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A Glimpse of Living Antiquity: The Column of Jupiter

The Column of JupiterThe more-than- 9-meter high/ 28-foot tall Jupiter Column is a good example which shows how antiquity’s vibrant buildings and monuments can vividly reveal the past. The inscription at the foot of the column brings light to a turbulent chapter of Roman history during the time of the Emperor Nero. The words “Nero” and “pro salute” are intertwined

throughout imploring benefits for Nero’s welfare.

The column, broken into more than 2000 pieces, were found in 1905 in a construction site near an ancient merchants’ area. This was located in the area of present-day Mainz-Neustadt. Mainz’s merchants donated the column which were dedicated to the Emperor’s well-being. However, it is only by unusual chance that one can come to this conclusion today. After his death, Nero was exposed to have been the cause of the fire that destroyed much of Rome and was subsequently treated as an enemy of the state and was universally despised. Naturally, as a result of this change in public opinion, the inscription could not be allowed to remain. And so it was eradicated, however, obviously, not entirely.

Another facet of life was the co-existence of the Roman and Germanic religious cults which can also be ascertained by reading the columns. Some 28 relief-images portray Roman and Celtic divinities. Originally a statue of Jupiter crowned the column, however, all that remains is but merely a foot, a small finger and fragment of the lightning bolts held in the god’s hand.


The replica of the Jupiter Column stands and can be seen in front of the Landestag on the Grosse Bleiche, while the original is in the Stone Hall of the Landesmuseum.
in the web
 Landesmuseum Mainz