Abstract of Zink, Stephan. “Octavian’s Sanctuary of Apollo on the Palatine: Architecture, Site, and the Development of a Sacred Topography.”

Zink, Stephan.  “Octavian’s Sanctuary of Apollo on the Palatine: Architecture, Site, and the Development of a Sacred Topography.”  PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2011. [Rome]

Abstract:  The focus of this dissertation is the sanctuary of Apollo on the Palatine in Rome, which Octavian, the future Augustus, dedicated in 28 B.C. With its marble temple, splendid porticos, and a library, it was the imposing result of Octavian’s successful struggle to become the ‘first man’ in the Roman state. Like no other monument in Rome, the sanctuary of Apollo materializes the transition between the Roman Republic and Empire. Despite its critically important role in the religious and political history of the city, the archaeological remains of the sanctuary have never seen a full architectural and topographical documentation. This project represents the first comprehensive documentation and examination of the material remains preserved at the site, as conducted during nine seasons of new data collection and fieldwork. The results of this fieldwork form the basis for a new understanding of the sanctuary’s architecture and structural history. Both architectural drawings and 3D reconstructions are fundamental aspects of the study, and they provide the key tools in assessing the site’s development and changing functions over the course of nearly seven centuries. The detailed documentation now allows us to identify a series of successive construction phases dating from the Archaic to the Augustan period. New structural observations also force us to fundamentally rethink long-held assumptions about the topography of the Southwestern Palatine as well as its architecture and evolving functions. Contrary to current tenets, the sanctuary of Apollo was deeply embedded in the cultic functions of its site. Several Archaic cult sites determined both the orientation and the layout of all the later buildings on the site, including the structure currently identified as the “House of Octavian/Augustus.” Not a domestic complex, this structure reveals itself instead as the seat of various priestly collegia in the mid-1 st c. B.C. Thus, the Augustan sanctuary of Apollo now emerges as the latest stage in the century-long development of a sacred topography on the Southwestern Palatine.

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