Basilica JuliaJulius Caesar's basilica on the Forum Romanum Forum Romanum / Rome / Italy
The Basilica Julia was built in 54-48 BCE by Julius Caesar as a part of his reorganisation of the Forum Romanum, where it replaced the Basilica Sempronia. It is located on the S. side of the main square of the Forum Romanum, between the Temple of Saturn and the Temple of Castor and Pollux.
Julius Caesar started construction in 54 BCE, but it was still unfinished at his death. It was built on the site of the Basilica Sempronia and a series of shops, the tabernae veteres, that were all demolished.
Augustus finished the building after Caesar's death, but had to reconstruct it again shortly after, due to its destruction by fire in 9 BCE. It was dedicated again in 2 BCE, this time in the name of Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar, Augustus' designated heirs at the time.
The basilica was later damaged much by the fire in 283 CE, and restored a few years after by Diocletian. It was again destroyed when Alaric sacked the city in 410 CE.The entrance
The Basilica Julia was of huge proportions. The basilica rested on a low podium, seven steps high on the E. side and just one on the W. side, due to the sloping terrain. Of outer dimensions 101×49m, the central nave of the basilica was 82×18m. The four lateral aisles, two on each side, were two storeys high, with vaulted ceiling and arches decorated by semi-columns. The central nave was three storeys high.
The function of the Basilica Julia was to house tribunals and other activities from the Forum when weather didn't permit outdoor meetings. The central nave probably divided in four by wooden removable structures to allow the hearing of more cases at a time. The basilica also housed some administrative offices of the city.
Game boards and graffiti are incised in the steps and in the pavement of the side aisles by idling visitors to the Forum. Some of this can still be seen on the side of the main square of the forum.
The building was in ruin already in late Antiquity, and subsequently stripped of all reusable material, i.e., almost everything.
Very little of the building remains now. The basic floor plan can be seen, and some parts of brick walls remain towards the Temple of Saturn, some bases of statues still in their original position, and the four step podium remain. The brick column bases are reconstructions of the 19th century.
The area of the basilica is usually enclosed with a fence, but it can be seen from the outside.
- LacusCurtius: Platner: A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome
- LacusCurtius: Hülsen: Il Foro Romano - Storia e Monumenti
(Text in Italian — A very good diagram of the basilica)
- Kalervo Koskimies: Vedute di Roma
(Many good photographs)
Prints of the photographs are available — read more here.
The pictures above are taken in the following locations:
- Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy (9 photographs )
- Tabularium, Capitolium, Rome, Italy (6 photographs )
- Capitoline Hill, Rome, Italy (3 photographs )
- Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy (1 photograph )
- Rome, Italy (1 photograph )
- Basilica Sempronia - An early republican basilica, replaced by the Basilica Julia (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Central square - The open area of the Forum Romanum (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Gaius Caesar - Grandson and designated heir to emperor Augustus (Romans, Historical Persons)
- Julius Caesar - Roman patrician, politician, writer, reformator, general, dictator and god (Romans, Historical Persons)
- Lucius Caesar - Grandson and designated heir to emperor Augustus (Romans, Historical Persons)
- Temple of Augustus - A lost temple dedicated to the deified Augustus (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Temple of Castor and Pollux - Temple vowed after the battle of Lake Regillus in 496 BCE (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Temple of Saturn - The first temple in the Forum Romanum (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Tiberius - Roman Emperor (14-37 CE) (Romans, Historical Persons)
- Arch of Constantine - Triumphal arch celebrating the victory of Constantine I over Maxentius, 312 CE (Rome, Italy)
- Arch of Tiberius - A lost triumphal arch from the time of Tiberus (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Basilica - A public building used as tribunal and market place (Architecture, Lexicon)
- Plutei of Trajan - Two reliefs showing Trajan doing acts of beneficence (Curia Julia, Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Temple of Caesar - Temple dedicated in 29 BC by Augustus to deified Julius Caesar (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
- Vicus Tuscus - The ancient road from the Roman Forum to the Velabrum (Forum Romanum, Rome, Italy)
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