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Roman Architecture: Engineering an Empire

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Krystal Coenen
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« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2007, 05:18:33 pm »



West side of the Maison Carrée, Nîmes

Maison Carrée

The Maison Carrée at Nîmes in southern France, is one of the best preserved temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire.

It was built c. 19–16 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who was also the original patron of the Pantheon in Rome, and was dedicated to his two sons, Gaius Julius Caesar Vipsanianus and Lucius Caesar, adopted heirs of Augustus who both died young. The original inscription dedicating the temple to Gaius and Lucius was removed in medieval times. However, a local scholar named Jean-François Séguier was able to reconstruct the inscription in 1758 from the order and number of the holes in the portico's facade, to which the bronze letters had been affixed. The text of the dedication read (in translation): "To Gaius Caesar, son of Augustus, Consul; to Lucius Caesar, son of Augustus, Consul designate; to the princes of youth."

The temple owes its preservation to the fact that it was rededicated as a Christian church in the fourth century, saving it from the widespread destruction of temples that followed the adoption of Christianity as Rome's official state religion. It subsequently became a meeting hall for the city's consuls, a canon's house, a stable during the French Revolution and a storehouse for the city archives. It became a museum after 1823. Its French name derives from the archaic term carré long, literally meaning a "long square", or rectangle - a reference to the building's shape.



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