The Maison Carrée is dated to the reign of Augustus primarily from its dedicatory inscription. However, no text of the inscription remains in situ; only clamp holes, without countersunk letter patterns, attest to what letter may have belonged where. The patterns are more or less consistent with the various restorations proposed for them; none is definite, secure, or proven. The dating of the temple cannot be based on such a phantom inscription, which provides no chronological evidence whatsoever, as has also been shown for the arch at Orange and the Roman temple at Vienne. The basic unit of measurement used in the ground plan of the Maison Carrée is the pes Drusianus, otherwise not securely attested prior to the early second century A. D. Use of this measurement module suggests a date at least a century after Augustus's reign. Similar problems arise in analyzing the proportions, Corinthian order, and decoration of the temple; all such problems are resolved or relieved by assigning the temple as we know it to a second-century A. D. restoration. Historical and archaeological evidence suggests that a restoration of an Augustan temple at Nîmes during the first half of the second century A. D., possibly in the reign of Hadrian or of Antoninus Pius, with the text of its earlier inscription reset on the façade, may be more consistent with the extant remains of the Maison Carrée.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| March 01 2001
Anachronism in the Roman Architecture of Gaul: The Date of the Maison Carrée at Nîmes
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (2001) 60 (1): 68–79.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
James C. Anderson,; Anachronism in the Roman Architecture of Gaul: The Date of the Maison Carrée at Nîmes. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 March 2001; 60 (1): 68–79. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/991679
Download citation file: