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COLUMNA´RIUM a tax imposed in the time of Julius Caesar upon the pillars that supported a house. (Cic. ad Att, 13.6) It was probably imposed by the lex sumtuaria of Julius Caesar, and was intended to check the passion for the building of palaces, which then prevailed at Rome. The Ostiarium was a similar tax. [OSTIARIUM] The columnarium levied by Metellus Scipio in Syria, in B.C. 49-48, was a tax of a similar kind, but had nothing to do with the tax to which Cicero alludes in the passage quoted above. This columnarium was simply an illegal means of extorting money from the provincials. (Caes. B.C. 3.32.)


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