The Temple of Hercules Invictus is the circular temple in the Piazza della Bocca della Verità in Rome (where the Forum Boarium used to be). The monument is also called the Temple of Hercules Olivarius. The second temple in the square is dedicated to Portunus.
Temple of Herculus Invictus Rome
The address of the Tempio di Ercole Vincitore is Piazza della Bocca della Verità – Rome. The temple can be viewed from outside at any time.
History and description
The “Temple of Hercules the Conqueror” is surrounded entirely by a row of columns. Because of this, it was long thought to be the Temple of Vesta, since this fit ancient descriptions of the latter.
It was the prefect of Rome under Napoleon, Camille de Tournon, who discovered the true nature of the temple.
The alternative name, “Temple of Hercules Olivarius”, refers its founder, a merchant named Marcus Octavius Herrenus who owed his wealth to the olive oil trade. (Hercules Olivarius was the patron saint of the olearii, or olive oil traders.)
The temple was built toward the end of the 2nd century BC. It has a diameter of nearly 15 meters. The 20 Corinthian columns surrounding the central cell are more than 10 meters tall. The base is of volcanic tuff stone. The architrave and roof that crowned the construction are gone.
What has stood the test of time are 19 of the 20 columns and the travertine wall of the cell. The roof was added later.
The Temple of Herculus Invictus is the oldest surviving marble building in Rome.
In 1132, the temple was converted into a church called Santo Stefano alle Carozze.
Restorations took place in 1475. A fresco above the altar was also painted.
In the 17th century, the church was renamed the Santa Maria del Sole Church.