COLUMNS OF THE TEMPLE OF AUGUSTUS
The Temple of Augustus was a Roman temple of worship dedicated to Augustus Caesar; built in Barcino, a Roman colony founded with the permission accorded by Augustus himself, that in time would come to be the city of Barcelona. It was the heart of the Forum on the top of Mount Taber that sets it at today’s Barri Gòtic.
With the passing of time it was left to decay until, in the late XIX century, three of its columns were unearthed during construction works of the central office of the Catalonia Hiking Centre. A fourth was uncovered in the Plaça del Rei and later integrated as part of the structure that we now have the privilege of visiting. It appears that the hypothesis that has this temple dedicated to Augustus, is corroborated by Puig i Cadafalch himself who, in fact, refers to it as “peripteros” (temple) and defines it as “hexastyle”, that is, containing a row of six columns at its front and back, each wing lined by a row of eleven (including those on its corners).
The set is placed upon a podium that in height corresponds to a third of the length of each column. Architect Antoni Celles had conducted exhaustive research on this temple, upon request of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, at the time demolishing works were underway between Carrer Paradís and Carrer Llibreteria and the columns unconvered; there existence was already known, artist Francesc Parcerisas had portrayed himself in a room on the floor at level with one of the capitals, in fact, its windows catch a glimpse of the ruins of another of these ancient Roman columns.
Celles himself, who mistakenly identified the temple as Carthaginian, adds to his memories an elevation noticeable on its wing, observing six columns of which only four remain today. Of the five lateral and two posterior (with one shared in its corner), three were taken down in order to proceed with construction works.
Students from the School of Arts and Crafts, recuperated fragments of the shaft, the capital in better condition and a base from another, and rebuilt one of the columns in Plaça del Rei alongside the Capilla de Santa Águeda (Saint Agatha Chapel) once an archaeological warehouse. This column, once again relocated, is the one to the right of the two originals from the structure today set on display.
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