Tegulae

White-Marble-1-Texture

Eodem anno aedis Iunonis Laciniae detecta. Q. Fulvius Flaccus censor aedem Fortunae Equestris, quam in Hispania praetor bello Celtiberico voverat, faciebat enixo studio ne ullum Romae amplius aut magnificentius templum esset. magnum ornatum ei templo ratus adiecturum, si tegulae marmoreae essent, profectus in Bruttios aedem Iunonis Laciniae ad partem dimidiam detegit, id satis fore ratus ad tegendum quod aedificaretur. naves paratae fuerunt quae tollerent atque asportarent, auctoritate censoria sociis deterritis id sacrilegium prohibere. postquam censor redit, tegulae expositae de navibus ad templum portabantur. quamquam unde essent silebatur, non tamen celari potuit. fremitus igitur in curia ortus est; ex omnibus partibus postulabatur ut consules eam rem ad senatum referrent. ut vero accersitus in curiam censor venit, multo infestius singuli universique praesentem lacerare: templum augustissimum regionis eius, quod non Pyrrhus, non Hannibal violassent, violare parum habuisse, nisi detexisset foede ac prope diruisset. detractum culmen templo, nudatum tectum patere imbribus putrefaciendum. ad id censorem moribus regendis creatum? cui sarta tecta exigere sacris publicis et locare tuenda more maiorum traditum esset, eum per sociorum urbes diruentem templa nudantemque tecta aedium sacrarum vagari! et quod, si in privatis sociorum aedificiis faceret, indignum videri posset, id eum templa deum immortalium demolientem facere, et obstringere religione populum Romanum, ruinis templorum templa aedificantem, tamquam non iidem ubique di immortales sint, sed spoliis aliorum alii colendi exornandique! cum priusquam referretur appareret quid sentirent patres, relatione facta in unam omnes sententiam ierunt ut eae tegulae reportandae in templum locarentur piaculariaque Iunoni fierent. quae ad religionem pertinebant cum cura facta; tegulas relictas in area templi, quia reponendarum nemo artifex inire rationem potuerit, redemptores nuntiarunt.
(Livy 42.3)

In the same year (173 B.C.) the temple of Juno Lacinia was stripped off of its roof. Quintus Fulvius Flaccus as censor was building the temple to Fortuna Equestris which he had vowed while praetor in Spain during the Celtiberian war, striving zealously that there should be no temple in Rome larger or more splendid. Considering that it would add great beauty to the temple if the roof tiles were of marble, he set out for Bruttium and stripped the temple of Juno Lacinia of its tiles up to half their number, thinking that these would be sufficient to cover the building which was now being erected. Ships were made ready to load and transport them, the inhabitants being prevented by the censor’s high office from forbidding the sacrilege. When the censor returned the tiles were unloaded from the ships and were being taken to the temple. Although nothing was said as to where they were obtained, yet such an act could not be concealed. There was accordingly an outcry in the senate: from all sides the demand was made that the consuls should lay the question before that body. But when the censor was summoned and entered the senate-house, one and all assailed him to his face far more violently: the most venerable shrine of that region, a shrine which neither Pyrrhus nor Hannibal had violated, he had not been content with violating but had shamefully robbed it of its covering and well-night destroyed it. The top, they said, had been torn from the temple and the bare framing laid open to be rotted by the rains. Was it for this, they demanded, that a censor was chosen to control behaviour? That the magistrate to whom had been entrusted, in the fashion of the forefathers, the duty of enforcing the repair of public shrines and of contracting for their maintenance, was himself roving through the cities of the allies plundering the temples and stripping off the roofs of sacred edifices! A thing, they continued, which might well seem unworthy if done to private buildings of the allies, he was doing when he destroyed the temples of the immortal gods, and fastening upon the Roman people the guilt of impiety, building temples with the ruins of temples, just as if the immortal gods were not the same everywhere, but that some should be worshipped and adorned with the spoils of others! When it was clear, before the vote was taken, what the sentiment of the Fathers was, when the motion was put, all unanimously decreed that a contract should be let for carrying the tiles back to the temple and that atonements should be offered to Juno. These matters which concerned expiation were scrupulously performed; the contractors reported that the tiles had been left in the court of the temple because no workman could devise a plan for replacing them. (tr. Alfred C. Schlesinger)

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