2.3.1 – A bronze Athena and a Temple of Octavia

ἐν μέσῳ δὲ τῆς ἀγορᾶς ἐστιν Ἀθηνᾶ χαλκῆ: τῷ βάθρῳ δὲ αὐτῆς ἐστι Μουσῶν ἀγάλματα ἐπειργασμένα. ὑπὲρ δὲ τὴν ἀγοράν ἐστιν Ὀκταβίας ναὸς ἀδελφῆς Αὐγούστου βασιλεύσαντος Ῥωμαίων μετὰ Καίσαρα τὸν οἰκιστὴν Κορίνθου τῆς νῦν.

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This paragraph appears to refer to what the excavators named Temple E. Yet as Hutton points out, “Octavia is not known to be the recipient of major cult honors anywhere in the Greek east, and there is certainly no known reason why the Corinthians would honor her with their most opulent temple” (Hutton, Describing Greece 168).  If Pausanias is not correct in identifying the temple as Octavia’s, to what divinity was it dedicated?  Since Corinth is the Roman capital of Achaea, Walbank (BSA 84 [1989] 361-94) and Torelli (in Knoepfler and Pierart 2001) have argued that Temple E could be the Capitolium, the home of the Capitoline triad Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. Spaeth, however, points out that “it was not unreasonable” for Pausanias to think that a temple of imperial cult could be dedicated to a woman, “for women of the imperial family had a major role in the imperial cult throughout the empire” (76).

Hutton, William. Describing Greece. Cambridge 2005.

Spaeth, Barbette Stanley. “Imperial Cult in Roman Corinth: A Response to Karl Galinsky’s ‘The Cult of the Roman Emperor: Uniter or Divider?'” Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult. Edd. J. Brodd and J. L. Reed. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011. 61-81.

Torelli, Mario. “Pausania a Corinto. Un intellectuale greco del secondo secolo e la propaganda imperiale romana.” Editer, traduire, commenter Pausanias en l’an 2000. Edd. D. Knoepfler and M. Pierart. Geneva 2001. 135-84.

Walbank, Mary. “Pausanias, Octavia, and Temple E at Corinth.” BSA 84 (1989) 361-94.

Temple E (Corinth Computer Project)



Capital of Temple E, restored. Corinth Image: BW 1960 055 30
Drawing of Temple E, column and entablature, restored. Corinth Image: BW 1960 055 29.