In Decorum and the Meanings of Materials in Triumphal Architecture of Republican Rome, Maggie L. Popkin argues that the literal and figurative values of materials in republican triumphal architecture stemmed from complex interactions among patron, architect, audience, and sociohistorical context. Several case studies—the Temple of Fortuna Equestris, the Porticus Metelli, the Round Temple on the Tiber, and Temple B in the Area Sacra di Largo Argentina—demonstrate that the juxtaposition of multiple materials, changing historical circumstances, and new groups of viewers resulted in constantly shifting meanings of materials in republican architecture. The Roman notion of decorum helps explain the shifting uses and valuations of materials. Factors such as the monument’s patron, the event that sparked its construction, its location, the monument type, the availability of materials, and the intended audiences affected the choice of materials and their intended and perceived meanings, which had rich conceptual and imaginative potential to evoke Roman conquest, piety, and spectacle.
Material—the stuff of which objects and buildings are made—is a fundamental concern of art historians and archaeologists who study the Roman world; unsurprisingly, the materials of Roman architecture have been studied widely from a variety of perspectives.1 Scholars have explored, for example, the techniques of working various materials, as well as the costs associated with their procurement and use (for which documents such as the Edictum Diocletiani, or Diocletian’s Price Edict, provide interesting evidence in the later imperial period).2 The symbolic value of various materials, especially colored marbles, has also attracted attention, with colored marbles often interpreted as expressing the geographic dominion of the Roman Empire.3 Yet the variegated meanings of materials in Roman architecture merit further consideration. In this article, I will argue that if we consider materiality in republican architecture as resulting from complex interactions among patron, architect, audience, and sociohistorical context, we can begin to trace the meanings of the materials used in Roman monuments.
I present several case studies from triumphal architecture in second-century Rome to advance two arguments that can enrich our understanding of the materiality of republican architecture. First, the complex meanings of architectural materials become apparent only when we consider the entire combination of materials in a given monument (marble and stucco, for example, not marble or stucco). Second, the significance of materiality in Roman monuments was protean. Architectural materials did not have fixed meanings or semantic values in ancient Rome; rather, their significance shifted depending on the specific historical, sociocultural, and topographical contexts of the monuments and on the viewers who interacted with the monuments. The Roman notion of decorum, which scholars have applied fruitfully to Roman sculpture, helps explain the dynamic meanings and uses of materials in republican architecture. Factors such as the monument’s patron, the event that sparked its construction, its location, the monument type, the availability of materials, and the intended audiences all affected the choice of materials and their intended and perceived meanings.
The parameters of this article are intentionally limited. My aim is not to survey every known republican monument, its materials, and their meanings, but rather to demonstrate, through selected case studies, the validity of the above-mentioned arguments. The monuments considered here are the Temple of Fortuna Equestris in the Campus Martius, the Porticus Metelli and its enclosed temples to Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina in the Circus Flaminius, the Round Temple on the Tiber, and the Temple of Fortuna Huiusce Diei (Temple B) in the Area Sacra di Largo Argentina. Each of these monuments was built in the second century in an area of Rome connected with the performance of the Roman triumph. Triumphal building in Rome in this period spurred a great deal of innovation in Roman architecture, and the triumphal monuments considered here offer a diverse array of material combinations.4 In the second century, with triumphal monuments at the vanguard, marble was introduced as a building material in Rome from the Greek world, a phenomenon that proves particularly illuminating for questions of materiality in Roman architecture.
Triumphal Monuments and Their Materials in the Second Century
The Roman triumph, an elaborate ritual celebrating Rome’s military victories over foreign peoples, was one of the signature honors a Roman general could receive.5 Republican generals frequently chose to celebrate and commemorate their victories and subsequent triumphal processions by building triumphal monuments. Many of these monuments were manubial temples, so called because they were funded using manubiae, or proceeds from the spoils of war.6 Such a temple was vowed on the battlefield and completed upon the general’s victorious return to Rome. The monuments described in the following case studies are either manubial monuments or triumphal monuments funded by the spoils of war but not fulfilling vows to gods or goddesses. Like the majority of Roman monuments built in the third and second centuries to commemorate triumphs, they are located in spaces of the city connected with either preparations for or the performance of triumphal processions.7
The Temple of Fortuna Equestris
In 180, the proconsul Quintus Fulvius Flaccus vowed a temple to Fortuna Equestris (Equestrian Luck) during a battle against the Celtiberi in Hispania Citerior (Nearer Hispania). He celebrated a triumph for his Spanish victory upon his return to Rome. Flaccus dedicated the temple during his censorship in 173.8 Vitruvius locates it ad theatrum lapideum (near the stone theater).9 Scholars long assumed that Vitruvius refers to the Theater of Marcellus, but an inscription discovered and published in the 1980s has permitted us to identify the theater mentioned by Vitruvius as the Theater of Pompey.10 Filippo Coarelli has subsequently argued that the temple was located just north of the Theater of Pompey (Figure 1).11
Unfortunately, the Temple of Fortuna Equestris is no longer extant. According to Tacitus, it had already disappeared from the Roman cityscape by 22 CE.12 We thus rely on the descriptions of ancient authors to enable us to envision its appearance. Vitruvius describes the temple as sistyle (that is, with an intercolumniation equal to two column diameters).13 It was likely a large and impressive temple; Livy writes that Flaccus was “striving zealously that there should be no temple in Rome larger or more splendid.”14 Notably, as part of this effort, Flaccus roofed his temple with marble tiles he had stripped from the Temple of Hera Lacinia in Croton.15 That ancient authors single out the marble roof tiles for description strongly suggests that other parts of the temple were constructed of local stone, not imported marble. In fact, the marble roof tiles of the Temple of Fortuna Equestris constitute one of the earliest recorded instances of the use of marble in Roman architecture. Flaccus clearly thought the white marble tiles from Croton would crown his temple with surpassing visual splendor. The Senate did not agree. Scandalized by Flaccus’s looting of the sacred building in Croton, the senators forced him to return the roof tiles.16
At first glance, the Senate’s response might be surprising. It was not unusual for generals to return to Rome with spoils that were then used to decorate public monuments. Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, for example, displayed captured Ligurian arms in his temple to Juno Regina, while statues from Ambracia and Corinth were displayed in the precincts of, respectively, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior’s temple to Hercules Musarum and Lucius Licinius Lucullus’s temple to Felicitas.17 In Flaccus’s case, however, the marble tiles were not legitimate spoils of war. Flaccus had not brought them back from his military campaign in Spain; rather, he had stripped them from the temple in Croton during his censorship, with no military pretext for their removal. Because the marble tiles had been plundered from a religious sanctuary during peacetime, an act of sacrilege, they could not then constitute a pious offering to Fortuna Equestris. Livy describes the Senate’s indignation that Flaccus should bring upon the Roman people “the guilt of impiety, building temples with the ruins of temples, just as if the immortal gods were not the same everywhere, but that some should be worshipped and adorned with the spoils of others!”18 Flaccus’s act of impiety could be resolved only through the return of the looted tiles to the temple in Croton—which the Senate repaired at its own expense—and the offering of atonements to the offended goddess.
We cannot know whether Flaccus had any inkling that the Senate would respond as it did, but if he did and chose to use the looted tiles anyway, it might be because he knew how dazzling the marble would be. Flaccus’s desire to impress Romans moving through the Campus Martius with this new material of white marble might have overridden any concerns he may have had about the propriety of his actions.
The Porticus Metelli and the Temples of Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina
In 148, the Roman praetor Quintus Caecilus Metellus waged a campaign in Macedonia against the pretender king Andriscus, who styled himself as the heir of the Macedonian king Perseus. Metellus vanquished Andriscus and began the organization of Macedonia into a Roman province. For his victory, he was awarded the agnomen Macedonicus, and in 146 he celebrated a triumphal procession.19 On the battlefield against Andriscus, Metellus had vowed a temple to Jupiter Stator, a promise he kept upon his victorious return to Rome.20 In addition to his temple to Jupiter the Stayer, Metellus built a vast quadriporticus in the Circus Flaminius, known as the Porticus Metelli, that enclosed his temple as well as the earlier temple to Juno Regina, which he probably renovated (see Figure 1).21 This temple had been vowed in 187 by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and dedicated during his censorship in 179.22
The Temple of Jupiter Stator, the Temple of Juno Regina, and the Porticus Metelli appear beside the Circus Flaminius on the Severan Marble Plan, a marble map of the city of Rome created in the early third century CE.23 Surviving fragments of the Marble Plan depict the two temples, each labeled, inside a porticus labeled the Porticus Octaviae (the name given the Porticus Metelli in honor of Augustus’s sister, Octavia, when either she or he rebuilt it) (Figure 2).24
The patronage of the republican temples and porticus has been debated over the years. Excavators have uncovered remains corresponding to the Temple of Juno Regina under the modern city block delimited by Via S. Angelo in Pescheria and Via della Tribuna di Campitelli.25 Based on a tortured reading of Velleius Paterculus’s singular use of aedes as referring in fact to two temples (Velleius wrote that Metellus was the first to build in Rome a “temple of marble,” or aedem ex marmore), M. Gwyn Morgan has argued that Metellus built the temple to Juno Regina depicted on the Marble Plan ex novo.26 Morgan’s theory has found little support, however, and there is general agreement today that Metellus restored Lepidus’s existing temple to Juno Regina.27 Metellus would not have been the only person in Rome to build a portico enclosing an earlier temple, though he may have been one of the first.28 In the Augustan period, for example, Lucius Marcius Philippus built the Porticus Philippi around the much earlier temple to Hercules Musarum (dedicated ca. 179), and John Senseney has suggested that Gnaeus Octavius built his eponymous porticus shortly after 167 in the Circus Flaminius around the earlier Temple of Neptune.29 A fire in 156 might have necessitated repairs to the older temple, which would have given Metellus a legitimate reason to restore it.30 By surrounding Lepidus’s temple with his own porticus, Metellus was probably also attempting to align himself with the prestige of the Aemilii Lepidi.31
Some scholars have also questioned whether Metellus built any temple inside his eponymous portico. M. J. Boyd interprets Velleius Paterculus’s phrase “aedem ex marmore” as referring to a porticus, not a temple; L. Richardson jr. agrees. Both propose that Metellus’s portico enclosed two already existing temples to Juno Regina and Jupiter Stator.32 Velleius’s use of aedes in the singular, however, despite Boyd’s attempts to prove otherwise, refers in its orthodox sense to a temple, not a portico, and Boyd’s suggestion has not found widespread approval.33
On balance, the evidence points to Metellus’s having restored the Temple of Juno Regina and built ex novo the Temple of Jupiter Stator and the surrounding portico.34 The date of the Temple of Jupiter Stator’s dedication remains uncertain. Metellus’s Macedonian triumph occurred in 146. It is possible that Metellus did not dedicate the temple until his censorship in 131, but, as Filippo Coarelli has argued, this lengthy interval seems unreasonable.35 Coarelli prefers to date the dedication to 143, when Metellus was consul, as do I, although we cannot definitively exclude a later date.36 It was not uncommon in the second century to have such a short period between the vow and the dedication of a triumphal monument, and Metellus might understandably have wanted to capitalize on his triumph, and the glory it brought him, as quickly as possible.37 While no ancient evidence gives the date the temple was begun, its recognition as Rome’s first marble temple means that it must have been begun relatively soon after Metellus’s triumph so that it would predate marble temples such as the Round Temple on the Tiber, built shortly after 146 (discussed further below), and the Temple of Mars in the Circus Flaminius, built after 133. Like the Temple of Jupiter Stator, the Porticus Metelli was also begun soon after Metellus’s triumph.38 Regardless of the specific date of their dedication, both were triumphal monuments, intimately linked to Metellus’s military victory in Macedonia and the triumph he had consequently earned. Their topographic location further cemented this triumphal association; the Circus Flaminius was either the mustering point or part of the processional route of Roman triumphs (see Figure 1).39
Both elements of Metellus’s triumphal complex were well known in antiquity.40 The Temple of Jupiter Stator enjoyed great fame as Rome’s first all-marble temple. Velleius Paterculus writes that Metellus “was the first of all to build a temple of marble, which he erected in the midst of these very monuments [i.e., the Porticus Metelli and its statuary displays], thereby becoming the pioneer in this form of munificence, or shall we call it luxury?”41 The style of the temple was decisively Greek. Metellus commissioned the renowned Greek architect Hermodorus of Salamis to build his temple.42 The temple would have been Ionic in order, as fragments of capitals preserved in the warehouse of the Porticus Octaviae demonstrate, and it had a hexastyle peripteral plan and a long, narrow cella, further evidence of Hermodorus’s Greek influence (Figure 3).43 The preserved fragments of Ionic capitals might belong to an Augustan renovation, but this is not entirely clear; both the original, Metellan temple and the renovated, Augustan temple might have been Ionic.44 The Marble Plan shows the temple as a peripteros sine postico (with columns along the front face and sides but not along the rear side), but this must be the result of a post-Augustan reconstruction, because Vitruvius clearly indicates that the temple was peripteral.45 The Temple of Jupiter Stator, with its peripteral colonnade in brilliant white marble, conformed so impeccably to Hellenistic standards that Vitruvius singles it out to illustrate his strict Ionic orthodoxy.46 (In contrast, the Marble Plan shows the Temple of Juno Regina within the Porticus Octaviae as having columns only on its façade.)
With the Porticus Metelli, we can rely more securely on archaeological remains. The remains visible today in Via del Portico d’Ottavia belong to the later Porticus Octaviae, constructed under Augustus and heavily restored by Septimius Severus and Caracalla (Figure 4).47 However, excavations have uncovered remains of the original Porticus Metelli; these show that the republican structure was a quadriporticus with essentially the same dimensions (105 meters wide, 92 meters deep) and design as the imperial structure.48 The excavations also indicate that the Porticus Metelli had a monumental entrance.49 A volute belonging to the portico shows that the structure’s colonnade was Ionic (Figure 5).50
When reconstructing the materials of the Porticus Metelli and its enclosed temples, scholars used to rely on Velleius Paterculus’s phrase “aedem ex marmore.” Boyd claims, in addition to arguing that Metellus built the portico and not the temples, that Metellus built the portico in solid marble.51 Morgan, in contrast, asserts that Metellus built both temples in marble (specifying further that he used marble revetment and not solid marble).52 Fortunately, archaeological investigations have put our knowledge of the monuments’ materials on reasonably sure footing. There is no evidence that either the Temple of Juno Regina or the Porticus Metelli was constructed of marble. Investigations of the Temple of Juno Regina have turned up no elements of the structure’s republican phase that would contradict Velleius’s assertion that only the Temple of Jupiter Stator was marble. Excavations of the Porticus Octaviae have uncovered two column drums and a fragment of an Ionic capital volute belonging to the porticus’s original republican phase. All of these elements are in peperino (a local volcanic tuff), with rough finishing to take a covering of white stucco.53 These discoveries confirm that the porticus’s columns and capitals were stuccoed peperino. They also make the interpretation of the ancient sources much simpler: Metellus maintained the Temple of Juno Regina in local stone, built a quadriporticus of stuccoed peperino, and erected a temple to Jupiter Stator in marble.
Why did Metellus construct his portico in stuccoed peperino but his temple to Jupiter Stator in marble? Factors of economy and expediency likely played a role in Metellus’s decision making. It certainly would have been cheaper and faster to build the large portico in stuccoed peperino rather than in marble.54 Greek marble would have been more easily available after Greece was reduced to a province in 146, but marble was still an imported and costly material.55
We would not expect Metellus to build a portico in solid marble masonry (a feat that seems never to have occurred in Rome), but we might expect him to have used capitals of this material.56 There was a precedent in republican Rome for a porticus with certain architectural details in precious materials. The Porticus Octavia, the first in the Circus Flaminius, was built by Gnaeus Octavius after his naval triumph for capturing the Macedonian king Perseus at Samothrace in 168, after the famous Battle of Pydna.57 Pliny links the construction of Octavius’s portico with his triumph over Perseus.58 The Porticus Octavia seems to be the earliest porticus in Rome funded from manubiae, and it was lauded by Velleius as the most splendid portico in Rome.59 Pliny writes that it had columns surmounted by finely carved bronze capitals; for this reason, he notes, the porticus was sometimes called the “Corinthian portico.”60 Octavius presumably acquired these capitals during his victorious Greek campaign; metal capitals and stone capitals adorned with metal revetment were known, if not common, in the Greek East.61 They were spolia, uniquely suited to ornament a manubial monument and recall a Roman military victory and concomitant triumph.62 There is no indication that Octavius built the rest of his portico in a precious material—certainly not bronze and neither, it seems, marble. Rather, he highlighted the rare and beautiful bronze capitals by making them the singular precious element in his portico. Had Metellus wanted to accentuate his own porticus with capitals of a valuable material, he would have had an immediate precedent to follow in the neighboring Porticus Octavia.
Metellus chose, however, to build his portico entirely of peperino coated in stucco, and economics alone do not adequately explain his choice of materials, particularly his decision to forgo marble entirely in his porticus. Metellus issued from a wealthy family, and his Macedonian victory had resulted in a handsome set of spoils, which would have further enabled him to build a manubial complex of heightened lavishness. As Velleius Paterculus notes, he was hardly a man lacking in good fortune, financial or otherwise: “One will scarcely find a man of any race, or any age, or any rank, whose happy fortune is comparable with that of Metellus.”63 Furthermore, his choice to build his temple of marble indicates that he was neither constrained nor restrained when it came to spending on his manubial complex.64
Metellus chose different materials for his temple to Jupiter Stator and his eponymous portico because they were different kinds of monuments, each with distinct functions and thus requiring, according to the concept of decorum, its own kinds of materials. The Temple of Jupiter Stator was a votive temple, fulfilling a vow Metellus had made on the battlefield. Thus, while it was indisputably a monument to Metellus’s triumph and own personal gloria, it was also a religious votive dedicated to a god. Building the temple exclusively of marble highlighted its votive nature and increased its value as a religious offering to Jupiter Stator. The Porticus Metelli, on the other hand, was more for ostentation. While Metellus’s temple was certainly a personal advertisement as well as a religious offering, his motivations for building the porticus did not carry the same veneer of piety. The porticus might have been funded ex manubiis, but it was not a religious dedication to a divinity. Instead, it heightened the impressiveness of Metellus’s monumental complex and framed the spoils of war on display within.
The Round Temple on the Tiber
In 146, the consul Lucius Mummius achieved a glorious victory over the Greeks, sacking illustrious Corinth. During his attack he vowed a temple to Hercules Victor, attested to by an inscription discovered on the Caelian Hill.65 The inscription’s find spot has caused some scholars to locate Mummius’s temple on the Caelian. The Caelian inscription is quite small to have come from a temple, however; it is more likely a copy of a monumental temple inscription. The most persuasive identification for Mummius’s temple is the extant Round Temple on the Tiber that stands across from the Bocca della Verità (Figures 1 and 6)—the temple to Hercules Victor that Macrobius and Servius locate ad Portam Trigeminam.66Attempts to identify the Round Temple as a temple to Hercules Olivarius are unpersuasive. They presume that an inscribed statue base mentioning Hercules Olivarius refers to the temple and not to an individual statue monument such as the Apollo Caelispex or Minerva Catuliana, which is far more likely.67 It is also extremely unlikely that an olive oil merchant, the putative patron of the monument to Hercules Olivarius, could afford to build the lavish round temple, whereas Mummius would have been in a prime position to do so after his sack of Corinth.
The construction of Metellus’s Temple of Jupiter Stator is the terminus post quem for the Round Temple, because Metellus’s temple was the first marble temple in Rome.68 As discussed above, it seems most likely that Metellus built his temple shortly after his triumph of 146, perhaps during his censorship of 142. The proportions of the Round Temple’s column shafts support a date in the late 140s or 130s.69 One can find comparanda for the Round Temple’s ornament in Hellenistic temples from Asia Minor, such as the Hekateion at Lagina, but a date in the second half of the second century is plausible, particularly given the use of Grotta Oscura tufa in the foundations.70 The archaeologists who have published most extensively on the Round Temple find comparanda for the temple in the second half of the second century. They opt for a first-century date largely to conform to Pliny, who writes that before Lucius Licinius Crassus decorated his atrium with columns of Hymettian marble, no public building possessed columns of such luxurious material. Metellus’s temple, of course, had marble columns long before Crassus built his domus, so either Pliny is mistaken or he is referring specifically to Hymettian and other colored marbles.71 Ultimately, a date close to the founding of Scipio Aemilianus’s temple to Hercules in the Forum Boarium (dedicated during his censorship in 142)72 and Metellus’s temple to Jupiter Stator is attractive, situating Mummius’s temple within the intense elite competition so characteristic of the Middle Republic. One can envision Mummius, a novus homo (“new man,” a newcomer to the senatorial and consular elite), constructing a marble temple to compete with the recent manubial temples of his co-censor Scipio Aemilianus and his rival Metellus, both of whom hailed from aristocratic families.73
Mummius’s Temple of Hercules Victor was a lavish monument. It is one of republican Rome’s best-preserved temples, and its architectural form is indisputably Greek, with a low crepis, peripteral form, and Corinthian capitals.74 Even the masonry technique of its cella walls—binders and stretchers with drafted margins in a “tall-tall-short” pattern (two high stretchers alternating with a single low binder)—is Hellenistic and seems to derive specifically from the Hieron at Samothrace.75 The temple’s foundations are Grotta Oscura tufa, and the cella’s internal wall is travertine, probably originally faced with stucco. Minus the roof, however, the entire visible exterior is cased in white Pentelic marble, one of the temple’s most striking visual aspects.
Although Mummius’s temple is technically a multimedia affair, its travertine and tufa are not made visible to the world. Its patron and designer clearly intended it to be perceived as an all-marble monument. Some of Mummius’s motivations seem similar to those that drove Metellus to build his temple to Jupiter Stator in marble. Mummius’s temple was also a votive, fulfilling a vow made to Hercules Victor. The Pentelic marble also served as a symbolic spoil of war, broadcasting Mummius’s defeat of the resplendent city of Corinth. In some ways, this connection was more direct for the Round Temple than for the Temple of Jupiter Stator, because the Greek mainland was actually the source of the marble that Mummius and his builders used, whereas Metellus’s marble did not come from Macedon, whose king he had conquered. Mummius’s choice to adorn his temple with Corinthian capitals probably formed another part of this project to link his triumphal monument visually with the source of his triumph.
With Mummius, the material of marble may have had an additional layer of meaning less apparent with Metellus. Whereas Metellus was from an old family, Mummius, as noted above, was somewhat of a political arriviste. A number of ancient authors present him as culturally ignorant, a sort of parvenu and philistine too uneducated to appreciate Corinth’s artistic masterpieces.76 Even if these ancient authors distort reality, Mummius nonetheless might have been aware that his background did not match up with those of his aristocratic contemporaries, such as Metellus and Scipio Aemilianus. On how ancient authors portray Mummius, see Erich S. Gruen, Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992), 123–28. In choosing to build his temple in marble, he could have sought not only to compete with other manubial monuments but also to benefit from the cultural prestige associated with the material. Building with marble could show Mummius’s appreciation for Greek culture, helping to counter perceptions of him as “uncultivated,” as Velleius calls him.
Temple B in the Area Sacra di Largo Argentina
In 101, Quintus Lutatius Catulus vowed a temple to Fortuna Huiusce Diei (Fortune of the Present Day) during the Battle of Vercellae against the Cimbri in Cisalpine Gaul.77 He dedicated the temple sometime thereafter, before his suicide in 87. The Fasti Allifani locate the temple in the Campus Martius, and Varro mentions an aedes Catuli of circular form in the vicinity of the Villa Publica.78 In 1940 Pierre Boyancé identified the aedes Catuli with Temple B in the Area Sacra di Largo Argentina, and this identification is widely accepted today.79
Like the Round Temple on the Tiber, Temple B is still extant (Figure 7; see Figure 1). It is a round temple approximately 19.20 meters in diameter. Unlike the Round Temple and the Temple of Jupiter Stator, however, it does not have a low, stepped crepis but rather stands atop a tall podium revetted in slabs of Anio tufa, approachable only by a frontal staircase on the east façade. The temple is visible as a peripteral tholos on fragment 37 of the Severan Marble Plan (Figure 8), which reproduces the temple’s first phase, not its later phase when the intercolumniations of the peristyle were walled in to transform the peripteros into a walled rotunda, which one sees today. In the temple’s initial phase, a peristyle of eighteen columns surrounded the cella; they were made of stuccoed Anio tufa, with bases and Corinthian capitals of travertine. The temple’s steps and stylobate were also travertine. Catulus built Temple B long after Greek marble quarries had become accessible to Rome after the annexation of Greece, but the temple did not use marble as a building material. In fact, the only marble element of the whole temple was a small frieze in Pentelic marble, composed of a rinceau of acanthus leaves, later recarved as a medieval inscription.80
Although the temple itself was almost exclusively of stuccoed tufa and travertine, the cult statue belonging to the temple’s original phase was a highly classicizing marble statue of Fortuna, now on display in the Centrale Montemartini in Rome (Figure 9).81 Discovered in 1928 between Temples B and C, this colossal acrolithic statue of Greek island marble was originally approximately 8 meters tall. Catulus was clearly not averse to using marble, or to using it in large quantities, but he chose to use it only for his temple’s cult statue, not for the temple itself.
Marble seems to carry a connotation of religious piety at Catulus’s temple. The choice of marble for the cult statue cannot be explained only in terms of the statue’s votive nature, however, for the temple itself, also a votive, is not built of marble. At Temple B, the choice of materials might have to do not simply with the function of the object in question but also with its style. The cult statue of Fortuna Huiusce Diei is remarkably classicizing and emulates Greek statues of divinities of the classical period. The temple, on the other hand, is not purely “Greek” and, thus, neither are its materials. The native materials of tufa and travertine accord with the temple’s Italic emphasis on frontality and a high podium. Here, decorum might have dictated that the materials match the style of the statue and the temple, respectively.
Decorum and Material
Decor or decorum—that is, appropriateness—was, as Ellen Perry has stated succinctly, “an essential Roman value that found application in almost all realms of public life.”82 It is a concept with which ancient authors certainly concerned themselves. Cicero, for example, discusses decorum at length in his De officiis, noting numerous areas of social life in which decorum should govern people’s behavior, from acting one’s age to engaging in conversation.83 Perry notes that ancient authors usually define decorum rather vaguely, because the concept always has to respond to many shifting spheres. Being decorous, in other words, was a constant juggling act, and decorum could not, therefore, have one static definition.84
Scholars of Roman visual culture have focused largely on how decorum can help us understand Romans’ use and reception of sculpture.85 But Vitruvius indicates that Romans believed the concept of decorum applied to architecture as well.86 He writes: “Propriety [decor] is that perfection of style which comes when a work is authoritatively constructed on approved principles. It arises from prescription (Greek θεματισμῷ), from usage, or from nature.” Temples dedicated to celestial divinities should be open to the sky. Temples to virile gods, such as Mars and Hercules, should be in the hefty Doric order; temples to gods of “middle position,” such as Juno, should be Ionic; and temples to delicate goddesses, such as Venus and Flora, should be Corinthian.87
A work of architecture must be suitable to its circumstances, which can, according to Vitruvius, include the nature of the deity to whom a temple is dedicated. Both the overall form and the details of the architectural elements and ornament must suit the circumstances that have given rise to the building. Even Vitruvius’s discussion of architectural decorum, however, underscores the mutability of the concept. According to Vitruvius, temples to Hercules should be Doric, which he considers the order most appropriate to this deity’s virtus. Yet Mummius’s temple to Hercules Victor does not use the “masculine” Doric order; rather, it uses the Corinthian order that Vitruvius finds so appropriate for Venus, Flora, and other feminine deities. In the particular historical circumstances of Mummius’s manubial temple, the decorous choice was not what Vitruvius would have deemed appropriate. Mummius might have felt that Corinthian columns best suited his temple, which, after all, commemorated his victory over Corinth. The contradiction between Mummius’s Corinthian temple to Hercules and Vitruvius’s dictum that temples to that god should be Doric supports Perry’s assertion that “it is impossible to define appropriateness in the abstract without reference to particular circumstances.”88
Perry’s and others’ observations about decorum and Roman sculpture can help us understand choices made by Roman architectural patrons and designers. Particularly relevant is Perry’s argument that decorum, although it demanded respect for tradition, spurred innovation in Romans’ purchasing and commissioning of sculptural works. Decorum “required patrons to choose or commission works that were apt for their particular contexts—whether those contexts were architectural, historic, or personal”; these new contexts led to innovation.89 The monuments discussed here often used materials in new ways and new combinations in response to particular circumstances, which drove experimentation and innovation in republican architecture.
The case studies presented above suggest that architectural patrons’ choices of materials were often motivated by what was appropriate to the particular contexts of their monuments. Conversely, the reception of a monument could also be conditioned by whether or not the structure’s materials were deemed decorous. Cicero reminds Romans that the ideas and language of a speech must be appropriate to the subject matter, audience, and historical situation, and the forms and materials of a monument must meet similar criteria.90 White Greek marble could be appropriate for a manubial temple commemorating victories and triumphs over the Greek-speaking East, where it could serve both as a spoil of war and as a votive, stripped from newly conquered lands to offer to a Roman divinity. In Metellus’s Temple of Jupiter Stator and Mummius’s Temple of Hercules Victor, Greek marble served as spolia: an example of the booty that these generals displayed to augment their reputations. At the time Metellus and Mummius built their monuments, white marble was a traditionally Greek resource. The marble quarries at Luna were not yet open, and marble had to be imported to Rome from the Greek world, an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, though one made more feasible after Greece’s fall to Rome.91 Because Metellus’s temple does not survive, we cannot know what type of marble it employed, although some scholars believe it would have used Pentelic marble, like Mummius’s contemporary Round Temple.92 As Coarelli has observed, Metellus’s flamboyant use of marble in his temple signals the apex of the progressive cultural Hellenization of the city of Rome that had been initiated decades earlier.93
Regardless of the specific type of marble used, the Temple of Jupiter Stator exploited this Greek material as figurative, if not literal, spolia, as did the Round Temple.94 Scholars such as Maxwell L. Anderson, Rolf Michael Schneider, and Paul Zanker have recognized the later use of colored marbles as markers of Roman conquest. I would argue that white Greek marble, when it first appeared in Rome, would have carried this same connotation.95 Greek marble as a raw material was not stripped from works of architecture but from the subjugated land itself. Mummius’s use of Pentelic marble taken from conquered Greece made his temple a part of his extensive Corinthian spoils. Metellus’s choice of marble positioned his manubial temple as a spolium of his Macedonian conquest, consecrated to Jupiter Stator, along with the other spoils on display inside the porticus. This distinction is perhaps an important reason that Metellus did not rebuild the Temple of Juno Regina in marble. Because it did not fulfill a vow he had made on the battlefield, it was not his religious votive offering, but it was also not a spoil of his Macedonian conquest. Metellus might have wanted to demonstrate piety by restoring the older temple, and he might have wanted to align himself with the prestige of the Aemilii Lepidi, but it was nonetheless his piety, his prestige, and his booty that he wanted to emphasize above all.
In addition to serving as a metaphorical spoil of war in certain circumstances, marble could connote piety and emphasize the votive nature of a structure. In the third and second centuries, marble in triumphal architecture seems to have been reserved for temples; it was not used in other monument types such as columns, arches, and porticoes—none of which fulfilled vows to gods.96 The appearance of Rome’s early column monuments is not known, but nothing in the literary or material record suggests that these monuments employed marble.97 Rome’s earliest arches, which had no religious function, also seem to have been made of local stone.98 The earliest archaeological evidence for the material of an explicitly triumphal republican arch comes from the Fornix Fabianus in the Forum Romanum, built following Quintus Fabius Maximus Allobrogicus’s victory over the Celtic Allobrogi in 121 and his triumph the following year.99 The block from the Fornix Fabianus that was excavated in the nineteenth century is travertine, not marble.100 As for the Porticus Octavia and Porticus Metelli, neither was built of marble.
On the other hand, several victory temples built in the second century employed white marble. Temples built in marble (not just embellished with marble accents) include Metellus’s temple to Jupiter Stator, Mummius’s round temple to Hercules Victor, and the temple whose remains of Pentelic marble lie beneath San Salvatore in Campo. Excavations suggest that the Temple of Hercules Musarum, built by Marcus Fulvius Nobilior after his Ambracian triumph of 187, might have been faced partially in white marble.101 Even wars in regions without indigenous supplies of white marble could result in marble manubial temples, such as Decimus Iunius Brutus Callaicus’s temple to Mars in the Circus Flaminius, built after his victory and triumph over Spanish Gallaecia in 133.102 Callaicus’s manubial temple is usually identified with the temple under San Salvatore in Campo just mentioned above.103 It was a marble peripteral temple in Greek style, designed by the same Hermodorus of Salamis whom Metellus employed to design his temple to Jupiter Stator. Marble was not a spoil of war that Callaicus took from the Iberian Peninsula, but he still felt the material appropriate for his victory temple.
In triumphal architecture in second-century Rome, marble could signify the votive nature of monuments; it was therefore reserved as a building material, not simply ornament, for manubial temples. It is perhaps for this reason that the Senate was so perturbed by Flaccus’s use of the stolen roof tiles from the Temple of Hera at Croton. His use of marble, rather than symbolizing a pious offering to the gods, stood as an affront to the gods because it had been ignominiously stripped from Hera’s temple. Fabio Barry has recently argued that Romans in the republican and imperial periods prized white marble because they perceived its brilliance as an embodiment of radiant divinity.104 Barry is concerned with why white marble continued to be used for Roman temple exteriors long after colored marbles were widely available, but his observation helps explain why white marble appears first in manubial temples in Rome, not in other triumphal monuments. The uniquely radiant white of marble signified the religious nature of triumphal temples, each dedicated to a divinity of the Roman state, and could thus be eminently appropriate for these buildings—unless it had been taken from a god rather than a military enemy. In later historical circumstances, a patron could deem marble inappropriate for his manubial temple, not because it lacked connotations of piety but because the patron might have sought to embrace the indigenous Italian architectural practice of building with local stone. As we will see, this seems to have been the case with Catulus’s temple to Fortuna Huiusce Diei.
In a similar way, stucco could be appropriate for different functions at different times. In the case of the Porticus Metelli, the use of stucco emphasized the framing nature of the portico and highlighted the precious marble temple and Hellenistic statues displayed within it. From his Macedonian campaign, Metellus brought back a number of artworks to exhibit in his triumphal complex.105 The most famous and impressive was the turma Alexandri, the monument sculpted by Lysippos for Alexander the Great to commemorate the Battle of the Granikos.106 Giuliana Calcani reconstructs the Granikos monument as two groups of figures (thirteen in each group) on two bases, one in front of the façade of each temple inside the Porticus Metelli (Figure 10).107 The surging groups of mounted Macedonian warriors would have created a dramatic, dynamic display in front of the two temples.108 Fronted by the famed statue group of Alexander taken from the Sanctuary of Zeus at Dion, the Temple of Jupiter Stator stood as an additional and consummately impressive spoil from Metellus’s Macedonian victory.109 Surrounding it all stood the Porticus Metelli, its stuccoed surfaces accentuating the precious objects and monuments displayed within.
One might argue that Metellus sought to imitate Macedonian royal architecture in his eponymous porticus. Structures in Macedonia proper tended to be built in tuff or sun-dried brick covered in stucco rather than in marble.110 For example, painted or incised stucco appears in lieu of stone architectural elements at the Great Tomb at Lefkadia and at the palace at Vergina.111 But local stone covered in stucco was a traditionally Italian architectural material as well as a traditionally Macedonian one. It would not necessarily have registered to Rome’s inhabitants as a marker of Macedonian conquest. Marble, on the other hand, would have been conspicuous as a material hailing from the Greek East. The Porticus Metelli, with its stuccoed, Ionic colonnade that imitated marble architecture, attempted to be Greek in appearance rather than Macedonian, but it did not exploit Greek marble.112 Metellus built his monumental porticus in stuccoed peperino rather than in marble because he intended it neither as a religious offering nor as a spoil of war. More important, it served as a frame for the monuments inside it. While Boyd is incorrect that Metellus built only a porticus and not a temple, he sheds light on a fundamental motivation for the porticus when he argues that Metellus built it expressly to display the Granikos monument.113
Constructing the vast quadriporticus in marble might have resulted in a monument that competed with the new temple and the statues it contained rather than complementing them. It would not even have been a fair competition, as a marble building the size of the Porticus Metelli would have been the largest such structure at the time in republican Rome. The use of stucco covering the peperino gave the Porticus Metelli an appearance that would have recalled white marble, without replicating it, and that simultaneously would have preserved the distinct functions of the temple and porticus: votive and spoil on one hand, frame on the other.114 A portico finished in white stucco would not have competed visually, in terms of brilliance, with the marble temple or the shining bronze statue group of Lysippos. I imagine that Metellus and his architects also used paint to highlight the typological distinctions between the temple and the porticus. Unfortunately, very little is known about polychromy on Roman temples or porticoes. It is possible that the gleaming marble of the Temple of Jupiter Stator was highlighted with carefully placed painted decoration, but we cannot know definitively whether or not this was the case.115
At the Porticus Metelli, therefore, stucco highlighted the portico’s framing function and created a visually dramatic experience for the viewer moving from the stuccoed portico to the gleaming marble temple of Jupiter Stator. Similar meanings of these materials are not evident at Catulus’s Temple of Fortuna Huiusce Diei. Catulus’s use of stucco and his avoidance of the more recently introduced material of Greek marble seem instead to have been intended to align him with a perceived indigenous Italian identity from before the time when Rome’s second-century conquests flooded the city with Hellenistic luxury. It is doubtful that Rome had ever been able to claim a purely Italian identity; the city’s architectural development had always been entwined to varying degrees with Greek models.116 Nonetheless, Cato’s speeches railing against the corrosive effect of Hellenistic luxury on Roman values make it apparent why some Romans by the end of the second century might have wanted to reject luxurious Greek influences in architecture, such as marble, in favor of a notion of native Italian identity, however constructed or fictitious.117 Pierre Gros has suggested that Catulus’s choice of materials might have been part of a conscious cultural rejection of Hellenizing building techniques and materials after the Gracchan crisis, when, he argues, members of the ruling class centered their political ideology on respect for the mos maiorum (custom of the ancestors).118 Catulus intentionally combined materials in his temple to Fortuna Huiusce Diei to present an Italicizing, almost archaizing, face to the public, although he chose to use marble for the cult statue encased within the temple, perhaps for reasons of piety.
Materiality and the Shifting Meanings of Materials in Republican Rome
Michael Ann Holly has recently defined materiality as “the meeting of matter and imagination.”119 That is, materiality comprises not only the physical materials of a monument—the stone, stucco, wood, and so on—but also how visitors interpret the monument’s combined medium and message. Because materiality in republican Roman architecture existed in the minds and imaginations of individual viewers, it was inherently unstable. The individuals interacting with a given monument could construe its materiality in different ways.120 The meanings of materials in republican architecture fluctuated also because they relied on associations carried by the materials in diverse contexts and at different times. The significance of marble could change depending on whether it was used alone or was surrounded by contrasting materials. At the Temple of Fortuna Equestris, the marble tiles stripped from the Temple of Hera Lacinia at Croton would have had great visual impact because they contrasted with the temple’s other materials. The value of the marble roof tiles, from Flaccus’s perspective, was that they would literally and figuratively stand above the lesser materials with which he constructed the rest of this temple. A monument’s materiality was not finite and fixed because even if its physical materials remained unchanged, interpretations of those materials shifted constantly.
At the Porticus Metelli, the contrast between marble and local materials was expanded from a single building to a monumental complex. Here, the visual distinction between marble and stucco carried rich symbolic value distinguishing between votive temple and framing porticus. As Paola Ciancio Rossetto has observed, Metellus’s complex was innovative in terms of its scenographic effect; that is, it created a sort of theatrical scenery unprecedented in Roman architecture.121 Although examples of double temples inside a quadriporticus exist from the second century in Greece, Metellus’s complex is the first such example in Rome; it may even be the earliest example in Rome of a single temple inside a porticus.122 Metellus heightened the effect of this novel architectural type of the temple-porticus complex by exploiting the visual and allusive distinctions between marble and stucco. The Porticus Metelli was stage setting on a grand scale: a carefully designed complex that intensified the visual and emotional impact of Metellus’s monuments (Figure 11).
The difference in material between Metellus’s portico (and the older temple to Juno Regina) and his temple to Jupiter Stator would have been visually striking. Although the Porticus Metelli was covered in stucco, which may approximate the appearance of white marble, stucco cannot achieve the brilliant reflectivity of polished marble, which was often perceived in antiquity as having a slick, or “wet,” appearance.123 Vitruvius and Pliny describe the arduous process necessary to achieve the desired hardness and brightness with stucco. According to Pliny, “Stucco never possesses the required brilliance unless three coats of sand mortar and two of marble mortar are laid on.”124 Vitruvius goes even further, recommending a six-layer technique: “When the walls have been made solid with three coats of sand and also three of marble, they will not be subject to cracks or any other fault.”125 Only rarely have archaeologists discovered examples of attempts to meet the “Vitruvian ideal,” and even when such strict instructions were followed, marble and stucco do not look identical.126 Given their different appearances, one can visually distinguish between white marble and its stuccoed imitation (Figure 12).127
Although the marble ruins of ancient Rome are striking even today, they exhibit two millennia’s worth of weathering and pollution. Their appearance does not approach the monuments’ original fine finishes and reflective whiteness, perhaps augmented by oils and waxes, which would have glittered in comparison to the stuccoed tufa of surrounding buildings, particularly on sunny days.128 People approaching the Porticus Metelli from the Circus Flaminius would have first seen a façade of stuccoed peperino, making their ultimate sighting of the marble temple all the more visually exciting.129 Augustus surely exaggerated when he claimed to have transformed Rome from a city of bricks to a city of marble, but his famous boast nonetheless evokes how rare marble temples were in second-century Rome—and how remarkable the early examples must have looked.130
The Porticus Metelli could serve more prosaically as a backdrop to the everyday activities that occurred in the Circus Flaminius. But the novelty of the Porticus Metelli’s type (temples within a quadriporticus) and the perceptible and unexpected contrast between the stucco of the porticus and older temple and the marble of the Temple of Jupiter Stator invited aesthetic contemplation.131 As James I. Porter has written, art and architecture in the classical world “existed … in order to be sensed and experienced.” Porter also notes, “The fact remains that matter, sensation, and experience are inescapable elements of aesthetic experience which can never be quite dematerialized.”132
Catulus’s temple to Fortuna Huiusce Diei in the Area Sacra di Largo Argentina generated similar allusive and visual significance. The small amount of marble used on the temple’s exterior, for the acanthus frieze, materially differentiated the temple from Rome’s other Corinthian tholos—the Round Temple on the Tiber. Built at a time when Greek marble quarries were relatively easily accessible to Roman builders, the use of local materials in Catulus’s temple was a conscious choice probably not motivated by economic or practical concerns. At this time, marble was no longer a spoil of war, but it was available, and yet Catulus barely employed it in his temple.
The juxtaposition of travertine and stuccoed tufa in Catulus’s temple is as notable as the sparing use of marble. As described above, the steps, stylobate, and column bases and capitals of the Temple of Fortuna Huiusce Diei are all travertine. The travertine quarries at Tivoli opened during the second century, so Catulus’s builders would have had easy access to this stone.133 The temple could have had travertine column shafts, but they were built of Anio tufa coated in stucco. In this case, the use of stucco seems to have been intentional and value laden, and its presence is emphasized by the contiguous travertine. Catulus was perhaps attempting to link himself to the precedent set by his ancestor Quintus Lutatius Catulus, consul in 241, who dedicated a temple to Juturna after a naval victory against the Carthaginians during the First Punic War.134 This temple is generally identified as Temple A in the Area Sacra di Largo Argentina, and it appears to have sported stuccoed tufa columns.135 The visual emphasis on the stucco and travertine also participates in the constructed Italicizing cultural identity that Gros argues Catulus propagated.
Roman patrons and their architects seem to have appreciated how the juxtaposition of different materials could affect the meanings associated with those materials. Scholars often approach the different materials used in ancient building in isolation when discussing their metaphoric value: for example, the symbolism of white marble from Athens in late republican and imperial projects in Rome, such as Domitian’s use of Pentelic marble in his building program in Rome to underscore his Philhellenism and his special relationship to Minerva/Athena; or the significance of giallo antico and pavonazzetto marbles as markers of imperial victory.136 We should track the unstable meanings of individual materials and also recognize that the materiality of a Roman monument resulted from the totality of materials used, from their individual symbolism and aesthetic impact as well as their interplay and contrast. In Roman architecture, it is often the media, plural—not the medium, singular—that are the message.137
The concept of decorum requires that we consider audience reception in addition to patron intent. Anne Leen has pointed out that decorum as a concept existed only socially—that is, it resided in the reactions of members of society to the given object of judgment: a speech, a work of art, a house’s decoration, a monument.138 Audience reception would ultimately determine whether something was appropriate or not. While Romans viewed it as the patron’s responsibility, rather than the architect’s, to ensure a monument’s appropriateness, the ultimate judge of the patron’s success in attaining appropriateness was the public audience.139 Flaccus’s marble roof tiles could not be appropriate because a critical set of viewers—the Senate—saw them as transgressing decorum, not respecting it. While aristocratic competition motivated the creation of the monuments discussed here, their material innovations ultimately reflect consensus among Rome’s population regarding what was accepted and deemed appropriate.140
Because assessing the decorum of a Roman monument was a communal effort, requiring judgments from patron, architect, and those who saw the monument, the monument’s materiality comprised this interaction among the patron’s intent, the monument itself, and the monument’s audience. The audiences that viewed monuments in Rome transformed over time, bringing changes in the monuments’ materiality and the ways the monuments were read. The valences of the Round Temple’s marble and the Porticus Metelli’s marble and stucco probably varied as Rome’s Achaean and Macedonian victories faded from memory among the population. For Romans alive when Catulus built his temple to Fortuna Huiusce Diei around 100, nearly half a century after Greece and Macedonia had become Roman provinces, Greek marble might have carried less cultural prestige because it had become more easily available. The original meanings of the marble of Metellus’s Temple of Jupiter Stator and Mummius’s Temple of Hercules Victor, quite powerful when the temples were initially built, might have faded, while the connotations of piety might have remained. Materials that violated decorum for temples in the second century could come to be appropriate later. For example, Pliny the Elder reports that Sulla took marble columns from the Olympieion in Athens after he sacked the Greek city in 86 and reused them in the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline.141 There is debate about whether Sulla brought Corinthian columns from the Olympieion’s peristyle to use on the Capitoline temple’s façade or actually took smaller columns of colored marble from the Olympieion’s cella to use in various temples on the Capitoline.142 In either case, Sulla took marble elements from a Greek sanctuary and used them to decorate temples in Rome. The use of marble stripped from a foreign sanctuary, an act that had galled the Senate in Flaccus’s case, seems to have occurred without controversy, perhaps because Sulla’s sack of Athens was part of a military campaign or because marble taken from a sanctuary had come to have a different meaning within Roman notions of decorum.
Understanding the materiality of Roman architecture demands a holistic approach, a recognition that materiality does not lie just in the generalized meaning of any one material but results from the interplay among the totality of materials used, the form and function of the monument, and the changing political, social, and religious values of the audiences who viewed it. For example, the topographical and ideological milieu of the Porticus Metelli and the Round Temple (manubial monuments on the triumphal route) informed the meanings of these monuments’ materials, associating the use of marble with votive offerings and spoils of war. The same topographical and ideological milieu condemned Flaccus’s use of marble as entirely undecorous, for his marble tiles were not legitimate spoils of war.
The case studies considered here raise questions about what motivated choices of materials in republican architecture. Practical motivations such as money and time are appropriate for examination, but too great an emphasis on economics, consumption, exchange, and monetary valuation of materials can elide the rich conceptual and imaginative potential of the monuments’ materials.143 The concept of decorum suggests that motivations other than money, time, and utilitarian function were equally or more important. Catulus did not build his temple in travertine and stuccoed tufa because he could not obtain marble. Rather, I would argue, he built in those materials because they most appropriately conveyed his ancestral links and the projection of an Italicizing identity. It is my contention that Metellus was not motivated to build his temple in marble and his portico in stuccoed peperino solely by considerations of time and money; he believed that those materials could best communicate his monument’s complicated messages of piety, individual glorification, triumph, and conquest. Metellus’s choice to use this innovative combination of materials may have been driven in part by the magnitude of his victory, which finally transformed Macedon, the storied homeland of Alexander the Great, into a Roman province. Lucius Aemilius Paullus had previously conquered the Macedonian king Perseus at the Battle of Pydna, a feat for which he celebrated a magnificent, multiday triumphal procession.144 He had not, however, built any correspondingly grand triumphal monuments in Rome. At the moment when Metellus defeated Andriscus and finally subdued Macedon, Rome’s Macedonian exploits had yet to be appropriately commemorated architecturally in Rome, other than with the Porticus Octavia. Filling this void, Metellus erected a complex that fit the monumental stature of Rome’s conquest.145 We risk missing the manifold motivations behind the choices of materials in Roman architecture if we ascribe these choices by default to considerations of time and money.
By asking why certain materials were used in given monuments and not others, we might reconsider some conundrums posed by ancient architecture and sculptural display. At particular Hellenistic and Roman sites, why were magnificent sculptures displayed in comparatively shoddy architectural settings? The Nike of Samothrace, one of the masterpieces of Hellenistic marble sculpture, was originally displayed in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods at Samothrace in an architectural niche made of ashlar masonry (Figures 13 and 14). This humble precinct of local stone—a far cry from the statue’s current setting atop the grand Daru staircase in the Louvre—is a rather puzzling setting for the exquisite Nike.146 Although a Hellenistic site, Samothrace was frequented by Romans from as early as the third century, and the Nike itself might have been a Roman dedication and thus subject to Roman ideals of decorum.147 Similarly, the group of extremely high-quality bronze imperial statues thought to come from Boubon in Turkey would have been displayed in a Sebasteion (imperial cult building) of decidedly modest proportions constructed of local, ashlar masonry.148 The low quality of the Sebasteion at Boubon has, in fact, led some scholars to argue that the bronze statues could not have come from this site, despite extensive epigraphic evidence suggesting that they originate from Boubon.149 Both the Nike of Samothrace and the bronze portrait statues from Boubon would have been expensive; it is difficult to believe that money was the factor impeding finer architectural surrounds for them. In the future, we might examine why the patrons who erected these statues felt it appropriate to display them in relatively unassuming architectural frames. It seems possible that humble materials were chosen for these architectural precincts not for economic reasons but rather because they would frame the enclosed marble and bronze statues in a way that would allow the statues to shine more brilliantly. As the Roman republican monuments considered here demonstrate, materiality in classical architecture could be semantically rich, varied, and complex, constituting an intricate and continually shifting web of meanings not always obvious to the modern viewer.
I presented initial research for this article at the 2013 conference of the Universities Art Association of Canada, at a session titled “Materiality before Modernity.” I am grateful to the session’s organizers, Mailan Doquang and Anne Hrychuk Kontokosta, and to those in attendance for their helpful comments. Anne Hrychuk Kontokosta, Katherine Welch, and Nathaniel Jones read earlier drafts of the manuscript and offered insightful advice; I thank them all. Finally, I thank the anonymous reviewer and Pat Morton for many helpful suggestions. I take full responsibility for the article’s contents.
All dates are BCE unless otherwise noted. Titles of ancient works are abbreviated following the conventions of Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, eds., The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd ed. rev. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), xxix–liv; translations are adapted from the Loeb Classical Library unless otherwise noted.
See, for instance, J. Clayton Fant, Cavum Antum Phrygiae: The Organization and Operations of the Roman Imperial Marble Quarries in Phrygia (Oxford: B.A.R., 1989); J. Clayton Fant, “Quarrying and Stoneworking,” in The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World, ed. John Peter Oleson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 121–35; J. Clayton Fant, “Contracts and Costs for Shipping Marble in the Roman Empire,” in Interdisciplinary Studies on Ancient Stone: Proceedings of the IX Association for the Study of Marbles and Other Stones in Antiquity (ASMOSIA) Conference (Tarragona 2009), ed. Anna Gutiérrez Garcia-Moreno, Pilar Lapuente Mercadal, and Isabel Rodà de Llanza (Tarragona, Spain: Institut Català d’Arqueologia Clàssica, 2012), 528–32; J. B. Ward-Perkins, Marble in Antiquity: Collected Papers of J. B. Ward-Perkins, ed. Hazel Dodge and Bryan Ward-Perkins (London: British School at Rome, 1992); Paolo Barresi, “Il ruolo delle colonne nel costo degli edifici pubblici,” in I marmi colorati della Roma imperiale, ed. Marilda De Nuccio and Lucrezia Ungaro (Venice: Marsilio, 2002), 69–81; Seth G. Bernard, “Pentelic Marble in Architecture at Rome and the Republican Marble Trade,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 23 (2010), 35–54. On Diocletian’s Price Edict, see Marta Giacchero, Edictum Diocletiani et collegarum de pretiis rerum venalium: In integrum fere restitutum e latinis graecisque fragmentis (Genoa: Istituto di Storia Antica e Scienze Ausiliarie, 1974).
See Maxwell L. Anderson, “Colored Marble Sculpture in Roman Antiquity,” in Radiance in Stone: Sculptures in Colored Marble from the Museo Nazionale, ed. Maxwell L. Anderson and Leila Nista (Rome: De Luca, 1989), 13; Rolf Michael Schneider, “Nuove immagini del potere romano: Sculture in marmo colorato nell’impero romano,” in De Nuccio and Ungaro, I marmi colorati della Roma imperiale, 83.
On innovation in triumphal building in the third and second centuries, see Maggie L. Popkin, The Architecture of the Roman Triumph: Monuments, Memory, and Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
On the Roman triumph, see Mary Beard, The Roman Triumph (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007); Ida Östenberg, Staging the World: Spoils, Captives, and Representations in the Roman Triumphal Procession (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). Both of these books also provide useful bibliographies.
On manubiae, see Israel Shatzman, “The Roman General’s Authority over Booty,” Historia: Zeitschrift für alte Geschichte 21 (1972), 177–205; Eric M. Orlin, Temples, Religion, and Politics in the Roman Republic (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 116–21; J. Bradford Churchill, “Ex qua quod vellent facerent: Roman Magistrates’ Authority over Praeda and Manubiae,” Transactions of the American Philological Association 129 (1999), 85–116. On manubial temples, see Leena Pietilä-Castrén, Magnificentia Publica: The Victory Monuments of the Roman Generals in the Era of the Punic Wars (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1987); Adam Ziolkowski, The Temples of Mid-Republican Rome and Their Historical and Topographical Context (Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 1992); Michel Aberson, Temples votifs et butin de guerre dans la Rome républicaine (Rome: Institut Suisse de Rome, 1994); Orlin, Temples, Religion, and Politics. See Pietilä-Castrén, Magnificentia Publica, also on triumphal monuments other than temples.
The path of the triumphal route in Rome is a vexed question. See, for example, Beard, Roman Triumph, 92–106; T. P. Wiseman, “Three Notes on the Triumphal Route,” in Res bene gestae: Ricerche di storia urbana su Roma antica in onore di Eva Margareta Steinby, ed. Anna Leone, Domenico Palombi, and Susan Walker (Rome: Quasar, 2007), 445–49; T. P. Wiseman, “Review of Mary Beard, The Roman Triumph,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 21 (2008), 389–91. There were, however, certain spaces, or “nodes,” connected with the triumph; see Diane Favro, “The Street Triumphant: The Urban Impact of Roman Triumphal Parades,” in Streets: Critical Perspectives on Public Space, ed. Zeynep Çelik, Diane Favro, and Richard Ingersoll (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 151–64; Eugenio La Rocca, “La processione trionfale come spettacolo per il popolo romano: Trionfi antichi, spettacoli moderni,” in Trionfi romani, ed. Eugenio La Rocca and Stefano Tortorella (Milan: Electa, 2008), 34–55; Popkin, Architecture of the Roman Triumph.
On Flaccus’s vow in battle against the Celtiberi in Spain, see Liv. 40.40.10. On the triumph, see Liv. 40.43.6–7. On the dedication, see Liv. 42.10.5.
Vitr. De arch. 3.3.2. Compare Obesq. 16.
Silvio Panciera, “Ancora sull’iscrizione di Cornelius Surus Magister Scribarum Poetarum,” Bullettino della Commissione archeologica Comunale di Roma 91 (1986), 35–44.
Filippo Coarelli, “Fortuna Equestris, aedes,” in Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 6 vols., ed. Eva Margareta Steinby (Rome: Quasar, 1993–2000), 2:268–69; Filippo Coarelli, Il Campo Marzio: Dalle origini alla fine della Repubblica (Rome: Quasar, 1997), 268–75.
Tac. Ann. 3.71.
Vitr. De arch. 3.3.2.
Liv. 42.3; Val. Max. 1.1.20.
Liv. 42.3.4–11; Val. Max. 1.1.20.
On the temple to Juno Regina, see Obseq. 27. On the display of triumphal spoils in and on monuments in Rome, see Polyb. 9.10.13; Liv. 9.40.16, 10.46.4, 8; Plut. Luc. 37.2, Pomp. 36.6; Cass. Dio 51.22.1–3; Flor. Epit. 1.22.23. On the Temple of Hercules Musarum, see Plin. HN 35.36.66. On the Temple of Felicitas, see Strabo 8.6.23; Cic. Verr. 2.4.126. See Magrit Pape, “Griechische Kunstwerke aus Kriegsbeute und ihre öffentliche Aufstellung in Rom: von der Eroberung von Syrakus bis in augusteische Zeit” (PhD diss., Universität Hamburg, 1975), esp. 41–52.
Vell. Pat. 1.11.1–3; Val. Max. 7.5.4.
On the original vow, see Zonar. 9.28. On the fulfillment of the vow, see Flor. Epit. 1.30.5; Eutr. 4.13.
On the Porticus Metelli, see Vell. Pat. 1.11.3–5. On the Temple of Jupiter Stator and its location inside the Porticus Metelli, see Festus 496 L; Plin. HN 36.40; Macrob. Sat. 3.4.2; Vitr. De arch. 3.2.5; see also CIL 6.8708. Coarelli suggests that Metellus restored the Temple of Juno Regina, which was possibly damaged by fire in 156 (see Obseq. 16). Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 488. Richard D. Weigel believes that Metellus simply enclosed Lepidus’s Temple of Juno Regina in his eponymous portico. Richard D. Weigel, “The Duplication of Temples of Juno Regina in Rome,” Ancient Society 13–14 (1982), 190. On Metellus, see Friedrich Münzer, “Caecilius,” no. 94, in Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. August Friedrich von Pauly and Georg Wissowa (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 1897), 3.1:1214–16; Richard J. Evans, “Q. Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus,” Acta Classica 29 (1986), 99–103.
On the vow, see Liv. 39.2.11. On the dedication, see Liv. 40.52.1–4.
On the Marble Plan, see, for example, Gianfilippo Carettoni et al., La pianta marmorea di Roma antica: Forma Urbis Romae, 2 vols. (Rome: Danesi, 1960); Emilio Rodríguez Almeida, Formae urbis antiquae: Le mappe marmoree di Roma tra la Repubblica e Settimio Severo (Rome: École française de Rome, 2002), 67–76.
Liv. Epit. 138; Vell. Pat. 1.11.3; Plin. HN 36.42; Suet. Aug. 29; Cass. Dio 49.43.8.
Anna Maria Palchetti and Lorenzo Quilici, “Il Tempio di Gionone Regina nel Portico d’Ottavia,” Quaderni dell’Istituto di topografia antica della Università di Roma 5 (1968), 77–88.
Vell. Pat. 1.11.5; M. Gwyn Morgan, “The Portico of Metellus: A Reconsideration,” Hermes: Zeitschrift für klassische Philologie 99 (1971), 485.
Hans Lauter, “Porticus Metelli, Porticus Octaviae: Die baublichen Reste,” Bullettino della Commissione archeologica Comunale di Roma 87 (1980–81), 38; Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 488. Compare Weigel’s argument that Metellus enclosed Lepidus’s temple in his eponymous portico without restoring it. Weigel, “Duplication of Temples,” 190.
Morgan, “Portico of Metellus,” 486.
On the Porticus Philippi surrounding the Temple of Hercules Musarum, see Ov. Fast. 6.799–812; see also Plin. HN 35.66; Suet. Aug. 29.5. Compare L. Richardson jr., “Hercules Musarum and the Porticus Philippi in Rome,” American Journal of Archaeology 81 (1977), 355–61. On the Porticus Octavia surrounding the Temple of Neptune, see John R. Senseney, “Adrift toward Empire: The Lost Porticus Octavia in Rome and the Origins of the Imperial Fora,” JSAH 70, no. 4 (2011), 421–41.
On the fire, see Obseq. 16; see also Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 488.
Corey Brennan, personal communication, Aug. 2013. L. Richardson jr., in his discussion of the Porticus Octavia in the Circus Flaminius, notes similarly that Cn. Octavius might have wanted to align himself with Aemilius Lepidus, “the most brilliant member of an old and distinguished family, rich in offices and honors.” L. Richardson jr., “The Evolution of the Porticus Octaviae,” American Journal of Archaeology 80 (1976), 60–61.
M. J. Boyd, “The Porticoes of Metellus and Octavia and Their Two Temples,” Papers of the British School at Rome 21 (1953), 152–59; Richardson, “Evolution of the Porticus Octaviae,” 61.
Morgan, “Portico of Metellus,” 481–83. See also Pierre Gros, “Hermodorus et Vitruve,” Mélanges de l’École française de Rome, Antiquité 85 (1973), 138, 156–57.
Richardson’s argument that Metellus built a triple-sided portico to complete the Porticus Octavia is not persuasive. He does not account for his location of the Porticus Octavia in front of the Temple of Hercules Musarum and Juno Regina, nor is it ever clear how, if Metellus completed Octavius’s portico, he managed to enclose the temples to Juno Regina and Jupiter Stator rather than the temples to Juno Regina and Hercules Musarum. Richardson, “Evolution of the Porticus Octaviae,” 60–61. Current opinion (espoused by the archaeologist responsible for the most recent excavations of the monument) holds that the Porticus Metelli was a full quadriporticus: Paola Ciancio Rossetto, “Portico d’Ottavia: Scavi, restauri, valorizzazioni,” in Arch.it.arch: Dialoghi ei archeologia e architettura—Seminari 2005–2006 (Rome: Quasar, 2009), 64.
See, for example, Otto Hiltbrunner, “Der Tempel der Porticus Metelli und ihr Stifter,” Boreas: Münstersche Beiträge zur Archäologie 5 (1982), 88; Giuliana Calcani, Cavalieri di bronzo: La torma di Alessandro opera di Lisippo (Rome: “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, 1989), 25.
Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 489. Gros also argues for a date shortly after 146. Gros, “Hermodorus et Vitruve,” 139.
The Temple of Juno Sospita in the Forum Holitorium was vowed in 197 and dedicated in 194 (Liv. 32.30.10, 34.53.3), the Temple of Victoria Virgo on the Palatine was vowed in 195 and dedicated in 193 (Liv. 35.9.6), and the Temple of Venus Erycina by the Porta Collina was vowed and dedicated in 181 (Liv. 40.34.4, 30.38.10).
Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 529.
On the triumphal route and its controversies, see note 7, above.
See Plin. HN 36.4.40; Vitr. De arch. 3.2.5; Macrob. Sat. 3.4.2; Vell. Pat. 1.11.5.
Vell. Pat. 1.11.5.
Vitr. De arch. 3.2.5. Pierre Gros suspects that Hermodorus employed a group of Eastern Greek marmorarii to construct the temple. Pierre Gros, “Les premières générations d’architectes hellénistiques à Rome,” in Mélanges offerts à Jacques Heurgon: L’Italie préromaine et la Rome républicaine (Rome: École française de Rome, 1976), 396–97.
See John W. Stamper, The Architecture of Roman Temples: The Republic to the Middle Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 54.
Alessandro Viscogliosi, “Iuppiter Stator, aedes ad Circum,” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 3:159.
Vitr. De arch. 3.2.5. See Gros, “Hermodorus et Vitruve”; Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 489–90; Stamper, Architecture of Roman Temples, 54.
Vitr. De arch. 3.2.5. See Gros, “Premières générations,” 395–96; Stamper, Architecture of Roman Temples, 395–96.
Paola Ciancio Rossetto, “Indagini e restauri nel Campo Marzio meridionale: Teatro di Marcello, Portico d’Ottavia, Circo Flaminio, Porto Tiberino,” in Archeologia laziale XII: Dodicesimo incontro di studio del Comitato per l’archeologia laziale, ed. Stefania Quilici Gigli (Rome: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 1995), 96; Ciancio Rossetto, “Portico d’Ottavia,” 65.
Ciancio Rossetto, “Indagini e restauri,” 96; Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 536; Ciancio Rossetto, “Portico d’Ottavia,” 64. See also Roberto Giustini, “Porticus Metelli: Nuove acquisizioni,” Bollettino di Archeologia 4 (1990), 71. On the Porticus Metelli’s dimensions, see Senseney, “Adrift toward Empire,” 425. The peperino columns visible in front of the restaurants in Via del Portico d’Ottavia do not belong to the Porticus Metelli.
Ciancio Rossetto, “Portico d’Ottavia,” 65.
Lauter, “Porticus Metelli,” 42 and pl. VII.1.
Boyd, “Porticoes of Metellus and Octavia.” Richardson contends that Metellus intended his portico to be Greek in material, which implies the use of marble, but he does not state this explicitly. Richardson, “Evolution of the Porticus Octaviae,” 61.
Morgan, “Portico of Metellus,” 485, 505. In regard to the marble revetment, Morgan follows Giuseppe Lugli, Roma antica: Il centro monumentale (Rome: G. Bardi, 1946), 565.
Lauter, “Porticus Metelli,” 42.
Alessandro D’Alessio has suggested that Metellus’s impatience to exhibit his Macedonian booty to the public as quickly as possible (for electoral benefits) motivated him to build the portico in peperino. Alessandro D’Alessio, “Fascino greco e ‘attualità’ romana: La conquista di una nuova architettura,” in I giorni di Roma: L’età della conquista, ed. Eugenio La Rocca and Claudio Parisi Presicce (Milan: Skira, 2010), 59.
See Gros, “Premières générations,” 393.
It is possible that travertine would have been an option for Metellus’s portico, as the travertine quarries were opened at Tivoli sometime in the second century. However, travertine does not appear as a commonly used material in Roman monuments until the first century. See Frank Sear, Roman Architecture (London: Routledge, 1988), 83. If travertine, which is hard like marble but matte like stucco, had been available to Metellus, this might suggest even more strongly that his choice of stucco was deliberate.
Liv. 45.42.2–3; Diod. Sic. 31.8.10; RG 4.19; Vell. Pat. 1.9.5, 2.1.2; Plin. HN 34.13; Festus 188 L.; Björn Olinder, Porticus Octavia in Circo Flaminio: Topographical Studies in the Campus Region of Rome (Stockholm: Svenska institutet i Rom, 1974); Richardson, “Evolution of the Porticus Octaviae”; T. P. Wiseman, review of Porticus Octavia, by Björn Olinder, Journal of Roman Studies 66 (1976), 246–47; Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 518–20; Alessandro Viscogliosi, “Porticus Octaviae,” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 4:141–45.
Plin. HN 34.13.
Vell. Pat. 2.1.2. On the first manubial porticus, see Richardson, “Evolution of the Porticus Octaviae,” 57. Whether the Porticus Octavia was a single, unidirectional stoa or a portico with three or four arms is debated. See Fausto Zevi, “L’identificazione del tempio di Marte in Circo e altre osservazioni,” in Mélanges offerts à Jacques Heurgon, 1047–64; Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 519–20.
Plin. HN 34.13.
See Gros, “Premières générations,” 391–92; David Scahill, “The Origins of the Corinthian Capital,” in Structure, Image, Ornament: Architectural Sculpture in the Greek World: Proceedings of an International Conference Held at the American School of Classical Studies, 27–28 November 2004, ed. Peter Schultz and Ralf von den Hoff (Oxford: Oxbow, 2009), 40–53; Seth G. Bernard, “The Two-Piece Corinthian Capital and the Working Practice of Greek and Roman Masons,” in Masons at Work, ed. Robert Ousterhout, Renata Holod, and Lothar Haselberger (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 2012), 13, http://www.sas.upenn.edu/ancient/masons/Bernard-Corinthian_Captials.pdf (accessed 10 Mar. 2014).
See Bernard, “Two-Piece Corinthian Capital,” 13.
Vell. Pat. 1.11.5; also 1.11.6–7. See also Morgan, “Portico of Metellus,” 496n7.
Vitruvius makes a similar observation about the patron of the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos, who, he writes, chose to build the monument’s walls in plastered brick even though he was “exceedingly rich” and not “restrained by economy.” Vitr. De arch. 2.8.10.
CIL 1.626 = CIL 6.331. Regarding the victory, see Liv. Per. 52; Flor. Epit. 1.32.4–6; Paus. 7.16. Domenico Palombi argues that the inscription probably derives from one of the tabulae triumphales exhibited during Mummius’s triumphal procession. Domenico Palombi, “Hercules Victor, aedes et signum,” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 3:23–25.
Macr. Sat. 3.6.10; Serv. Aen. 8.363; Adam Ziolkowski, “Mummius’ Temple of Hercules Victor and the Round Temple on the Tiber,” Phoenix: The Classical Association of Canada 42 (1988), 309–33.
On Hercules Olivarius, see Pietilä-Castrén, Magnificentia Publica, 143–44; Filippo Coarelli, Il Foro Boario:Dalle origini alla fine della Repubblica (Rome: Quasar, 1988), 95–98, 180–204; Filippo Coarelli, “Hercules Olivarius,” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 3:19–20; Paola Chini, “Il cosidetto tempio rotondo,” Forma Urbis 10, no. 12 (2005), 33. For the inscribed statue base, see CIL 6.33936. Regarding presumptions about a cult statue, see Filippo Coarelli, “Testi preliminari,” Dialoghi di archeologia 4–5 (1970), 179–81; Coarelli, Il Foro Boario, 180–204; Chini, “Il cosidetto tempio rotondo,” 32. On the unpersuasiveness of these presumptions, see Ziolkowski “Mummius’ Temple,” 321, 326–27. Åke Fridh notes that the Caelian inscription was reused as building material; it could have been transported from elsewhere in the city. Åke Fridh, “Aedes Aemiliana Herculis, Myth or Reality? A Note on Festus p. 282, 19 Lindsay,” in Munuscula Romana: Papers Read at a Conference in Lund (October 1–2, 1988) in Celebration of the Re-opening of the Swedish Institute in Rome, ed. Anne-Marie Leander Touati, Eva Rystedt, and Örjan Wikander (Stockholm: Svenska Institutet i Rom, 1991), 84n10. On the likelihood of an individual statue monument, see Ziolkowski, “Mummius’ Temple,” 323. Cinzia Conti, Maria Grazia Filetici, and E. Gatti propose that the epithet “Olivarius” derives from a statue dedicated to Hercules in the temple by Octavius Herennus. Cinzia Conti, Maria Grazia Filetici, and E. Gatti, “Il tempio rotondo detto di Vesta nel Foro Boario: I restauri in corso,” Bollettino della Unione Storia ed Arte 32 (1989), 21.
Ziolkowski, “Mummius’ Temple,” 316; David E. Strong and J. B. Ward-Perkins, “The Round Temple in the Forum Boarium,” Papers of the British School at Rome 28 (1960), 26–31.
Mark Wilson Jones, Principles of Roman Architecture (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003), 238n16.
Ziolkowski, “Mummius’ Temple,” 316; Strong and Ward-Perkins, “Round Temple,” 26–31. Coarelli admits that we cannot exclude a date between 146 and 142. Coarelli, Il Foro Boario, 185. In an earlier work, Coarelli even dates the Round Temple to ca. 130. Filippo Coarelli, “Public Building in Rome between the Second Punic War and Sulla,” Papers of the British School at Rome 45 (1977), 8. Scholars increasingly argue that the Hekateion at Lagina dates to the second century: see Peter Baumeister, Der Fries des Hekateions von Lagina: Neue Untersuchungen zu Monument und Kontext (Istanbul: Ege Yayınları, 2007), 11–33; Riet van Bremen, “The Inscribed Documents on the Temple of Hekate at Lagina and the Date and Meaning of the Temple Frieze,” in Hellenistic Karia: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Hellenistic Karia—Oxford, 29 June–2 July 2006, edited by Riet van Bremen and Jan-Mathieu Carbon (Bordeaux: De Boccard, 2010), esp. 502; Christina G. Williamson, “Sanctuaries as Turning Points in Territorial Formation: Lagina, Panamara and the Development of Stratonikeia,” in Manifestationen von Macht und Hierarchien in Stadtraum und Landschaft: Wissenschaftliches Netzwerk der Abteilung Istanbul im Rahmen des Forschungsclusters 3 “Politische Räume” des Deutschen Archäologischen Institut, edited by Felix Pirson (Istanbul: Ege Yayınları, 2012), 117.
Plin. HN 17.1.6; Friedrich Rakob and Wolf-Dieter Heilmeyer, Der Rundtempel am Tiber in Rom (Mainz: von Zabern, 1973), 23–28. On the idea that Pliny is mistaken, see Ziolkowski, “Mummius’ Temple,” 315.
On the so-called aedes Aemiliana, see Festus 282 L and possibly Liv. 10.23.3; Plin. HN 35.19; and Plut. Prae. ger. reip. 20.4. See also Coarelli, Il Foro Boario, 84–92; Pietilä-Castrén, Magnificentia Publica, 136–37; Ziolkowski, “Mummius’ Temple,” 314; Filippo Coarelli, “Hercules, aedes Aemiliana,” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 3:11–12.
Ziolkowski, “Mummius’ Temple,” 327–29. The literature on aristocratic competition in republican Rome is vast; that the phenomenon existed and was critical to the sociopolitical functioning of the Republic is widely accepted. See Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp, Die Entstehung der Nobilität: Studien zur sozialen und politischen Geschichte der römischen Republik im 4. Jhdt. v. Chr. (Stuttgart: F. Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden, 1987); Nathan Stewart Rosenstein, Imperatores Victi: Military Defeat and Aristocratic Competition in the Middle and Late Republic (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp, Senatus Populusque Romanus: Die politische Kultur der Republik: Dimensionen und Deutungen (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 2004).
Ziolkowski, “Mummius’ Temple,” 314; Chini, “Il cosidetto tempio rotondo,” 33; D’Alessio, “Fascino greco,” 54. The most thorough archaeological description of the Round Temple remains Rakob and Heilmeyer, Der Rundtempel.
On the Hieron, see Phyllis Williams Lehmann, Martin R. Jones, and Karl Lehmann, Samothrace: Excavations Conducted by the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, vol. 3, The Hieron (New York: Pantheon Books, 1969). See Strong and Ward-Perkins, “The Round Temple,” 31–32.
For example, see Polyb. 39.2.1–2; Vell. Pat. 1.13.4. On how ancient authors portray Mummius, see Erich S. Gruen, Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992), 123–28.
Plut. Mar. 26.3.
Atilius Degrassi, ed., Inscriptiones Italiae (Rome: Libreria dello Stato, 1963), 13.2:178–79; Varr. Rust. 3.5.12.
Pierre Boyancé, “Aedes Catuli,” Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire de l’École française de Rome 57 (1940), 64–71; Pierre Gros, “Fortuna Huiusce Diei, aedes,” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 2:269–70.
Filippo Coarelli, L’Area Sacra di Largo Argentina (Rome: Poliglotta Vaticana, 1981), 1:19–20. See pl. V.2 for the marble frieze.
Palazzo dei Conservatori, Braccio Nuovo inv. no. 2279–2782.
Ellen Perry, The Aesthetics of Emulation in the Visual Arts of Ancient Rome (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 31.
For example, see Cic. Off. 1.93–99, 122, 126, 134.
Perry, Aesthetics of Emulation, 37.
Ellen E. Perry, “Rhetoric, Literary Criticism, and the Roman Aesthetics of Artistic Imitation,” in The Ancient Art of Emulation: Studies in Artistic Originality and Tradition from the Present to Classical Antiquity, ed. Elaine K. Gazda (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002), 153–71; Perry, Aesthetics of Emulation; Anne Leen, “Cicero and the Rhetoric of Art,” American Journal of Philology 112 (1991), 229–45; Eugene Dwyer, “Decorum and the History of Style in Pompeian Sculpture,” Studia Pompeiana and Classica in Honor of Wilhelmina F. Jashemski, ed. Robert I. Curtis (New Rochelle, N.Y.: A. D. Caratzas, 1988), 1:105–11.
Perry, Aesthetics of Emulation, 32.
Vitr. De arch. 1.2.5, translation by Morris Hicky Morgan from Vitruvius, Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture (New York: Dover, 1960), 14–15.
Perry, Aesthetics of Emulation, 37.
Ibid., 49; see also ibid., 50–77. Compare Dwyer, “Decorum and the History of Style,” 106.
Cic. Orat. 70–74; see Perry, Aesthetics of Emulation, 36.
See Gros, “Premières générations,” 393.
Bernard, “Pentelic Marble,” 36, 46.
Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 491–92. See also D’Alessio, “Fascino greco,” 54.
See Mark Bradley, “Colour and Marble in Early Imperial Rome,” Cambridge Classical Journal 52 (2006), 2.
Schneider, “Nuove immagini,” 83; Anderson, “Colored Marble Sculpture,” 13; Paul Zanker, “By the Emperor, for the People: ‘Popular’ Architecture in Rome,” in The Emperor and Rome: Space, Representation, and Ritual, ed. Björn C. Ewald and Carlos F. Noreña (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 81 (on the imperial period). On the Hellenistic ideological valences and the prestige that Roman aristocrats derived from using white marble and colored stones, see Patrizio Pensabene, “Il fenomeno del marmo nel mondo romano,” in De Nuccio and Ungaro, I marmi colorati della Roma imperiale, 3.
Anne Hrychuk Kontokosta emphasizes this distinction in “Reconsidering the Arches (Fornices) of the Roman Republic,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 26 (2013), 7–35.
On republican honorific columns in general, see Erik Welin, Studien zur Topographie des Forum Romanum (Lund: Gleerup, 1953), 130–74. The column dedicated by Gaius Duilius in 260 in the Forum Romanum (Plin. HN 34.11.20; Quint. Inst. 1.7.12, 6.663ff.; Serv. Georg. 8.29) is sometimes thought to have been marble, based on a passage in Silius Italicus (Pun. 6.663–64). However, Silius describes the column only as white (nivea), not as marble, so it was likely stuccoed.
Anne Hrychuk, “From Fornix to Arcus: The Origins, Development and Imperial Transformation of the Freestanding Roman Arch (196 BCE to 54 CE)” (PhD diss., New York University, 2010), 98; Hrychuk Kontokosta, “Reconsidering the Arches.” When Livy describes the arch of Scipio Africanus on the Capitoline, he notes its bronze attic statuary and the two marble basins in front of the arch. Liv. 37.3.7. Livy is clearly interested in mentioning the noteworthy, precious materials that appeared in this arch; that he attributes no such material to the body of the monument is telling.
Ps.-Ascon. Verr. p. 133; II 13.1, 560.
Laura Chioffi, “Fornix Fabianus,” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 2:264–66; Hrychuk, “From Fornix to Arcus,” 158. The earliest archaeologically attested use of marble on a Roman fornix is the inscribed plaques of Parian marble, dated by their inscriptions to 57, from the reconstruction in that year of the Fornix Fabianus. Hrychuk, “From Fornix to Arcus,” 157.
Ernesto Iezzi, “Aedes Herculis Musarum et Porticus Philippi,” Bollettino della Unione Storia ed Arte 27 (1984), 120–29. That the temple would have been, at most, partially revetted in marble would explain why Velleius deemed Metellus’s Temple of Jupiter Stator Rome’s first marble temple.
Val. Max. 8.14.2. A fragment of Cornelius Nepos (Prisc. Inst. 8.17.4 = Nep. Frg. 26 Peter) locates the temple in Circus Flaminius and gives the architect as Hermodorus of Salamis.
On Callaicus’s temple to Mars, see Zevi, “L’identificazione del tempio”; Fausto Zevi, “Mars in Circo,” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 3:226–29; Edoardo Tortorici, “Il tempio presso S. Salvatore in Campo: V. Vespignani ed Ermodoro di Salamina,” in Topografia romana: Ricerche e discussioni (Florence: L. S. Olschki, 1988), 59–75; Emilio Rodríguez Almeida, “Diversi problemi connessi con la lastra n. 37 della Forma Urbis Marmorea e con la topografia in Circo e in Campo,” Atti della Pontificia Accademia romana di archeologia: Rendiconti 64 (1991–92), 3–26; Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 495–96; Bernard, “Pentelic Marble,” 36; D’Alessio, “Fascino greco,” 59. In “Hermodorus et Vitruve,” 151–52, Gros argues that the temple beneath San Salvatore in Campo is the Temple of Neptune, but see L. Richardson jr., A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), 267.
Fabio Barry, “A Whiter Shade of Pale: Relative and Absolute White in Roman Sculpture and Architecture,” in Revival and Invention: Sculpture through Its Material Histories, ed. Sébastien Clerbois and Martina Droth (New York: Peter Lang, 2011), 31–62. Cicero, for example, describes white as the color most suited for a god. Cic. Leg. 2.18. See also Valérie Maugan-Chemin, “Les couleurs du marbre chez Pline l’Ancien, Martial, et Stace,” in Couleurs et matières dans l’antiquité: Textes, techniques, et pratiques, ed. Agnès Rouveret, Sandrine Dubel, and Valérie Naas (Paris: Éditions Rue d’Ulm, 2006), 103–5, 117; Ursula Mandel, “On the Qualities of the ‘Colour’ White in Antiquity,” in Circumlitio: The Polychromy of Antique and Medieval Sculpture, ed. Vinzenz Brinkmann, Oliver Primavesi, and Max Hollein (Frankfurt: Schriftenreihe der Liebieghaus Skupturensammlung, 2010), 310.
Cicero offers the Porticus Metelli as an example of a place in Rome where the public could view beautiful works of Greek art. Cic. Verr. 2.4.126.
Vell. Pat. 1.11.3–4; Plin. HN 34.64; Arr. Anab. 1.16.4; Coarelli, Campo Marzio, 532. On the Granikos monument, see Calcani, Cavalieri di bronzo.
Calcani, Cavalieri di bronzo, esp. 155–56.
See J. J. Pollitt, Art in the Hellenistic Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 43.
As Bernard notes, “The fact that Metellus’ first marble temple sat in the same portico as his Macedonian spoils reinforced the link between the material of the structure itself and Rome’s conquest of the Greek world.” Bernard, “Pentelic Marble,” 46.
Jacques des Courtils, “Thasos, Samothrace et l’architecture macédonienne,” in Archaia Makedonia, VI: Anakoinōseis kata to Hekto Diethnes Symposio, Thessalonikē, 15–19 Oktovriou 1996 = Ancient Macedonia, VI: Papers Read at the Sixth International Symposium Held in Thessaloniki, October 15–19, 1996 (Thessaloniki: Hidryma Meletōn Chersonēsou tou Haimou, 1999), 358. Stucco as wall surfacing dates to at least the sixth century in Greek architecture, where it was used to protect permeable stone walls from water. Frederick A. Cooper, “Greek Engineering and Construction,” in Oleson, Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology, 236–37.
On the tomb at Lefkadia, see Stella G. Miller, “Hellenistic Macedonian Architecture: Its Style and Painted Ornamentation” (PhD diss., Bryn Mawr College, 1971), 118–74, 230–31. On the palace at Vergina, see Frederick E. Winter, Studies in Hellenistic Architecture (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), 165. Also in the Hellenistic, if not Macedonian, ambit, see Vitruvius’s description of the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos, the walls of which were brick covered in plaster. Vitr. De arch. 2.8.10.
Richardson, “Evolution of the Porticus Octaviae,” 61.
Boyd, “Porticoes of Metellus and Octavia,” 155. James F. D. Frakes mentions porticoes as sites for display. James F. D. Frakes, Framing Public Life: The Portico in Roman Gaul (Vienna: Phoibos, 2009), 23. As Perry notes, sculptures in Rome needed to be displayed in appropriate architectural settings. Perry, Aesthetics of Emulation, 53.
On the relationship between frame and center, see Ernst H. Gombrich, The Sense of Order: A Study in the Psychology of Decorative Art, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Phaidon, 1984), 156.
I thank Mark Abbe for discussing with me the little-investigated topic of polychromy on Roman temples. Barry maintains that white temples had painted architectural ornament and sculpture, but he does not offer evidence. Barry, “Whiter Shade of Pale,” 45. I would also note that there is no indication that the architects of the Temple of Jupiter Stator and the Porticus Metelli were necessarily the same. While Hermodorus of Salamis designed the Temple of Jupiter Stator, he does not seem to have been responsible for the Porticus Metelli; in any case, a difference in architects does not seem sufficient explanation for the difference in material. Gros, “Premières générations,” 395.
On Greek influences in early Roman architecture, see John N. Hopkins, The Genesis of Roman Architecture (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, forthcoming).
For example, see Liv. 34.4.1–4.
Gros, “Premières générations,” 402–3.
Michael Ann Holly, “Notes from the Field: Materiality,” Art Bulletin 95 (2013), 16.
Holly’s definition of materiality is in some ways analogous to Wolfgang Iser’s theory that a literary work comprises not just the text but also the interaction between the text and the reader’s imagination. Wolfgang Iser, “The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach,” in Reader-Response Criticism: From Formalism to Post-structuralism, ed. Jane P. Tompkins (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980), 50–69.
Ciancio Rossetto, “Portico d’Ottavia,” 66.
On the complex in the port zone at Cos (in Greece), see ibid., 65.
Fabio Barry, “Walking on Water: Cosmic Floors in Antiquity and the Middle Ages,” Art Bulletin 89 (2007), 635.
Plin. HN 36.55.
Vitr. De arch. 7.3.6. See the discussion of these passages from Pliny and Vitruvius in Roger Ling, “Stuccowork,” in Roman Cities in Bulgaria: Collected Studies, ed. Velizar I. Velkov (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1980), 213.
Ling, “Stuccowork,” 213. On the contrast between marble and rougher stones, see Edmund Thomas, Monumentality and the Roman Empire: Architecture in the Antonine Age (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 209.
See Barry, “Whiter Shade of Pale,” 41.
Thomas notes the importance of “brilliance” for Roman viewers: “In direct sunlight buildings achieved their greatest impact.” Thomas, Monumentality and the Roman Empire, 210. On the light-reflecting properties of polished marble, see Ioli Kalavrezou, “Light and the Precious Object, or Value in the Eyes of the Byzantines,” in The Construction of Value in the Ancient World, ed. John K. Papadopoulos and Gary Urton (Los Angeles: University of California, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, 2012), 354–69. Oils and waxes made polished marble more reflective. Barry, “Whiter Shade of Pale,” 43.
It is true that in many areas of the city there were numerous stuccoed surfaces, raising the question of why Metellus’s temple would have needed the stuccoed portico to make its marble shine. However, at the Circus Flaminius, visitors could have seen bronze at the Porticus Octavia and, it appears, some marble at the Temple of Hercules Musarum. The Circus Flaminius was arguably one place in second-century Rome where there would have been other flashy surfaces with which Metellus’s complex would have been competing. By encasing his temple in a stuccoed portico, Metellus preserved the distinction of the marble temple and heightened the excitement of visiting it.
Suet. Aug. 28.3.
The notion of a monument inviting aesthetic contemplation derives from Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), esp. 11. W. J. T. Mitchell has criticized Panofsky’s concept as failing to question the distinction between what we call art and other forms of visual culture. W. J. T. Mitchell, “What Is Visual Culture?,” in Meaning in the Visual Arts: Views from the Outside—A Centennial, ed. Irving Lavin (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995), 207–17. However, both Mariët Westermann and Edmund Thomas have defended the idea that certain objects, through their visual appearance, encourage viewers to have aesthetic responses. Mariët Westermann, “Introduction: The Objects of Art History and Anthropology,” in Anthropologies of Art, ed. Mariët Westermann (Williamstown, Mass.: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2005), xii; Thomas, Monumentality and the Roman Empire, 207–20 (Thomas is concerned specifically with Roman architecture).
James I. Porter, The Origins of Aesthetic Thought in Ancient Greece: Matter, Sensation, and Experience (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 134, 20.
See Vell. Pat. 1.11.5; also 1.11.6–7. See also Morgan, “Portico of Metellus,” 496n7.
Liv. 37.51.1–2; Polyb. 1.49–52; Serv. Aen. 12.139.
Coarelli, L’Area Sacra di Largo Argentina, 1:40–42; Pietilä-Castrén, Magnificentia Publica, 46–47; Ziolkowski, Temples of Mid-Republican Rome, 94–97; Danila Mancioli and Riccardo Santangeli Valenzani, L’Area Sacra di Largo Argentina (Rome: Fratelli Palombi, 1997), 22. Compare Fernando Castagnoli, “Il Campo Marzio nell’antichità,” Memorie: Atti della Accademia nazionale dei Lincei, Classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche, 7th ser., 1 (1948), 173–74.
Irene Bald Romano, Scott Pike, and Elaine Gazda, “The Use and Symbolism of Pentelic Marble in Domitianic Rome,” in Gutiérrez Garcia-Moreno et al., Interdisciplinary Studies on Ancient Stone, 772–79; Schneider, “Nuove immagini”; Amanda Claridge, “Hadrian’s Lost Temple of Trajan,” Journal of Roman Archaeology 20 (2007), 74.
A play on Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: New American Library, 1964), 6.
Leen, “Cicero and the Rhetoric of Art,” 237.
On the patron’s responsibility, see Perry, “Rhetoric, Literary Criticism,” 156–57.
On consensus in Roman political culture, see Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp, Reconstructing the Roman Republic: An Ancient Political Culture and Modern Research, trans. Henry Heitmann-Gordon (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2010).
Plin. HN 36.45.
Stefano De Angeli, “Iuppiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus, aedes (fasi tardo-repubblicane e di età imperiale),” in Steinby, Lexicon topographicum Urbis Romae, 3:148–53.
On value in antiquity, see the rich collection of essays and extensive bibliography in Papadopoulos and Urton, Construction of Value in the Ancient World. Many of the contributions to this volume deal with the Greco-Roman world from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
Cic. Cat. 4.21; Cic. Mur. 14.31; Diod. Sic. 31.8.9–13; Liv. 45.40.1–9; Vell. Pat. 1.9.5; Sen. Cons. Marc. 6.13.3; Sen. De Consolatione ad Polybium 11.14.5; Plut. Aem. 30–36; Flor. 2.12.12–15; Eutr. 4.8; Zonar. 9.24; De Vir. Ill. 56.1.
Senseney even suggests that it was Metellus’s complex that caused people to perceive the Porticus Octavia as a “more specific celebration of the Macedonian wars in particular.” Senseney, “Adrift toward Empire,” 430. While I would argue that the Porticus Octavia would have been perceived as commemorating Octavius’s victory over Perseus upon its construction, the neighboring Porticus Metelli certainly could have strengthened this association.
The Nike precinct is currently being reevaluated by archaeologists from the New York University–Emory University team responsible for excavation of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods. I thank Bonna Wescoat, director of excavations at Samothrace, for generously discussing the Nike’s precinct with me.
The Nike’s provenance is debated, but Olga Palagia has argued recently that it was a Roman dedication commemorating Rome’s victory over the Macedonian king Perseus in 168. Olga Palagia, “The Victory of Samothrace and the Aftermath of the Battle of Pydna,” in Samothracian Connections: Essays in Honor of James R. McCredie, ed. Olga Palagia and Bonna D. Wescoat (Oxford: Oxbow, 2010), 154–64. On Roman connections with Samothrace, see Bonna D. Wescoat, “Insula Sacra: Samothrace between Troy and Rome,” in Roman Power and Greek Sanctuaries: Forms of Interaction and Communication, ed. Marco Galli (Athens: Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene, 2013), 45–81.
Jale İnan, “Neue Forschung zum Sebasteion von Boubon und seinen Statuen,” in Akten des II: Internationalen Lykien-Symposions, Wien 6.–12. Mai 1990, ed. Jürgen Borchhardt and Gerhard Dobesch (Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1993), 213–39.
Arielle P. Kozloff, “Bubon: A Re-assessment of the Provenance,” Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 74 (1987), 130–41.