By Anne Leader
Julius Caesar dedicated the Temple of Venus Genetrix in Rome on this day in 46 BCE. Caesar traced his ancestry to Aeneas, son of the Roman goddess of love and beauty. In dedicating the temple to Venus Genetrix, Caesar drew attention to her role as mother. Typical of Roman temples, the sanctuary was raised on a high podium and held a cult statue of Venus as well as portrait statues of Caesar himself. The original temple was destroyed by fire in 80 CE and was rebuilt by Emperor Domitian and restored by Trajan. Three columns survive from the second temple.
Temple of Venus Genetrix, rebuilt by Trajan 113 CE, Rome
Plan of Imperial Fora, Rome
Silver denarius of Julius Caesar, reverse: Aeneas carrying palladium and his father Anchises, 47-46 BCE. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Rogers Fund, 1908.170.80