a building containing the offices of the censors, some
at least of their records, and some of the laws on bronze tablets (Liv.
; xlv. 15
; Fest. 241 ; Serv. ad Aen. i. 726
; Gran. Licin. 15).
It is also said to have served as the place of detention of the Thurian
hostages in 212 B.C. (Liv. xxv. 7
. 12) and for the torture of the slaves
during the trial of Milo (Cic. pro Mil. 59). It was restored in 194 B.C.
(Liv. xxxiv. 44
) and again with great magnificence by Asinius Pollio
(Suet. Aug. 29), who established here the first public library in Rome
(Isid. Orig. 6. 5; Ov. Trist. iii. 1
. 72; v. BIBLIOTHECA ASINI POLLIONIS
It is not to be confused with the Aedes Libertatis on the Aventine, and
probably not with the shrine or monument that is marked with the word
Libertatis on the Marble Plan in the north apse of the basilica Ulpia
(see FORUM TRAIANI, p. 242). Three inscriptions refer to this atrium
in the first century A.D. (CIL 470, 472, 10025).
The first runs thus: Senatus populusque Romanus Libertati
large letters on a marble slab); and the second, Libertati ab. imp.
Nerva Caesare Aug. anno ab urbe condita DCCCXXXVIII, XIIII K. Oct.
Hulsen supposes, very naturally, that the first
inscription belonged to the dedicatory inscription of a shrine with the
statue of Libertas (near the curia, not on the Capitol) under which the
second inscription could very well have stood (Mitt. 1889, 240
There is no other reference until the sixth century, when an inscription
was set up in some part of the curia as follows (CIL vi. 1794
domino nostro Augusto et gloriosissimo rege Theoderico Va... ex
com(es) domesticorum in atrio Libertatis quae vetustate squaloreque
confecta erant refecit
. The restoration was obviously an important
one, and Mommsen (Hermes, 1888, 631-633) has collected several references to the building in Cassiodorus and Ennodius. Of other earlier
references to the building (Ov. Fast. iv. 624
Tac. Hist. i. 31
; Serv. ad
Aen. i. 726
: cf. also Babelon i. p. 472 ; but cf. BM. Rep. i. p. 399, n. 3)
the only one that has topographical value is in Cicero's letter to Atticus
(iv. 16), where he says that he and Oppius proposed to extend the new
forum of Caesar usque ad atrium Libertatis.
This extension must have
been along the line of the successive imperial fora, passing the comitium,
but how far from the old forum this atrium was we do not know. The
history of the restored building of Pollio, and its relation to that part of
the curia that bore its name in the sixth century, are unknown. The
earlier atrium was probably not on the site of the later curia, and it was
probably destroyed or used for other purposes before the sixth century
(FUR 28-32; Jord. i. 2
. 460 ff.; BC 1889, 362
; DE i. 760
; Roscher ii.
; Boyd, Public Libraries in Rome, Chicago, 1915, 3-5, 31; RE