Thursday, April 16, 2020


Via di S. Stefano del Cacco 26

Maybe built at the behest of the members of the second triumvirate in the year 43 BC

It was known as Iseum Campensis and it was the most important sanctuary of the Egyptian religion in Rome

The site of the temple corresponds to the present church of S. Stefano del Cacco (St. Stephen of Cacco)
It was hardly tolerated by Augustus and Tiberius, and it was rebuilt by Caligula, Domitian and Alexander Severus
Grand entrance from the north in the current Via del Seminario and two side entrances closer to the temple. The east side entrance was the so-called ARCO DI CAMIGLIANO (Arch of Camigliano) the left pilaster of which is still visible

“The historian Dio Cassius says that in 53 BC the Senate ordered the demolition of all the private temples, within the walls, not only dedicated to Isis, but also to Serapis, other male deity imported from Egyptian, corresponding to the Hellenized form of the god Osiris, brother and husband of Isis. The construction of the Iseum Campensis took place significantly in 43 BC, ten years after the senatorial ban, if another testimony of Dio Cassius is properly interpreted, and the patrons are the protagonists of the second triumvirate, who most likely continued the building program begun by Julius Caesar in the Campus Martius. After a few years after its construction, the Temple of Isis was, on and off, at the center of repressions and temporary suspensions, from Agrippa in 21 BC, to the more incisive one of Tiberius, who even had the priests executed. After the reintroduction of the cult by Caligula, and the complete reconstruction of Domitian after the fire of 80 AD, the Iseum Campensis and the worship of the goddess Isis continued until the end of the imperial period” (Paolo Vigliarolo - ArcheoCommons)

The structure was decorated with five small obelisks of about 6 m (20 feet) in height:

1) Piazza della Rotonda from Heliopolis by Ramses II (1297/1213 BC) about 1250 BC

2) War Memorial of Dogali from Heliopolis by Ramses II about 1250 BC

3) Piazza della Minerva by Apries about 500 BC

4) Florence, Boboli Gardens from Heliopolis by Ramses II about 1250 BC

5) Urbino, Palazzo Ducale by Apries by 500 BC

There was also a higher one, perhaps the Agonal Obelisk later moved to the Circus of Maxentius and later on again to Piazza Navona, with the name of Domitian in hieroglyphics
Filippo Coarelli and Jean-Claude Grenier deem it however coming originally from the TEMPLUM GENTIS FLAVIAE that was erected in Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando where now the Hall Octagonal or Hall of Minerva is, the former Planetarium

Maybe it was another obelisk whose pieces of pink granite were used for the thresholds of the Collegio Romano, Palazzo Giustiniani and S. Andrea della Valle
Maybe it corresponds to the square in the center of Via Pie' di Marmo on the Forma Urbis marble map

MANY STATUES were found in the area of the temple, including:
The two statues of men representing rivers lying down: the “Nile” in the Vatican Museums and the “Tiber” in the Louvre
Those that make up the Egyptian Collection of the Capitoline Museums found here in 1883
The “Pie' di Marmo” placed in the street with the same name, Via del Pie’ di Marmo
The “Madama Lucretia” in Piazza Venezia
The “Dog-headed God Thoth” now the Gregorian Egyptian Museum in the Vatican and mistakenly considered a macaque monkey

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