Emperor to survey his capital once again

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RECENTLY unearthed remains of the Temple of Jupiter, the oldest stone building in Rome, are to be opened to the public this week in a move that the Mayor says will bring Ancient Rome alive.

A new architect-designed space, covered in glass, will also feature the bronze equestrian statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius with his arm outstretched — the most celebrated statue in the Ancient world — and a gigantic head of the Emperor Constantine. Walter Veltroni, the Mayor of Rome, said that the new wing of the Capitoline Museums was a stunning sight.

Anna Mura Sommella, the director of the Capitoline Museums, said it had been thought that only the foundations of the temple were left. But excavation work in the new space, a neglected courtyard of the Renaissance-era museum buildings on Capitol Hill, had brought to light a 7m (22ft) stretch of the temple wall.

The Temple of Jupiter dates to the 6th century BC and was dedicated to the gods Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. According to the Roman historian Livy it was built on the site of a sacred oak, where Roman soldiers deposited the spoils of war. At the height of its fame, its doors, roof and statues of the deities were ablaze with gold.

The finds have helped archaeologists to identify the site and dimensions of the temple, dedicated in 509BC, which measured 60m x 52m (197ft x 171ft) and had a portico of six marble columns. It was the focal point of religion and politics and the scene of triumphal processions after military victories.

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