temple was used for offerings and rituals.

Set on a high podium with six columns at the front, it was decorated with the rostra taken from the ships of Anthony and Cleopatra captured by Augustus, two years earlier, at the Battle of Actium. The altar, in the hemicycle of the podium, replaced the commemorative column. Staircases at the sides led to the interior of the building, of which only the cement core survives today. Today the remains of a low altar (inspect), called the Alter of Caesar (Ara di Cesare) mark the site of Caesar's cremation.

circa 79 CE

Temple of Vespasian and Titus
The construction of the Temple of Vespasian and Titus (Tempio di Vespasiano e Tito or Templum divi Vespasiani in Latin and Tempio di Vespasiano in Italian) started under the direction of Titus shortly after the demise of his father, Vespasian, in 79 CE. Titus, unfortunately, did not witness its completion, as he passed away two years later. The responsibility of finishing the temple fell upon his brother Domitian, ensuring the realization of their familial vision. Today, remnants of this ancient marvel can still be observed, particularly in the three fluted columns that persist at the southeast corner of the pronaos. These columns bear part of the entablature, with a frieze adorned with intricate depictions of sacrificial implements and bucrania, symbolizing ox skulls thought to ward off malevolent forces.

Of particular note are the Corinthian capitals, where the architrave reveals the last few letters of an inscription: [R]ESTITVER[UNT] ("they restored"). This inscription commemorates the temple's restoration, a significant event orchestrated by Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla. The eighth century witnessed the enduring legacy of this dedication, as it was recorded in the itinerary of a visiting monk from the Einsiedeln monastery. This inscription not only serves as a testament to the enduring architectural and cultural significance of the Temple of Vespasian and Titus but also attests to the meticulous care taken by subsequent rulers to preserve and restore this monumental structure.

circa 121 CE

Temple of Venus and Roma
The Temple of Venus and Roma, known as Tempio di Venere e Roma in Italian, is widely believed to have been the largest temple in Ancient Rome, a grand structure nestled on the Velian Hill. Positioned between the eastern periphery of the Forum Romanum and the iconic Colosseum in Rome, this monumental edifice was devoted to the goddesses Venus Felix, symbolizing "Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune," and Roma Aeterna, representing "Eternal Rome." Its conception was attributed to the visionary emperor Hadrian, who initiated construction in 121 CE. The temple's official inauguration transpired under Hadrian's rule in 135 CE, and its completion was realized in 141 CE during the reign of Antoninus Pius.

The imposing Temple of Venus and Roma bore testament to the architectural prowess of the Roman Empire, showcasing an intricate fusion of artistic and religious elements. Hadrian's vision for this colossal structure aimed at honoring both the goddess of fortune and the eternal spirit of Rome itself. The monumental undertaking reflected the imperial commitment to the glorification of deities intertwined with the perpetuity of the city.

However, the grandeur of the temple faced a formidable challenge in 307 CE when it succumbed to the destructive forces of fire. Undeterred by the setback, the emperor Maxentius took charge of its restoration, introducing modifications that would leave a lasting imprint on its design. This restoration effort not only revitalized the Temple of Venus and Roma but also attested to the resilience and determination embedded in the Roman imperial ethos.

circa 130 CE

Aedicula of the Lares Praestites
It was most likely a "public shrine" situated where the Via Sacra (the Sacred Way) intersects a small road, called the Vicus Vestae. Probably dedicated to the Lares Praestites (the spirits that protected the city of Rome), it was a compitum (a cross-roads shrine), placed at intersections of streets. The Senate ordered the construction of the shrine using public funds during Hadrian's reign, and it is located in the Roman Forum in Rome. This can be inferred from the brick stamps.

circa 141 CE

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
The construction of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina marked a significant tribute by Antoninus Pius to his deified wife, the empress Faustina, who passed away in 141 CE. Situated on the north side of the Via Sacra, near the entrance to the forum and just east of the basilica Aemilia, this temple held a prominent position within the city's architectural landscape. Its original dedication solely commemorated the deified Faustina, with Antoninus Pius overseeing the temple's creation.

Following the death of Antoninus in 161 CE, the temple underwent a symbolic transformation. It was then dedicated jointly to both Antoninus and Faustina, a reflection of their shared legacy and the esteem in which they were held by subsequent rulers and the Roman populace. The architrave of the temple's structure bore an inscription, attesting to the initial dedication, while an additional inscription on the frieze documented the subsequent joint dedication. Consequently, the temple came to be officially known as the Templum d. Antonini et d. Faustinae, encompassing the divine association of both individuals. The dual dedications encapsulate the evolving historical narrative surrounding the temple, showcasing how its significance transcended a singular dedication to become a symbol of the enduring legacy of two esteemed figures in Roman history.

circa 191 CE

Temple of Vesta
Partially reconstructed in the late twentieth century CE, the temple of Vesta stands as a significant relic linked to one of the most ancient and revered cults in Rome. Rooted in the city's rich history, this temple served as the sacred space where the Vestal Virgins meticulously tended the perpetual fire, symbolizing the life force of the city itself. The exclusivity of this cult was evident in the severe prohibition against men entering the temple, with the exception of the Pontifex Maximus. The enduring legacy of the Vestals and the symbolism of the eternal flame underscored the spiritual and civic importance of the Temple of Vesta in ancient Roman society.

Despite the passage of centuries, only the podium that once supported the temple's columns remains visible today. The circular monument has undergone multiple reconstructions throughout history. The existing remnants can be traced back to the period of Septimius Severus, who, in response to a destructive fire in 191 CE, undertook the restoration of this revered building. The Temple of Vesta, with its reconstructed elements and the enduring symbolism of the sacred fire, continues to serve as a poignant reminder of Rome's ancient religious traditions and the significance attributed to the preservation of its spiritual heart.

circa 307 CE

Temple of Romulus
The Temple of Romulus, located in the Roman Forum, is a distinctive architectural marvel attributed to Emperor Maxentius in 307 CE, as depicted on a coin from that era. Unusual in its shape compared to typical Roman structures, this temple holds historical significance as it was erected in honor of Maxentius' young son who tragically passed away during childhood. The circular design of the building is complemented by two apsidal halls on either side, each featuring petite porticoes adorned with intricately decorated porphyry columns. An intriguing element of the original structure is the bronze door, remarkably preserved with its functioning lock—a testament to the craftsmanship of the time.

Throughout history, the Temple of Romulus underwent transformations reflective of evolving cultural and religious contexts. Pope Felix V played a role in repurposing the monument, converting it into the vestibule of the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian. This adaptation attests to the continuity of the site's spiritual significance, seamlessly integrating ancient Roman traditions with Christian practices. In 1879 CE, a pivotal moment in the monument's restoration occurred when the entrance facing the Forum was reopened, allowing visitors to connect with the historical and architectural legacy encapsulated within the Temple of Romulus. This cyclical evolution, from imperial dedication to papal adaptation and subsequent restoration, underscores the enduring legacy of this unique structure within the heart of the Roman Forum.

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