The great temple above which the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda was built in the seventh and eighth centuries has been identified with a fair degree of certainty from the dedicatory inscription still legible on the architrave.
The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina was erected in 141 AD in honour of Faustina, the wife of Antoninus Pius, deified after her death. Twenty years later, on the death of the emperor, the first line was added to the inscription, so that the temple was rededicated to both husband and wife. The building stands on a tall plinth preceded by a flight of brick steps, rebuilt in modern times, which has incorporated the ancient core, also made of brick.
Like other monuments in the Forum, the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina risked being dismantled in the sixteenth century when the marble slabs with which it was sheathed were removed.
The columns, however, withstood the workmen’s efforts. Still visible are the deep grooves scored in the tops of the shafts by ropes used in the attempt to topple them. The flower beds of different shapes and sizes to the east of the temple reproduce the forms of the tombs of the archaic burial place (Bronze Age, tenth-eighth centuries BC) discovered early last century.
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