Reconstruction of Theatre of Marcellus and Portico of Octavia. Pen on paper. Plan view of Theatre of Marcellus and Temple of Apollo. Pen on paper.
Theatre of Marcellus
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Dedication: Emperor Augustus' nephew
Built: 11bc.
capacity: 13,500
The Theatre
Just like today, entertainment was the perfect vehicle for maintaining a sense of order and well-being in society. Augustus, in the first century bc, was building a new power structure; after centuries of republican senatorial rule he intended to resolve that system's inherent in-fighting by creating a cult of personality around himself and his family. The figure of the Emperor would remain as a fixed point, the symbolic first citizen representing all citizens. To fix this structure in place, Augustus needed popularity, and that could be won through a combination of food, entertainment and stardom. Wallmart, Superbowl and Hollywood. Food was taken care of by cornering the Egyptian grain supplies as a personal property of the Emperor. Entertainment and stardom can be seen at work in the Theatre of Marcellus. The name of Augustus' nephew and intended heir became synonymous with the constant shows in the latest ultra modern theatrical complex.
The Temple of Apollo Sosianus
A temple to Apollo has stood on this spot since at least 431bc, and had been rebuilt and expanded through the years. The latest structure was financed by Gaius Sosius in 34bc., who, while governor of Syria, had won a war which resulted in Rome's control of Judaea and the installation of the client ruler, Herod, in Jerusalem. Sosius attributed the victory to Apollo and rebuilt his temple as part of his triumphal celebrations. In modern times the structure was excavated and it's parts eventually ended up at the Montemartini Museum, apart from the three columns which now stand on the spot and were re-erected in 1940.