Temple of Hercules Victor

Rome, Italy

The Temple of Hercules Victor is a monopteros, a round temple of Greek 'peripteral' design completely encircled by a colonnade. Dating from the later 2nd century BC, and perhaps erected by L. Mummius Achaicus, conqueror of the Achaeans and destroyer of Corinth, the temple is 14.8 m in diameter and consists of a circular cella within a concentric ring of twenty Corinthian columns. These elements supported an architrave and roof, which have disappeared. The original wall of the cella, built of travertine and marble blocks, and nineteen of the originally twenty columns remain but the current tile roof was added later. Palladio's published reconstruction suggested a dome, though this was apparently erroneous. The temple is the earliest surviving marble building in Rome.

By 1132 the temple had been converted to a church, known as Santo Stefano alle Carozze. Additional restorations (and a fresco over the altar) were made in 1475. A plaque in the floor was dedicated by Sixtus IV. In the 17th century the church was rededicated to Santa Maria del Sole.

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Founded: 200-100 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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