Picture of the week: The Capitolium, temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, Thuburbo Majus (Tunisia)

The Capitolium at Thuburbo Majus Carole Raddato
The Capitolium at Thuburbo Majus
© Carole Raddato

Jupiter, Juno and Minerva were honored in temples known as Capitolia, which were built on hills and other prominent areas in many cities in Italy and the provinces, particularly during the Augustan and Julio-Claudian periods. In Rome, the three deities were worshipped in a great temple on the Capitolium hill. Most had a triple cella. The earliest known example of a Capitolium outside of Italy was at Emporion in Spain.

In 168 A.D. the inhabitants of Thuburbo Majus erected a temple in the Forum dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The Capitolium stands on a podium consisting of three courses of massive blocks of dressed stone. A broad flight of thirteen steps leads up to four re-erected Corinthian columns of Carrara marble, 8.5m/28ft high. There is no trace of the cella which contained the cult statues of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. All that have survived of the god statues is the head and a foot of Jupiter. It now stands in the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

Under Hadrian, Thuburbo Majus was made a municipium, involving the grant of Roman citizenship. This marked the beginning of intensive Romanisation and the town’s rise to prosperity. In 188 A.D. Commodus made it a colony (Colonia Julia Aurelia Commoda).

Thuburbo Majus is the fifth of the great Roman sites in Tunisia, after Bulla Regia, Dougga, Maktar and Sbeitla. It lies 63km/39mi south of Tunis and 91km/57mi north of Kairouan. The site is open from sunrise to sunset.


Further photos can be viewed from my image collection on Flickr.

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