What would be the idiomatic way to say "hall of fame" (a structure housing memorials to famous or illustrious individuals) in Latin?

I feel like "templum/aedes gloariae/famae/honoris" would be equally good. I don't know enough about the nuances between these terms.

1 Answer 1


The Romans made wax masks called imagines of their illustrious family members. Typically, when someone attained a senatorial rank (aedilis or above), they would press their face into wax, which would make a mask. Illustrious clans would show off these masks in their atrium. This is probably the closest thing we have to an actual "hall" of fame.

To describe these family members, you have a variety of words at your disposal. Very often they would be clari or nobilissimi, and both words are suitable for this sort of thing.

I suppose one can argue that Cornelius Nepos' De Viris Inlustribus functions a bit like a "hall of fame" for famous people. It is made up of a series of biographies divided up by profession. Sadly, most of it is gone. Suetonius and later Jerome uses the title (using the assimilated ill- for inl-) for their versions of the project, so the word is attractive for this purpose.

Putting this all together and choosing this last word, you get:

Atrium Illustrium ("Atrium of the Illustrious Ones")

I removed the Viris to keep it gender neutral, but if this hall of fame is for some group in particular, you can add that to it.


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