One of the most intact and well-proportioned temples remaining from the ancient world, the Maison Carrée ("square house") was built at the end of the first century BC. It contains a 16 BC dedication to Rome and the emperior Augustus, and another dating from 1 AD to the grandsons of Augustus, Lucius and Gaius. Measuring 86 by 43 feet, and similar in form to the Temple of Augustus and Livia in Vienne, the Maison Carrée has slender columns 30 ft high with Corinthian capitals. The architrave over the columns has fine relief carvings of rosettes and acanthus leaves. The Maison Carrée served in the Middle Ages as a canon's house, and as the town hall of Nîmes for a period after 1823. Today it is still used occasionally for art exhibitions.
[Fig.1: The Maison Carrée at Nîmes (photo: Athena Review).]
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