Pula’s central square, the Forum contains one of the most impressive piece of antic architecture. Its name is the Augustus Temple and it is a temple that was built in the honor of the Roman Emperor Augustus – great nephew of Julius Cesar – sometime between 2 B.C. and 14 A.D. when he passed away. Augustus was one of, if not the most beloved Emperor of the Roman Empire, in large because he put an end to the years of civil wars that plagued Rome and thus established the Roman Peace (latin Pax Romana), so it’s no surprise that he had a temple built even so far away from Rome.
Augustus Temple is raised on a podium that carries a tetrastyle prostyle – denoting the four columns that are located in front of the entrance into the temple – building that was built using the Opus Isodomum technique. This technique was developed by the Greeks and it is famous for being complicated to execute. Buildings built in this style are built from perfectly square stones of equal height and often of the same length as well. The Temple is 8 meters wide and 17.3 meters long.
The front of the temple sadly doesn’t contain the inscription it originally did, because it got destroyed over time, but the inscription was the same as the one found on other temples dedicated to Augusts:
‘’To Roma and Augustus Caesar, son of the deity, father of the fatherland’’.
Due to the fact that the inscription didn’t call Augustus a deity, but rather a son of a deity, the archaeologists were able to date the temple construction date to before Augustus passed away.
The temple survived and was well preserved in large because it was used as a church during the Byzantium reign over the area. However in 1944, it was struck by an Allied bomb during the WW II, and it was almost completely destroyed. In 1947, due to efforts by locals, the temple was restored to its former glory.
Today, the temple serves as a lapidarium for old Roman works of art made out of stone and bronze, which were found in Pula and its surrounding area.
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