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Temple of Saturn

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Temple of Saturn
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Photo Comments

View looking south at the west end of the west Forum.  The structure in the center of the image, with the eight large columns and entablature on a high podium, is the remnants of the Temple of Saturn.

This is apparently the earliest temple constructed in the Forum.  The basic temple standing today was completed in 42 B.C. although because of fires it was rebuilt twice, in A.D. 283 and 400.  It served as the state treasury where gold and silver ingots and coins were kept.

Please note the road that begins in the left foreground and runs uphill to the right leads to the top of the Capitoline Hill that rises to the right (west).  Some of the original paving stones are visible in the image.  The road was called the Clivus Capitolinus.  Triumphal Processions, after passing though the Forum (on the left) would climax by following this road up the hill for sacrifices at the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter.

Saturn was one of the oldest of the gods and his characteristics are multifaceted.  His reign is associated with the Golden Age of plenty and peace.  His festival was celebrated here on 17 December and was the most important festival in the Roman year.  Slaves were given temporary freedom and presents were exchanged.  Later the festival became associated with New Year's Day and Christmas.