Encyclopedia Ichnographica

Templum Novum Quirini


Templum Novum Quirini

The temple of Quirinus represented perhaps the oldest cult in this part of the city. Its establishment was ascribed to Numa, and the name was said to have been given to the porta Quirinalis, and presumably to the hill itself, because of a shrine of Quirinus which was near the gate. The builder of the actual temple of Quirinus is said to have been L. Papirius Cursor, in 293 B.C., although an assembly of the senate is said to have been held in this temple in 453 B.C. In 206 B.C. the temple was injured by lightning, and it was burned in 49 B.C., but soon rebuilt. A final restoration was completed by Augustus in 16 B.C., and this structure lasted at least as long as the empire. It is described as being dipteral, octostyle, with a pronaos and a porch in the rear. It had seventy-six columns in all, two rows of fifteen each on the sides and a double row of eight at each end, and was surrounded by a porticus. Augustus's restoration occupied the site of the temple of Papirius, and this has been determined, by the finding of inscriptions, to be north of the Alta Semita, but whether in the very centre of the royal gardens or in their eastern part is a disputed point. It is also uncertain whether or not this temple stood on the site of the original sacellum Quirini, which was near the porta Quirinalis. (Platner)


As the son of Mars, and as founder and first king of Rome, Romulus is synonymous with beginnings. Without Mars, however, Romulus is nothing, so it is through the concomitance of Mars and Romulus that the origin of Rome takes place in Piranesi's Campo Marzio.

The presence of Romulus within the Ichnographia occurs both directly and indirectly. There is the Templum Romuli, and there is the Templum novum Quirini. The Templum Romuli is within the Campus Martius proper, while the Templum novum Quirini is situated further east between the Horti Salustiani and the base of the Quirinal Hill. Both temples, interestingly enough, "preside" over large stadium complexes, and it is worth further noting that the Templum Romuli is on the same axis as one of the Ichnographia's two Templum Martis.

The third and most indirect reference to Romulus is the Lineae indicantes viam triumphalem--the line indicating the Triumphal Way--which begins in the Area Martis in front of the Ichnographia's other Templum Martis that is on the west bank of the Tiber within the Vatican valley. Each Roman Triumph, of which there were hundreds throughout ancient Rome's history, is a reenactment of the original triumphal march of Romulus. The Lineae. . .triumphalem of the Ichnographia therefore literally marks a lineage back to Rome's inception, and thus locates a point of beginning for the Ichnographia Campus Martius as well.




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