|Location||Regione VIII Forum Romanum|
|Built in||44–29 BC|
|Built by/for||Julius Caesar|
|Type of structure||Curia|
|Related|| List of ancient monuments|
The Curia Julia (Latin: Curia Iulia, Italian: Curia Iulia) is the third named curia , or senate house, in the ancient city of Rome. It was built in 44 BC, when Julius Caesar replaced Faustus Cornelius Sulla's reconstructed Curia Cornelia, which itself had replaced the Curia Hostilia. Caesar did so to redesign both spaces within the Comitium and the Roman Forum. The alterations within the Comitium reduced the prominence of the Senate and cleared the original space. The work, however, was interrupted by Caesar's assassination at the Theatre of Pompey, where the Senate had been meeting temporarily while the work was completed. The project was eventually finished by Caesar's successor, Augustus Caesar, in 29 BC.
The Curia Julia is one of a handful of Roman structures that survive mostly intact. This is due to its conversion into the basilica of Sant'Adriano al Foro in the 7th century and several later restorations. However, the roof, the upper elevations of the side walls and the rear façade are modern and date from the remodeling of the deconsecrated church, in the 1930s.
There were many curiae during the history of the Roman civilization, many of them existing at the same time. Curia means simply "meeting house". While the senate met regularly at the curia within the comitium space, there were many other structures designed for it to meet when the need occurred: for example, meeting with someone who was not allowed to enter the sanctified curias of the Senate.
The Curia Julia is the third named curia within the comitium. Each structure was rebuilt a number of times but originated from a single Etruscan temple, built to honor the truce of the Sabine conflict. When this original temple was destroyed, Tullus Hostilius rebuilt it and gave it his name. It lasted for a few hundred years until fire again destroyed the curia, and the new structure was dedicated to its financial benefactor, Cornelius Sulla.)
In fact, the structure now in the forum is the second incarnation of Caesar's curia. From 81 to 96, the Curia Julia was restored under Domitian. In 283, it was heavily damaged by a fire, at the time of Emperor Carinus.From 284 to 305, the Curia was then rebuilt by Diocletian. It is the remnants of Diocletian's building that stands today. In 412, the Curia was restored again, this time by Urban Prefect Annius Eucharius Epiphanius.
On July 10, 1923, the Italian government acquired the Curia Julia and the adjacent convent of the Church of S. Adriano from the Collegio di Spagna for approximately 16,000 lire.
The exterior of the Curia Julia features brick-faced concrete with a huge buttress at each angle. The lower part of the front wall was decorated with slabs of marble. The upper part was covered with stucco imitation of white marble blocks. A single flight of steps leads up to the bronze doors. The current bronze doors are modern replicas; the original bronze doors were transferred to the Basilica of St. John Lateran by Pope Alexander VII in 1660.
A coin was found within the doors during their transfer.That allowed archaeologists to date repairs made to the Senate House and the addition of the bronze doors to the reign of Emperor Domitian (AD 81–96). The original appearance of the Senate House is known from an Emperor Augustus denarius of 28 BC, which shows the veranda held up by columns on the front wall of the building.
The interior of the Curia Julia is fairly austere. The hall is 25.20 m long by 17.61 m wide. There are three broad steps that could have fitted five rows of chairs or a total of about 300 senators.The walls are stripped but were originally veneered in marble two thirds of the way up. The two main features of the interior of the Curia Julia are its Altar of Victory and its striking floor.
At the far end of the hall could be found the "Altar of Victory".It consisted of a statue of Victoria, the personification of victory, standing on a globe, extending a wreath. The altar was placed in the Curia by Augustus to celebrate Rome's military prowess, more specifically his own victory at the Battle of Actium, in 31 BC. The altar was removed in the 5th century in 408 AD, as part of a general backlash against the pagan traditions of Ancient Rome after the rise of Christianity.
The other main feature of the Curia's interior, the floor, is in contrast to the building's colorless exterior. Featured on the floor is the Roman art technique of opus sectile in which materials are cut and inlaid into walls and floors to make pictures of patterns. That is described by Claridge as " stylized rosettes in squares alternate with opposed pairs of entwined cornucopias in rectangles, all worked in green and red porphyry on backgrounds of Numidian yellow Phrygian purple".
In his Res Gestae Divi Augusti , Augustus writes of the project: "I built the Senate House... with the power of the state entirely in my hands by universal consent, I extinguished the flames of civil wars, and then relinquished my control, transferring the Republic back to the authority of the Senate and the Roman people. For this service I was named Augustus by a decree of the Senate".In fact, the relinquishment of power was truer in word than in deed; the construction of the Curia Julia coincided with the end of Republican Rome.
In the past, the Curia Hostilia and Comitium "were oriented by the cardinal points of the compass, which may have marked them out as specially augurated space and at any rate set them off obliquely from the Forum rectangle that formed over the centuries". Breaking with tradition, the Curia Julia was reoriented by Julius Caesar "on more 'rational' lines, squaring it up with the rectangular lines of the Forum and even more closely with his new forum, to which the new Senate House formed an architectural appendage more in keeping with the Senate's increasing subordination". The reduced power of the Roman Senate during the Imperial Period is reflected by the Curia Julia's less prominent location and orientation.
Still, the two buildings had similarities. Both the Curia Hostilia's Tabula Valeria and the Curia Julia's Altar of Victory in the Curia Julia, attest to the enduring preeminence of Rome's military despite the reduced role of the Senate.
The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.
Curia in ancient Rome referred to one of the original groupings of the citizenry, eventually numbering 30, and later every Roman citizen was presumed to belong to one. While they originally likely had wider powers, they only came to meet for a few purposes by the end of the Republic: in order to confirm the election of magistrates with imperium, to witness the installation of priests, the making of wills, and certain adoptions.
The pomerium or pomoerium was a religious boundary around the city of Rome and cities controlled by Rome. In legal terms, Rome existed only within its pomerium; everything beyond it was simply territory (ager) belonging to Rome.
The Curia Hostilia was one of the original senate houses or "curiae" of the Roman Republic. It was believed to have begun as a temple where the warring tribes laid down their arms during the reign of Romulus. During the early monarchy, the temple was used by senators acting as council to the king. Tullus Hostilius was believed to have replaced the original structure after fire destroyed the converted temple. It may have held historic significance as the location of an Etruscan mundus and altar. The Lapis Niger, a series of large black marble slabs, was placed over the altar where a series of monuments was found opposite the Rostra. This curia was enlarged in 80 BC by Lucius Cornelius Sulla during his renovations of the comitium. That building burned down in 53 BC when the supporters of the murdered Publius Clodius Pulcher used it as a pyre to cremate his body.
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The Rostra was a large platform built in the city of Rome that stood during the republican and imperial periods. Speakers would stand on the rostra and face the north side of the comitium towards the senate house and deliver orations to those assembled in between. It is often referred to as a suggestus or tribunal, the first form of which dates back to the Roman Kingdom, the Vulcanal.
Cosa was a Latin colony founded in southwestern Tuscany in 273 BC, on land confiscated from the Etruscans, to solidify the control of the Romans and offer the Republic a protected port. The Etruscan site may have been where modern Orbetello stands; a fortification wall in polygonal masonry at Orbetello's lagoon may be in phase with the walls of Cosa. The position of Cosa is distinct, rising some 113 metres above sea level and is sited 140 km northwest of Rome on the Tyrrhenian Sea coast, on a hill near the small town of Ansedonia. The town experienced a hard life and was never truly a prosperous Roman city, although it has assumed a position of prominence in Roman archaeology owing to the circumstances of its excavation. After the foundation, wars of the 3rd century BC affected the town. New colonists arrived in 197 BC. Cosa seems to have prospered until it was sacked in the 60s BC, perhaps by pirates - although an earthquake and unrest related to the Catilinarian Conspiracy have also been cited as reasons. This led to a re-foundation under Augustus and then life continued until the 3rd century. One of the last textual references to Cosa comes from the work of Rutilius Claudius Namatianus in his De reditu suo. In the passage 1.285-90, Rutilius remarks that by AD 417 the site of Cosa was deserted and could be seen to be in ruins. He further suggests that a plague of mice had driven the people of Cosa away.
The Basilica Julia was a structure that once stood in the Roman Forum. It was a large, ornate, public building used for meetings and other official business during the Roman Empire. Its ruins have been excavated. What is left from its classical period are mostly foundations, floors, a small back corner wall with a few arches that are part of both the original building and later Imperial reconstructions and a single column from its first building phase.
The Theatre of Pompey was a structure in Ancient Rome built during the latter part of the Roman Republican era by Pompey the Great. Completed in 55 BC, it was the first permanent theatre to be built in Rome.
The Temple of Caesar or Temple of Divus Iulius, also known as Temple of the Deified Julius Caesar, delubrum, heroon or Temple of the Comet Star, is an ancient structure in the Roman Forum of Rome, Italy, located near the Regia and the Temple of Vesta.
The Imperial Fora are a series of monumental fora, constructed in Rome over a period of one and a half centuries, between 46 BC and 113 AD. The forums were the center of the Roman Republic and of the Roman Empire.
Faustus Cornelius Sulla was a Roman senator. Faustus was the only surviving son of the Dictator of Rome Lucius Cornelius Sulla and his fourth wife Caecilia Metella, and thus a member of one of the most ancient patrician families, the Cornelii. After his father's death in 78 BC, he and his twin sister Fausta were brought up by his guardian, his father's friend Lucullus.
The Forum of Caesar, also known by the Latin Forum Iulium or Forum Julium, Forum Caesaris, was a forum built by Julius Caesar near the Forum Romanum in Rome in 46 BC.
The Comitium was the original open-air public meeting space of Ancient Rome, and had major religious and prophetic significance. The name comes from the Latin word for "assembly". The Comitium location at the northwest corner of the Roman Forum was later lost in the city's growth and development, but was rediscovered and excavated by archeologists at the turn of the twentieth century. Some of Rome's earliest monuments; including the speaking platform known as the Rostra, the Column Maenia, the Graecostasis and the Tabula valeria were part of or associated with the Comitium.
The Lapis Niger is an ancient shrine in the Roman Forum. Together with the associated Vulcanal it constitutes the only surviving remnants of the old Comitium, an early assembly area that preceded the Forum and is thought to derive from an archaic cult site of the 7th or 8th century BC.
The Curia Cornelia was a place where the Roman Senate assembled beginning c. 52 BC. It was the largest of all the Curiae built in Rome. Its construction took over a great deal of the traditional comitium space and brought the senate building into a commanding location within the Roman Forum as a whole. It was the Senate House of the time of Julius Caesar and is significant because its location was moved by him to diminish the Senate's dominance within the City and Republic.
The House of Augustus, or the Domus Augusti, is the first major site upon entering the Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy. Historically, this house has been identified as the primary place of residence for the emperor Augustus. The Domus Augusti is located near the so-called Hut of Romulus and other sites that have connections to the foundation of Rome. This residence contained a complex of structures that were situated around the Temple of Apollo Palatinus.
The Curia of Pompey, sometimes referred to as the Curia Pompeia, was one of several named meeting halls from Republican Rome of historic significance. A curia was a designated structure for meetings of the senate. The Curia of Pompey was located at the entrance to the Theater of Pompey. While the main senate house was being moved from the Curia Cornelia to a new Curia Julia, the senate would meet in this smaller building. It is best known as where members of the Roman Senate murdered Gaius Julius Caesar. It was attached to the porticus directly behind the theatre section and was a Roman exedra, with a curved back wall and several levels of seating. In "A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome" by L. Richardson, Jr., Richardson states that after Caesar's murder, Augustus Caesar removed the large statue of Pompey and had the hall walled up. Richardson cited Suetonius that it was later made into a latrine, as stated by Cassius Dio.
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