Three columns and part of an architrave (marble beam above
the columns) are the only visible remains of a first century BC temple to
Apollo that once stood in the Campus Martius area of Rome. The earliest temple on this site was
built in 431 BC by the Roman consul Gnaeus Iulius Mento, who built it in honor
of Apollo Medicus (Latin for “Apollo the Healer”) after a severe
plague in 433 BC. The temple was later restored in 353 BC and 179 BC. In 34 BC,
the Roman consul and general Gaius Sosius began construction of a new temple to
Apollo on this site after his military campaign in 37 BC, where he had attacked
Jerusalem and installed
Herod the Great as King of Judea. Construction of Sosius’ new temple was
delayed due to the fact that civil war had broken out in Rome between the forces of Mark Anthony and
Octavian (who would later become Emperor Augustus). After the forces of Mark
Anthony were defeated, the construction of the temple continued and it was
completed sometime during the early reign of Augustus (emperor from 27 BC – 14
AD). According to the ancient Roman historian Livy, the Temple
of Apollo Sosianus was filled with several
sculptures and paintings from ancient Greece and the temple was often used
by the Senate for meetings.


The remaining three columns and part of the architrave
(marble beam above the columns) of the temple date to the 36 BC reconstruction
of Sosius. They were discovered nearby and set up in their present location in
1940. The architrave contains reliefs of objects related to the god Apollo and
temple sacrifice rituals. At the left and right sides of the relief are
depictions of an ox skull known as a bucranium which represents an ox killed in
sacrifice. In between the ox skulls are laurel branches, symbols of the god
Apollo, which hang between candelabra.

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Since the first century AD, the temple has been referred to
by Roman historians as the Temple
of Apollo Sosianus in
reference to Gaius Sosius, who began its last major construction. The name also
differentiates it from the Temple
of Apollo Palatinus,
which Emperor Augustus built on Palatine Hill
between 36 and 28 BC.