72729
Pompeii (Campania), Italy

Temple of Venus

The Temple of Venus -on a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the plain- was built soon after the establishment of Pompeii as a Roman colony.

The Goddess of beauty was worshipped in Pompeii -as creator and Mother of the Universe, with power over life and death- even before the colonization which took place during the age of Sulla, even though her cult was not held in high regard.

Pompeii people dedicated a temple to this powerful goddess soon after the colony was founded. The temple of Venus was built on a terrace overlooking the sea between Porta Marina and the Basilica, South-West of the city. For that huge construction, many buildings previously occupying that area -including private homes- were demolished; only a few of them were retained and became lodgings for the temple priests.

The temple -with its back side on via Marina- has an impressive podium built with concrete and lava stones. All sides were enclosed by columns and one colonnade side hosted some workshops. As for many buildings in Pompeii, this temple was restored after 62 AD; during the refurbishment, to allow worship to continue, it was moved to an aedicula, whose remains are nearby.

Very few elements are left, of the immense splendor of the temple: an altar and two bases of statues; in fact, starting from the eruption, the temple was subject to various acts of depredation,  which resulted in the removal of the floor and all marble decorations.