Tempio di Ercole

Panel 65b - Location

The temple of Hercules, built between the late 2nd and early 1st century BC, stood on a high podium and had a porch with six columns along the front, accessed by a staircase.

Panel 65b - Figure 1Front and side elevation of the temple
(R. De Vico)

Inside the porch stands a copy of a votive statue of Cartilius Poplicola, a leading figure in Ostia’s history during the 1st century BC, depicted as a resting athlete.

Panel 65b - Figure 2Statue of Cartilius Poplicola
(Museo Ostiense)
Panel 65b - Figure 3Discovery of the statue of Cartilius Poplicola

The cult was oracular in nature, as we know from the marble relief found near the temple and dedicated by a haruspex (priest), depicting the miraculous discovery in the sea of a statue of the armed Hercules, and a subsequent scene of divination: the god’s iconography and the reference to an event of war suggest that the cult had military as well as commercial connotations.

Panel 65b - Figure 4Marble relief depicting an oracular scene

The cult’s importance is evidenced by its remarkable persistence, documented by the restorations of the temple until the 4th century AD.

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