Il tempio di Elagabal «ἐν τῷ προαστείῳ»
In: Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma: 121, 2020
The goal of this paper is to revise the diverse localisations proposed for the suburban temple built by emperor Elagabalus in order to honour the Emesan god Elagabal. One of the two most accredited hypotheses – which suggests the shrine to be located in Trastevere – does not seem to withstand the scrutiny of the data it is based on. On the other hand, the alternative hypothesis – based on the connection between the temple and the Severan Horti Spei Veteris – could find a key factor in a specific passage by Herodian, the only one that mentions clearly the Severan temple, although certain archaeological data are still missing. A detailed analysis of Herodian’s work and the comparison with other sources that make use of the term προάστειον, as corresponding to a suburban villa rather than an indefinite suburb, allow the author to acknowledge the location of the temple in a specific suburban estate. In this case, the most likely solution seems to be the suburban villa in Rome that literary sources link directly to Elagabalus: the Horti Spei Veteris.