Type: 7 Temples
Colchester Temple 1 with no roof tiles
(Rendered in VRML by the RBO scriptorium)
See CAMVLODVNVM (Colchester, Essex)|
"... [at Camulodunum] the temple raised to the deified Claudius continually met the view, like the citadel of an eternal tyranny; while the priests, chosen for its service, were bound under the pretext of religion to pour out their fortunes like water. ..." (Tacitus Annals XIV.xxxi)
So far, no textual remains, either monumental or otherwise, have been recovered from the site. Indeed, the only references we have that indicate that one of the temples at Camulodunum was dedicated to Claudius are both Classical. The first mention was by Seneca, the personal tutor of Claudius' adopted son and successor Nero, neither of whom held Claudius in any esteem (vide infra). This merely confirmed that a temple to Claudius existed somewhere in Britain. Further confirmation as to the actual location of the temple within the province was later given by the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, when describing some of the causes of the Boudiccan rebellion (vide supra).
"... He [Claudius] wants to become a god, does he? Isn't it enough for him to have a temple in Britain, have savages worship him, and pray they'll find him a Merciful Clod." (Seneca The Apocolocyntosis VIII.iii)
The podium of this massive temple measures about 80 ft. wide, 105 ft. long and about 11 ft. high. The structure was not solid, the central portion being constructed of four large sand-filled vaults, probably in order to conserve stone, a rare commodity in these parts. This base survives to this day, underlying the Norman castle. The width of the podium suggests that it was fronted by 8 columns (octastyle), with centres spaced about 11 ft. apart, with a row of 11 columns spaced 10 ft. 4 ins. down each side; there would also have been a row of 'engaged' columns along the rear wall of the building. Although none of these columns have come to light, it is thought that they would have measured about 3½ ft. in diameter and would, therefore have risen to a height of around 35 ft. above the podium. The temple was built around the year A.D.50, dedicated to the then emperor Claudius, and was razed during the revolt of Boudica in the winter of 60/61, after which parts of it's original superstructure were re-used in the building of a walled enclosure around the central temple. Whatever structure that replaced the original temple of Claudius was removed and re-used by the Normans when they built their castle motte on the site.
This square temple lies NW of the town within a temenos enclosure. The portico is 63 ft. square with walls about 2 ft. thick, the cella is 38 ft. square with walls around 3½ ft. thick. The temple faced south-east. There are four building phases known: (i) the original temple with temenos dates from the late-1st century. (ii) gravel was added outside the temple building. (iii) more gravel added outside the temenos; this phase allowed to fall into ruin. (iv) in the late-4th century the temple building was dismantled and replaced with more gravel. (Type I)
This square temple lies outside the temenos of Sheepen Farm 1. The portico measures 41½ x 36 ft., the cella 23 x 18½ ft., the outer wall about 2 ft. thick, the inner only 1½ ft. thick, which must have supported a wooden superstructure. The temple faced south-east. Built during the 3rd century, fell into disuse during the 4th. (Type IId or IIe, possibly IIId/e)
These two square temples share a temenos about 200 yards to the north-east of Sheepen Farm 1. Both temples faced south-east:
This temple site, within the grounds of the Royal Grammar School at Colchester, lay just to the west of the Roman road between Colchester and London, past the temple at Gosbecks in the south-west. There are several phases evident in its construction:
Several artefacts have been recovered from pits within the enclosure, including second-century pottery and coins ranging from Claudius to Constans (AD41 to 350), with a preponderance of Trajanic and Hadrianic issues, which suggest a construction date of the stone temple sometime during the reign of these two emperors (AD98 to 138).
The most interesting finds came in the form of two bronze plaques, one dedicated to Silvanus Callirius and another to Silvanus alone, which very likely point to Colchester Temple 6 being consecrated to the Latin god of woodland and good hunting. Callirius is a Celtic god whose name may be translated 'King of the Woods', here conflated with the Roman god who the natives deemed was closest in nature to their local hunting deity.
|DEO SILVANO CALLIRIO D CINTVSMVS AERARIVS VSLM||DEO SILVANO HERMES VSLM|
|"To the god Silvanus Callirius,¹ Decimus Cintusmus, coppersmith, willingly and deservedly fulfilled his vow."||"To the god Silvanus, Hermes willingly and deservedly fulfilled his vow."|
|(RIB 194; bronze plate)||(RIB 195; bronze ansate plate)|
Located outside the Balkerne Gate beneath St. Mary's Hospital. It is uncertain whether this structure represents a square temple or a funerary monument. The outer portico measures about 35 ft. square, the inner cella about 18 ft. square. Being completely robbed-out, the thickness of its walls and its orientation remain unknown.
This building lies just outside the south-west corner of the enclosed town. It is about 110 feet long (c.33.5m) with an apse at its eastern end. Just outside the building was a pit or well about 6 feet deep (c.1.8m) which contained human bones, a silver torque and ring, widely dated pottery and 188 coins ranging from Nerva to Honorius though mostly of 4th century date. It is very likely that this pit contains votive deposits, and if so, the associated apsidal building is a possible candidate for some sort of temple or shrine. An altarstone dedicated to the Matres Sulevis was found nearby (vide RIB 192 infra), and it is possible that the altarstone and building are related.
|MATRIBVS SVLEVIS SIMILIS ATTI F CI CANT VSLM|
|"To the Sulevi mothers,¹ Similis the son of Attius, of the Civitas Cantiacorum,² willingly and deservedly fulfills his vow."|
(RIB 192; statue or altar base)