Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus
|Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus|
Model of the ancient Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus
|Town or city||Ancient Rome|
The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, also known as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus (Latin: Aedes Iovis Optimi Maximi Capitolini, Italian: Tempio di Giove Ottimo Massimo, English: "Temple of Jupiter Best and Greatest on the Capitoline") was the most important temple in Ancient Rome, located on the Capitoline Hill.
 First building
Much of what is known of the first Temple of Jupiter is from later Roman tradition. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus vowed this temple while battling with the Sabines and, according to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, began the terracing necessary to support the foundations of the temple. Modern coring on the Capitoline has confirmed the extensive work needed just to create a level building site. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Livy, the foundations and most of the superstructure of the temple were completed by Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.
Livy also records that before the temple's construction shrines to other gods occupied the site. When the augurs carried out the rites seeking permission to remove them, only Terminus and Juventas were believed to have refused. Their shrines were therefore incorporated into the new structure. Because he was the god of boundaries, Terminus's refusal to be moved was interpreted as a favorable omen for the future of the Roman state. A second portent was the appearance of the head of a man to workmen digging the foundations of the temple. This was said by the augurs (including augurs brought especially from Etruria) to mean that Rome was to be the head of a great empire.
It was said that the Temple of Jupiter was dedicated on September 13, the year of the Roman Republic, c. 509 BC. It was sacred to the Capitoline Triad consisting of Jupiter and his companion deities, Juno and Minerva.
The original temple measured almost 60 m × 60 m (200 ft × 200 ft) and was considered the most important religious temple of the whole state of Rome. Each deity of the Triad had a separate cella, with Juno Regina on the left, Minerva on the right, and Jupiter Optimus Maximus in the middle. The first temple was decorated with many terra cotta sculptures. The most famous of these was of Jupiter driving a quadriga, a chariot drawn by four horses, which was on top of the roof as an acroterion. This sculpture, as well as the cult statue of Jupiter in the main cella, was said to have been the work of Etruscan artisan Vulca of Veii. An image of Summanus, a thunder god, was among the pedimental statues.
The plan and exact dimensions of the temple have been heavily debated. Five different plans of the temple have been published following recent excavations on the Capitoline Hill that revealed portions of the archaic foundations. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the same plan and foundations were used for later rebuildings of the temple.
The first temple burned in 83 BC, during the civil wars under the dictatorship of Sulla. Also lost in this fire were the Sibylline Books, which were said to have been written by classical sibyls, and stored in the temple (to be guarded and consulted by the quindecimviri (council of fifteen) on matters of state only on emergencies).
 Second building
Sulla hoped to live until the temple was rebuilt, but Quintus Lutatius Catulus (Capitolinus) had the honor of dedicating the new structure in 69 BC. The new temple was built to the same plan on the same foundations, but with more expensive materials for the superstructure. Literary sources indicate that the temple was not entirely completed until the late 60s BC. Brutus and the other assassins locked themselves inside it after murdering Caesar. The new temple of Quintus Lutatius Catulus was renovated and repaired by Augustus.
The second building burnt down during the course of fighting on the hill on December 19, 69 AD, when an army loyal to Vespasian battled to enter the city in the Year of the Four Emperors. Domitian narrowly escaped with his life.
 Third building
The new emperor, Vespasian, rapidly rebuilt the temple on the same foundations but with a lavish superstructure. The third temple of Jupiter was dedicated in AD 75. The third temple burned during the reign of Titus in the great fire of AD 80.
 Fourth building
Domitian immediately began rebuilding the temple, again on the same foundations, but with the most lavish superstructure yet. According to ancient sources, Domitian used at least twelve thousands talents of gold for the gilding of the bronze roof tiles alone. Elaborate sculpture adorned the pediment. A Renaissance drawing of a damaged relief in the Louvre Museum shows a four-horse chariot (quadriga) beside a two-horse chariot (biga) to the right of the latter at the highest point of the pediment, the two statues serving as the central acroterion, and statues of the god Mars and goddess Venus surmounting the corners of the cornice, serving as acroteria.
In the centre of the pediment the god Jupiter was flanked by Juno and Minerva, seated on thrones. Below was an eagle with wings spread out. A biga driven by the sun god and a biga driven by the moon were depicted either side of the three gods.
 Remains today
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 3.69
- Ammermann 2000, pp. 82–3
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 4.61; Livy History 1.55-56.1
- Livy Ab urbe condita 1.55
- Tacitus, quoted in Aicher 2004, p. 51
- Pliny the Elder, Encyclopedia 35.157
- Cicero, On Divination 1.16
- Ridley 2005
- Mura Sommella 2000, pp. 25 fig. 26;Stamper 2005, pp. 28 fig. 16;Albertoni and Damiani 2008, pp. 11 fig. 2c;Cifani 2008, pp. 104 fig. 85;Mura Sommella 2009, pp. 367–8 figs. 17–19.
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 4.61.4
- Pliny NH 7.138; Tacitus Hist. 3.72.3.
- Flower 2008, p. 85
- Tacitus Hist. 3.71-72
- Darwall-Smith 1996, pp. 41–47
- Darwall-Smith 1996, pp. 105–110
- Claridge 1998, pp. 237–238; Albertoni & Damiani 2008
- Giovanna Giusti Galardi: The Statues of the Loggia Della Signoria in Florence: Masterpieces Restored, Florence 2002. ISBN 8809026209
- Aicher, Peter J. (2004), Rome Alive: A Source Guide to the Ancient City, Wauconda, IL: Bolchazy-Carducci, ISBN 086516473 Check
- Albertoni, M.; Damiani, I. (2008), Il tempio di Giove e le origini del colle Capitolino, Milan: Electa.
- Ammerman, Albert (2000), "Coring Ancient Rome", Archaeology: 78–83.
- Cifani, Gabriele (2008), Architettura romana arcaica: Edilizia e società tra Monarchia e Repubblica, Rome: "L'Erma" di Bretschneider.
- Darwall-Smith, R. H. (1996), Emperors and Architecture: A Study of Flavian Rome, Brussels: Latomus.
- Claridge, Amanda (1998), Rome, Oxford Archaeological Guides, Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-288003-9.
- Flower, Harriet I. (2008), "Remembering and Forgetting Temple Destruction: The Destruction of the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in 83 BC", in G. Gardner and K. L. Osterloh, Antiquity in Antiquity, Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, pp. 74–92, ISBN 978-3-16-149411-6.
- Mura Sommella, A. (2000), ""La grande Roma dei tarquini": Alterne vicende di una felice intuizione", Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma 101: 7–26.
- Mura Sommella, A. (2009), "Il tempio di Giove Capitolino. Una nuova proposta di lettura", Annali della Fondazione per il Museo Claudio Faina 16: 333–372.
- Ridley, R.T. (2005), "Unbridgeable Gaps: the Capitoline temple at Rome", Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma 106: 83–104.
- Stamper, John (2005), The architecture of Roman temples: the republic to the middle empire, New York: Cambridge University Press.