Rome: The Hadrianeum

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Relief probably from the Hadrianeum (Capitoline Museum) © David Gill

The Hadrianeum in Rome lay in the Campus Martius on the west side of the Via Lata, to the south of the Ara Pacis. Parts of the temple can be seen along one side of the Piazza di Pietra. Eleven Corinthian columns, made of Proconnesian marble, as well as the north side of the cella are incorporated into the Borsa.

There is no epigraphic evidence to confirm the identity of the temple although Antoninus Pius dedicated one to him in this area in AD 145; this is the most likely interpretation for this structure.

A series of 24 reliefs cut from Proconnesian marble have been associated with the temple. They were probably incorporated on the cella. The figure shown here, holding a vexillum, probably represents the province of Mauretania. The relief showing shields and an axe probably represent trophies.

For more of the reliefs, including those in Naples, see Following Hadrian.

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The Hadrianeum, Rome © David Gill
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Relief from the Hadrianeum, Rome (Capitoline Museum) © David Gill

London Mithraeum

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Mithraeum, Walbrook, London © David Gill

The Mithraeum was excavated by William Francis Grimes on Walbrook in London. This has now been repositioned in the basement of Bloomberg Space. Visitors experience the darkness of the space and light levels are increased so that the remains can be seen.

Some of the sculptures are displayed in the nearby Museum of London. They include a relief of Ulpius Silvanus, formerly of the II Augustan legion (based at Caerleon). He appears to have been initiated to the cult at Orange in modern France.

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Mithras Tauroctonos, Walbrook Mithraeum, Museum of London © David Gill

Roman Sites and English Heritage

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Walltown Crags, Hadrian’s Wall © David Gill

Hadrian’s Wall and Stanegate

Stanegate

Roman Forts

Saxon Shore Forts

Roman Towns

Roman Villas

Roman Temples

Other features

Colchester Castle: guidebooks

Colchester_2015
2015

There is a new guidebook to Colchester Castle by Tom Hodgson and Philip Wise (Jarrold Publishing and Colchester Castle, 2015). This beautifully designed and colour illustrated book of 72 pp follows the history of Colchester through the collections displayed in the Colchester Museum.

The castle itself is built on the foundations of the Temple of the Divine Claudius destroyed during the Boudican revolt.

The main sections are:

a. Iron Age (including the Sheepen Cauldron dating to 1275-1140 BC; the Mount Bures Firedog; the Augustus Medallion from the Lexden Tumulus)
b. Roman Invasion (including tombstones of veterans from the colony; the Fenwick Treasure perhaps deposited during the Boudican destruction)
c. Roman Heyday (including slave rings; ‘the Colchester Vase’ showing gladiatorial combat, dating to AD 175-200; lead curse tablets; the Colchester Sphinx excavated on the site of the Essex County Hospital in 1821)
d. Roman Decline (including Christianity in Roman Colchester; jet bear)
e. Saxons and Normans (including St Botolph’s Priory; the Town Charter)
f. Medieval (including Medieval painting)
g. Post Medieval (including the Colchester Martyrs; the Siege of Colchester in the Civil War)
h. Modern (including the formation of the museum collection; Colchester Castle in wartime including an exhibition in 1944)

Inside the back cover is a plan of Colchester pointing visitors to key locations around the town.

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1978

I have two other guides to the collection: Colchester Castle: a history, description and guide (Colchester Borough council, 4th edition, 1978). This includes plans of the castle and a more detailed history. There is also a section drawing showing how the castle included the Roman temple in its foundations.

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1947

The second guide is Roman Colchester by M.R. Hull (Colchester Town Council, 1947). This was prepared ‘in response to a great demand among visitors to Colchester Museum for a Guide to Roman Colchester’. The sections are:

1. Colchester before the Romans
2. The beginnings of Roman Colchester
3. The colonia
4. Boadicea
5. The visible remains of the Roman town
6. Civic organisation and administration
7. The Middle Empire
8. The legend of King Coel
9. The end of Roman Colchester

There is a particularly useful foldout paper plan inside the back cover.

One of the earliest guides is Dr J. Horace Round’s The History and Antiquities of Colchester Castle (1882).

Walbrook, London

walbrook_mithThe excavations by William F. Grimes at the Walbrook in London captured the public imagination. The building that caught the imagination was the temple of Mithras and the Guildhall Museum published a guide to the Finds from the Temple of Mithras, Walbrook (price 1 s). There are 8 full page black and white photographs, plus the images on the front and read covers, and with two pages of text, one on the temple and the other on the ‘Works of art’.

Walbrook

A companion guide was Small finds from Walbrook 1954-1955 also published by the Guildhall Museum (price 1 s 6 d). This consisted of nine black and white plates with facing text description, and covered Grimes’ work in the mid-1950s.

Mithraeum
(1986)

The finds from the Mithraeum appeared in a volume by J.M.C. Toynbee, The Roman Art Treasures from the Temple of Mithras (London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, special paper 7; 1986). The introduction on the archaeological back ground is by Grimes (pp. 1-4). Several of the pieces are illustrated in colour.

Mithraeum
(1998)

The full account appeared as an English Heritage archaeological report in 1998.  This included Alan Sorrell’s reconstruction of the Mithraeum.

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