13: Temple of Divus Romulus
The Temple of Divus Romulus is recognizable as a tall round building on the North side of the Via Sacra. From the name you can be forgiven for thinking that this temple is dedicated to Romulus the legendary founder and first king of Rome. Instead the association comes from the theory that this is the temple dedicated to Marcus Aurelius Romulus co-consul who died at the age of 14 in the year 309. His father, the Emperor Maxentius, dedicated a Temple in this area and commissioned a series of commemorative coins which showed a domed shrine with one of the doors ajar, and an eagle on top. The temple was probably part of a larger rebuilding program undertaken by Maxentius following a disastrous fire in 306. The project was only partially complete when Maxentius died in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge while defending Rome against Emperor Constantine and his invading troops. What remains is the main entrance to a 4th Century Temple the front of which was originally flanked by two halls who’s remnants are hinted at by the surrounding brickwork and columns. The current street level is much lower than when the temple was constructed so we can see a lot of the exposed footings. Much of the façade has gone but sufficient remains to have a sense of the curving front with niches for 2 statues on each side of the main entrance door. The columns and carvings are mostly repurposed materials from older constructions.