The Temple of Saturn (Latin: Templum Saturni or Aedes Saturnus) is a monument to the agricultural deity Saturn that stands at the western end of the Forum Romanum in Rome. It represents the oldest surviving structure in that area, having been established between 501 and 498 BC.
Gradual collapse has left nothing but the remains of the front portico
standing, but the eight surviving columns
and partially intact pediment
(displaying the inscription Senatus Populusque Romanus incendio consumptum restituit
, meaning "The Senate
and People of Rome
restored what fire had consumed") represent one of the iconic images of Rome's ancient architectural heritage
Some sources attribute it to the King Tarquinius Superbus
, others to Lucius Furius, although the latter dedication could belong to a reconstruction after the fire set by the Gauls
(early 4th century BC
It was also called 'Aerarium', because the Roman national treasure was kept there. The temple marks the beginning of the Clivus Capitolinus, the old road that takes you up the hill of the Capitol.
The present ruins represent the third incarnation of the Temple of Saturn, replacing the second incarnation destroyed in the fire of 283 CE.
According to the sources, the statue of the god in the interior, veiled and provided with a scythe
, was wooden and filled with oil. The legs were covered with linen bents, which were released only on December 17
, the day of the Saturnalia
While dedicated to the god Saturn, the temple's chief use was as the seat of the treasury of the Roman Republic (aerarium), storing the Republic's reserves of gold and silver. Also the state archives, the insignia and the official scale for the weighing of metals were housed in the temple. Later, the aerarium was moved to another building, while the archives were transferred to the nearby Tabularium. The temple's podium, in concrete covered with travertine, was used for bill-posting.