Temple of Jupiter And Caesar’s Last House Unearthed On The Palatine Hill
Excavations at the Palatine Hill in Rome have unearthed the first Temple of Jupiter Stator, or Jupiter the Stayer.
The temple’s name derives from the Latin words “with him who stops” used to invoke the ancient god to give the armies of Rome the strength to resist in the face of an enemy. Romulus built the temple after a battle at the Roman Forum against the Sabines during which the Romans had to retreat uphill on the Via Sacra.
Romulus prayed to Jupiter at the Porta Mugonia, vowing that he would dedicate a temple to the deity if he would stem the Sabine advance into the king’s Palatine residence. The Romans were then able to regroup and held their ground against the Sabines, who they defeated. Romulus built the temple nearby c. 750 BC and a cult developed around it that the god enforced the Romans’ military might.
Archaeologists did not know the exact location of the temple, which is referred to in ancient texts. For years, they thought that it on the slopes of the Velia hill facing the Palatine. A team from Rome University team discovered the shrine near the Porta Mugonia at the foot of the Palatine Hill. The temple is a sacred open area and archaeologists assume that the shrine was rebuilt after the great fire of Rome in 64 AD, when the Palatine was destroyed.
Excavations also revealed the remains of a prestigious dwelling near the sacred area in front of the Porta Mugonia, dating to the second and first century BC. Experts suggest it may have been House of Caesar, where he spent the last days of life, and which he left on the Ides of March in 44 BC, on his way to the Senate where he was assassinated.