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Temple of Concord

Temple of Concord

This great temple, of which little survives, was located on the northwest side of the Roman Forum. It was dedicated to the goddess Concordia and its festival day was July 22. A temple to the goddess was vowed by Camillus in 367 BC on the occasion of the Licinian-Sextian laws expanding the civil rights of the plebs. At first, only an altar seems to have been built. The first temple was constructed in 121 B.C. by L. Opimius, who, as consul, killed the tribune C. Gracchus. In the Republic, it symbolized harmony between the social classes; in the Empire, between members of the imperial family. The senate often met here. Tiberius restored the building. Its design was unusual in having its façade on the long side. Ancient coins illustrate the temple, showing a riot of statuary. Literary sources mention that many works of art decorated the building, making it a veritable “temple-museum.”

Aedes Templum Concordia

From Samuel Ball Platner, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, rev. Thomas Ashby. Oxford: 1929, p. 138-140.

(Act. Arv. LVI, Plin. NH XXXIV.73, 80, 89, 90; XXXVI.196, Serv. Aen. II.116, Notitia), delubrum (Plin. XXXV.66; XXXVII.4) A temple at the north-west corner of the forum, said to have been vowed by L. Furius Camillus in 367 B.C. during the disturbances that took place over the passage of the Licinian laws. Its erection was voted by the people immediately after their enactment (Ov. Fast. I.641-644; Plut. Cam. 42). It stood between the Volcanal and the foot of the Capitoline (Ov. cit. 637-638; Act. Arv. passim; Serv. Aen. II.116; Stat. Silv. I.1.31; Plut. Cam. 42; Varro, LL V.148, 156), and the space around it was called area Concordiae, which is mentioned only in connection with prodigia of 183 and 181 B.C. (Liv. XXXIX.56.6; XL.19.2; Obseq. 4). The date of the actual erection of the temple is not known; the day of its dedication was probably 22nd July (Fast. Ant. ap. NS 1921, 103), while that of the later structure was 16th January (Ov. Fast. I.637; Fast. Praen. ad XVII Kal. Feb., CIL I2 p231, 308; Fast. Verol. ap. NS 1923, 196). In 211 B.C. a statue of Victory on its roof was struck down by lightning (Liv. XXVI.23.4).

In 121 B.C., after the death of C. Gracchus, the senate ordered this temple to be restored by L. Opimius, to the great disgust of the democracy (App. BC I.26; Plut. C. Gracch. 17; Cic. pro Sest. 140; August. de civ. d. iii.25). Opimius probably built his Basilica (q.v.) at the same time, close to the temple on the north. In 7 B.C. Tiberius undertook to restore the temple with his spoils from Germany (Cass. Dio LV.8.2), and the structure was completed and dedicated as aedes Concordiae Augustae, in the name of Tiberius and his dead brother Drusus, on 16th January, 10 A.D. (Ov. Fast. I.640, 643-648; Cass. Dio LVI.25; Suet. Tib. 20, where the year is given as 12 A.D.). It is represented on coins (Cohen, Tib. 68-70; BM. Tib. 116, 132-4). A later restoration, perhaps after the fire of 284, is recorded in an inscription (CIL VI.89), which was seen on the pronaos of the temple by the copyist of the inscriptions in the Einsiedeln Itinerary.

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Additional source material

  • Ancient Library Sources (from Peter Aicher, Rome Alive: A Source Guide to the Ancient City, vol. 1, Bolchazy-Carducci: 2004) [Works cited]

    31. Temple of Concord. Commentary.

    The Temple of Concord is not the earliest of the large temples in the Forum, but it is the closest to the Senate and Assembly area not only in distance (it sits nearby, slightly higher on the lower Capitoline slope), but in political significance, having been vowed and dedicated in political struggles between the Senate and the People. Even after Tiberius rebuilt it and emphasized the imperial family's role in establishing harmony and peace in the state, the building continued to be used to signify critical moments in the safety of the state. The Senate often met in its cella, which, after Tiberius's rebuilding, was quite large and unusually oriented with respect to the porch. It was magnificently decorated, as can be judged both by the remains of the entablature on display in the gallery of the Tabularium (accessible through the Capitoline museums), and by the sources (represented by the sampling from Pliny, 31.5), which locate enough works of art in the Temple of Concordia to make it resemble, even more than most temples, an art museum.

    Though vowed in 367 BC, it seems that the Temple of Concord was not built until 131 BC.

    31. Temple of Concord. Sources.


    [While Camillus held the post of dictator, conflict arose between the Plebs and the Senate in 367 BC when the former group agitated for the creation of a plebeian consulship. Emotions on both sides grew heated, leading to a near-riot in the Forum.] Not sure what to do in this crisis, Camillus did not renounce his dictatorship but gathered the senators together and proceeded to the Senate House. Before going in, however, he turned to the Capitoline and prayed, calling on the gods to steer the present events toward some happy conclusion and vowing to build a temple to Concord if the conflict subsided.

    Inside, the Senate hotly debated the issue, but the moderates prevailed and they conceded to the Plebs the right to elect one of the two consuls from their own number. When the dictator went out and announced this as the will of the Senate, the people expressed their approval immediately, as might be expected, happy to be reconciled with the Senate, and they escorted Camillus home to cheering and applause.

    On the next day the people met in assembly and voted to build the Temple to Concord that Camillus had vowed, oriented to face the Forum and the Comitium.

    Plutarch, Camillus 42.2-4


    [After his supporters in Rome grew increasingly violent, Gaius Gracchus, a populist reformer, was killed along with thousands of his followers in 121 BC after Opimius, the consul, gave orders to suppress the populist faction.] What angered the people more than anything else, however, was the building of the Temple of Concord by Opimius; it seemed that he was glorifying himself and taking pride in murdering so many citizens, almost as if he were celebrating a triumph. As a result, under the temple's inscription, some people inscribed the line: “The Temple of Concord, built by Discord.”

    Plutarch, Gaius Gracchus 17.6


    [Calendar entry for January 16:]

    Radiant goddess, today you moved to your snow-white temple

    Where lofty Juno lifts her steps high up the hill.

    Here you can oversee, Concordia, the Latin crowds

    Now that sacred hands have performed your dedication.

    Camillus, famed for his Etruscan conquests, vowed

    The original temple, and carried out the vow he'd sworn

    When the People revolted and took up arms against the Senate

    And Rome had cause to fear the force of its own aggression.

    The recent temple's cause is better; the Germans bowed

    Their shaggy heads beneath your rule, Tiberius,

    And with the booty of this conquest that earned you a triumph

    You built a temple to honor a goddess special to you.

    Ovid, Fasti 1.637-648


    [After Sejanus, Tiberius's trusted vice-regent and commander of the Praetorian Guards, was suspected of treason and arrested] he was thrown into the Prison. [AD 31] Later that same day, however, the Senate, after seeing that the people also hated Sejanus and that his Praetorian Guards were nowhere in sight, gathered in the Temple of Concord and condemned him to death.

    Dio, History 58.11.4


    Baton made the statues of Apollo and Juno that are in the Temple of Concord.… A painting of Marsyas Bound is likewise there, … as are four elephants carved out of solid obsidian, which Augustus himself dedicated as objects of wonder.

    Pliny the Elder, Encyclopedia 34.73, 35.66, 36.196

    34. The Navel of Rome (Umbilicus Romae). Sources.


    Notitia, Sites in Region VIII:

    The Roman Forum (sometimes called the “Great” Forum), contains the following:

    … the Temple of Concord;

    the Umbilicus of Rome;

    the Temple of Saturn;

    the Temple of Vespasian and Titus;

    the Capitolium;

    the Golden Milestone,

    the Basilica Julia;

    the Temple of the Castors …

    Notes: The existence in ancient Rome of three sites—the Mundus, Milestone, and Umbilicus—all dedicated to a ritualistic centering of the community and all located at the head of the Forum, seems redundant, and there is some confusion over the identity, terminology, and location of these three sites. The trouble begins with Plutarch's description of the Mundus as the trench drawn around the Comitium; he calls the Mundus the center of the wider boundary ploughed around the city by Romulus, whereas other accounts of the Romulean foundation place the Palatine Hill at its center, and do not even include the Comitium area of the Forum as part of Romulean Rome. Perhaps some anachronisms are at play in Plutarch's account. Richardson, moreover, believes that Festus and Macrobius [32.2-32.4] all refer to another Mundus, separate from the one described by Plutarch and dedicated to the spirits of the underworld, perhaps related in form and origin to archaic underground granaries on the Palatine. Coarelli (in LTUR 3.288-9), again favoring the organic whole (as with his location of the Tarpeian Cliffs), considers not only that the sources refer to one Mundus, but that this unified Mundus can be further identified with the Umbilicus Romae. Richardson addresses the redundancy by equating the Umbilicus and the Milestone (discounting the division of the two terms in the Notitia).

    36. The Temple of Castor and Pollux. Sources.


    With spoils [from the war in Germany] Tiberius rebuilt the Temple of Concord as well as the Temple of Castor and Pollux, and dedicated them in his own and his late brother Drusus's name [in AD 6].

    Suetonius, Tiberius 20

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