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I've been reading Ritual Landscapes of South-East Britain (2008, David Rudling). In a chapter on the Wanborough, Surrey Temple complex the author discusses how one temple was built in the late first or early second century and within a short amount of time (no more than 50 years) it had collapsed due to structural weakness. Immediately afterwards another temple was constructed adjacent to the previous.

This got me thinking about how the population would have reacted to this, I'm aware that no source from Roman-Britain discusses the topic, but, do we have any accounts from the wider Roman world discussing or reporting the collapse of a temple? What was the immediate reaction? How was this incident understood? Were any punishments meted out?

Ideally this wouldn't include responses to natural disasters, as the apparent cause (e.g. volcano, earthquake) would have been obviously different to a structural fault.

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    I'm not aware of any references to this (other than temples destroyed by fire). The closest you might get are the measures taken against dodgy Insula, especially height restrictions imposed by Augustus and others. – Lars Bosteen Nov 25 '20 at 9:12
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    Looks to me that you should clarify perhaps that neither seismic, weather-related nor wartime causes seem to be your focus? Instead: mere structural integrity failure caused by gravity and architectural sloppiness (or no other readily apparent reason)? Also, apart from the huge time-span you inquire about, an answer just saying 'twas rebuilt' or 'sites more remote were often abandoned' might be another problem I see coming into the box below (clarify title to better match 'popular reaction/interpretation'). – LаngLаngС Nov 25 '20 at 13:55
  • @LаngLаngС I thought about specifying against natural disasters, I figured the amount of possible sources might be so thin that even natural disasters could be educational – Charlie Tizzard Ó Kevlahan Nov 25 '20 at 14:25
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    No answer, but a few sources to begin with: The lawyers hold that the ground of a collapsed temple was stil holy (sacer) (Marc. D. 1,8,6,3; Pap. D. 18,1,73 pr.; Inst. Iust. 2,1,8). Pliny the Younger asks Emepror Trajan, if he can build a bath on the side of a collapsed temple partim spoliata, partim neglecta ("parts of it being stolen and parts being allowed to decay"). This was denied, for the case that the temple was really completed and consecrated before, Plin. Ep. 10, 70 f. The collapse of a temple seems not to be seen as that uncommon. – K-HB Nov 25 '20 at 16:16

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