The Augusteum


The Augisteum played an important role in the life of major Roman cities. It  was situated adjacent to the forum and was not so much a Temple, but rather  more a college of priests, perhaps in practice more a club where the leading citizens could show their loyalty to Rome and to the Emperor.


Looking across the porch of the Augusteum with an altar at the centre, into the Council Room where the image of Augustus has been projected on to the far wall. The low lighting makes it all seem rather mysterious.


A reconstruction painting to show what the photo above was originally like, looking across the porch with the altar at the centre, to the Council room with Augustus at the far end

It was situated in the basement of a new development where it had been been preserved in a somewhat gloomy cellar.   It was a site for the enthusiast, but that means of course that it was a site for me, and possibly for you gentle reader. It was a temple for the worship of the Emperor Augustus – at least that was the story spun to the ignorant natives.  Proper Romans knew of course that Augustus was a man not a god, but he was the person who had saved Rome from the chaos of the civil wars and had made it into the greatest nation on earth,   so we are happy to go along with the idea, and to have at the centre of the town a shrine where we could celebrate his achievements and those of the great Roman Empire.


Cartagena: plan of Augusteum

Plan of the Augusteum taken from the hand-out. At the centre is the Council room, with the porch in front, but note the niches on either side, and beyond them the shops. Click on this illustration to see the detail.

But it was more of a collegium than a Temple, with the central hall flanked by archive rooms and two large nymphaea or decorative fountains as well as a couple of shops unrelated to the Temple – but the Romans were always happy to mix up commercial and religion.




On to the Carthaginian Walls



7th October 2016

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