A new visit to old ruins

The Colosseum is, undeniably, an impressive monument, even capable of stunning someone into silence mid-sentence (as happened to my brother) at first sight. Its colossal (ha!) size is equally imposing on a second visit, and I’m sure it would take quite a few sightings to become accustomed to such a behemoth. Knowing that the structure’s 2000th birthday is on the horizon only adds to its grandeur, a testament to a history of which you can read more about here.

Templum Veneris et Romae

The Temple of Venus and Rome is believed to have been the largest temple in Ancient Rome. Visible from the Colosseum (and providing great views of it as well), it was dedicated to Venus Felix, or “Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune,” and Roma Aeterna, or “Eternal Rome.”

Construction for this building began in 121 under Emperor Hadrian. It was subsequently inaugurated in 135, though it remained unfinished until 141, when it was completed under Emperor Antoninus Pius. Later damaged by a fire in 307, it was restored by Emperor Maxentius (author of the Basilica and Circus of Maxentius). The temple was closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire, and later despoiled (the gilt-bronze tiles from its roof were removed) by Pope Honorius I, with the consent of Emperor Heraclius, to collect material for Old Saint Peter’s.

A 9th-century earthquake is believed to have further destroyed the temple, and in 850 Pope Leo IV ordered Santa Maria Nova (today known as Santa Francesca Romana) to be built atop its ruins.

I have written previously about the Roman Forum here.

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