In the religion of the early Romans there is no trace of the worship of Apollo. The Romans became acquainted with this divinity through the Greeks (see Apollo), and adopted all their notions and ideas about him from the latter people. There is no doubt that the Romans knew of his worship among the Greeks at a very early time, and tradition says that they consulted his oracle at Delphi even before the expulsion of the kings. But the first time that we hear of the worship of Apollo at Rome is in the year 430 BCE, when, for the purpose of averting a plague, a temple was raised to him, and soon after dedicated by the consul, C. Julius.1 A second temple was built to him in the year 350 BCE. One of these two (it is not certain which) stood outside the Porta Capena.

During the second Punic war, in 212 BCE, the ludi Apollinares were instituted in honor of Apollo.2 The worship of this divinity, however, did not form a very prominent part in the religion of the Romans till the time of Augustus, who, after the battle of Actium, not only dedicated to him a portion of the spoils, but built or embellished his temple at Actium, and founded a new one at Rome on the Palatine, and instituted quinquennial games at Actium.3



  1. Livy. History of Rome iv, 25, 29.
  2. History of Rome xxv, 12; Macrobius. Saturnalia i, 17; Dictionary of Antiquities, s.v. Ludi Apollinares.; comp. Ludi Saeculares.
  3. Suetonius. Divus Augustus, 31, 52; Dictionary of Antiquities, s.v. Aktia; Hartung. Die Religion der Römer. Vol. 2, 205.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.