Project 4: Decorative Principles of Roman Temples in Italy

Brescia Inside

Late-republican Temple of Brescia, interior decoration of the western cella  Foto: A. Kleineberg


The project will provide a systematic study of roman temples in Italy and their specific decorative principles employed from the 2nd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Thereby the analysis will focus on the aesthetic-semantic effects of decorative elements in regards to their correlation and interaction in order to create specific atmospheres and spatial qualities.

In consequence different aspects figurating sanctuaries as their architecture and layout, their urban setting as well as their interior design (e.g. cult statues, floor-, wall- and ceiling decors and the different materials employed) must be taken into account. Therefore the study will focus on different casestudies of late republican and early imperial temples in Italy and at Rome which are well documentated. The casestudies analysed in detail (e.g. Brescia, Pompeii) must be compared with other contemporaneous temples to identify particular decorative programs in a diachronic perspective, even if the knowledge of their decorative elements e.g. of republican temples in Rome is partly limited. Nevertheless it is possible to draw important conclusions referring to substantial architectural developments and their urban setting. In many cases, temples are placed within purposefully designed areas that are framed and therefore demarked by porticoes. At the same time, however, the study has to context roman temples consequently in their particular framework of action, that of ritual and cultic performances.