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Rostra

(properly “the ships' prows,” from rostrum, the iron-bound prow [literally, “beak”] of a ship). The orators' platform in the Forum at Rome, so called because it was embellished with the bronze prows of the ships of the Latin fleet captured at Antium in B.C. 338 (Livy, viii. 14). Besides these it was also decorated with other monuments of the greatness of Rome, such as the Laws of the Twelve Tables, the Columna Rostrata (q.v.) of Duilius, and numerous statues of men of mark. Originally it stood between the part of the Forum called the Comitium and the Forum proper, opposite the Curia; but in B.C. 44 Caesar moved it to the north end of the Forum under the Capitol (Cic. Phil. ix. 2), and here built up part of it by the employment of the old materials. It was not completed until after his death, by Antonius. This new platform, which was afterwards repeatedly restored, appears by the existing remains to have consisted of an erection eleven feet higher than the pavement of the Forum, about seventy-eight feet in length, and thirty-three feet in depth. The front was decorated with two rows of ships' prows. The way up to the platform was at the back. This platform also was used down to the latest times of the Empire as a place for setting up honorary statues. The Rostra Iulia, so called to distinguish it from the other rostra, was the projecting podium of the Hero üm of Iulius Caesar, built by Augustus. Affixed to this were the prows of the vessels captured at Actium (Dio Cass. li. 19; Middleton, Ancient Rome, p. 179). See Forum.

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