A Tourist in Rome - Temple of Apollo Sosianus
|Location:||In front of the Theatre of Marcellus, on the Via del Teatro di Marcello near the Tiber River|
|Metro:||Colosseo, or Circo Massimo and Bus #160, or see it on my To the Forum Boarium and Beyond Walking Tour instead|
|Time:||about 15 minutes|
|Hours:||Viewable from the road at any time of the day or night, but the grounds of the Theatre of Marcellus are opened during the daytime to allow a closer view. Beautifully lit at night.|
The Temple of Apollo Sosianus was a temple dedicated to Apollo, named after its rebuilder, Gaius Sosianus who is best known today for placing Herod on the throne of Jerusalem. Today, three columns stand, reconstructed during the Mussolini era from ruins found in the area. They form the front right-hand corner of the temple that the Theatre of Marcellus was built to serve. The first temple to Apollo in this area dates to 431 BC when the consul Gnaeus Iulius Mento dedicated it to Apollo Medicus. This building was restored in 353 BC and 179 BC. The final version of the temple was vowed by Gaius Sosius, one of Julius Caesar's lieutenants when he was awarded a triumph for his victory in Judea in 34 BC. The reconstruction was interrupted by the civil war between Octavian and Mark Antony. Sosius in fact backed the eventual loser, Marc Antony, and fought against Octavian in the Battle of Actium where he was captured. He was pardoned by Octavian and returned to Rome to complete the temple. The three columns visible today belong to this reconstruction. The temple porch was 6 columns wide and had another two at the sides, after which 7 more columns were attached to the cella wall. The columns are fluted with alternating wide and narrow grooves. The capitals have sprigs of laurel (attributes of Apollo) and eleborate flower heads. The entablature has a frieze of laurel branches strung between bulls' skulls and candelabra with tripod bases. The interior of the cella was originally decorated richly with colored marbles and housed a large collection of marble statues, all relating to Apollo. Medieval homes were in the area right up to the 1920s, but they were demolished to allow the Theatre of Marcellus to be seen. The three Corinthian columns were found during that excavation, and the podium was also excavated. The three columns were rebuilt on the podium, though probably not in their original positions. The architrave on top of the columns is intricately carved. Several relics from the temple are on display in the Central Montemartini Museum.