By Dr Nigel Pollard
Last updated 2011-02-17
Jupiter, the Capitoline Triad
At a relatively early date, the sky-god Jupiter (generally equated with the Greek god Zeus) took on great importance in the Roman state religion.
His main temple in Rome, that of Jupiter Optimus Maximus ('The Best and Greatest') was established on the Capitoline Hill in 509 BC at the beginning of the Roman Republic, and was rebuilt several times throughout Roman history.
The interior of the temple was divided into three rooms, dedicated not only to Jupiter but also to his consort Juno and the goddess Minerva. Collectively they are known as the Capitoline Triad, and when Roman power had expanded to encompass an empire, the central temple of many Roman cities - in Italy and further afield - was often dedicated to this Capitoline Triad.
The image shown here depicts the Capitolium (central temple dedicated to the Capitoline Triad) at Sbeitla in modern Tunisia, part of the Roman province of Africa.
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