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© Copyright 2018

Gianluca Pica
 


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BLOG OF A TOUR GUIDE IN ROME

29/07/2019, 13:13

#unaguidaturisticaroma, #atourguiderome, #romeisus, #rome, #roma, #archeologia, #archeology, #basilica



BASILICA-OF-MAXENTIUS,-SYMBOL-OF-THE-ROMAN-FORUM
BASILICA-OF-MAXENTIUS,-SYMBOL-OF-THE-ROMAN-FORUM


 The massive ruins of the Basilica of Maxentius are icons of Rome, evidences of the time when Rome was a great Empire...



One of the greatest symbols of the ancient Rome is represented by those three enormous vaults that all the visitors of the Roman Forum could visit, or remains saw by the spectactors of the Olimpic Games of the 1960, when they were used for the wrestling matches. I’m talking about the majestic walls of the so called Basilica of Maxentius, the largest civil basilica of the ancient Rome. Maxentius, a man who improved several urbanistic projects at the beginning of the IV century AD, probably reused the previous walls of the "Horrea Piperitaria" (warehouses used for the spices), in order to release this fantastic architectonical work of art. By the ancient literary sources it was called also "Basilica Nova" or "Basilica Costantiniana", and imagine how it was almost 300 feet long for more than 90 feet tall. It was would by Maxentius at the beginning of the IV century and probably the building was the headquarter of the "Prefettura Urbana" (one of the main offices of the Roman government). According to other literary sources the Basilica of Maxentius was also the headquarter of the "Secretarium Senatus", the spacial court which provided the trials against the members of the Roman Senate. The young Maxentius, following the same path left by other important politicians and emperors of Rome, used this building to improve his popularity. Just after his defeat at the Battle of Ponte Milvio, at the 312 d.C. the basilica was really inaugurated. And the inauguration was provide by the Maxentius’ enemy, Costantine. He brought the project at its end, changing the name and adding important elements, as the incredible Colossus (a huge statue depicting him). Or better, Costantine changed the previous incredible and colossal statue would by Maxentius adding his details and portrait. A perfect example of reuse! To have an idea about how really big was this statue (probably marble made with some bronze and golden elements), yoi should go to the Capitoline Museums, where some pieces are host. But now try to use your imagination: the three amazing vaults that you can see today are just a part of a side wall, where a minor nave run delimitated by columns. On the other side other three vaults flanked the Roman Forum, creating the other long side of the basilica. Moreover the enormous central nave had four incredible pillars at the centre, architectonical elements which divided the space, as you can see through the map, meanwhile several apses opened both the long and the short side. The apse opened on the short side host the giant colossus would by Costantine and the wooden platform for the judges. It is a pity if today we can see just some ruins and nothing more, due to several reasons: first of all earthquakes, fires and simply the erosion (keep in mind that the Basilica of Maxentius is 1700 years old). It is also true that the stucco decorations and the bronze elements that made bright the whole place were recycled over the centuries. It was something usual because Rome, after the fall of the Roman Empire, became a sort of big quorry. For example the bronze slabs which stood at the roof were reused by the Pope Onorio I, at the 626 d.C., for some decorations of the St Peter Basilica. Anyway the Basilica of Maxentius was a game between curved and straight lines, a game of lights and decorations, something that made the building really massive, also for the ancient Roman standards. Looking at the impressive remains you can think how the Romans loves very much the big things... #romeisus #Rome #archeologia #atourguiderome #unaguidaturisticaroma #archeology #romanforum #roma


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