* the new senate house begun by Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.
just before his assassination and continued by the triumvirs (Cass. Dio
; xlv. 17
; xlvii. 19
). It was completed and dedicated in 29 B.C.
by Augustus (Mon. Anc. iv. 1
: curiam et continens ei chalcidicum feci
; Suet. Calig. 60; Cass. Dio li. 22
). Like its predecessor, the
curia Hostilia, and the curia Pompeia, it was inaugurated as a templum
(Varro ap. Gell. xiv. 7
. 7). See also CIL vi. 877
a (=32324), 1718, 32326
(Act. Lud. Saec. Sever. i. 5
); s.c. de Mytilenaeis in Berl. Sitzber. 1889, 966
Augustus set up in it a statue of Victory (Dio li. 22
; v. VICTORIA, ARA)
and built an annex called the CHALCIDICUM
(q.v.). The Secretarium
Senatus, another annex of the senate house, probably also formed part
of the structure of Augustus, though we have no direct evidence of its
existence before the time of Diocletian.
The curia Iulia, like the older curia, was built in comitio (Plin. NH
, 131); in fact several senatus consulta which have come down
to us in their Greek form state that they were voted ἐν κομετίῳ
under Hadrian, however, is more explicit (in comitio in curia, EE ii.
The curia as restored by Augustus is believed by Hulsen (Neueste
Ausgr. 12, fig. 7), who had previously (HC 51) connected them
with the basilica Iulia, to be represented in coins of 29-27 B.C. (Cohen,
Aug. 122; BM. Rep. ii. 16
. 4358, 4359=Aug. 631, 632; cf. p. cxxiii,
n. 4, where it is referred to the temple of Julius; while Richmond (JRS
) wrongly refers it to a little shrine just outside the Atrium
of Augustus on the Palatine). The statue of Victory standing on a globe
which came from Tarentum is shown in the apex of the pediment, and is
represented on other coins of the same date (BM Aug. 622-3; Cohen,
Aug. 13; BM. Rep. ii. 14
, 15. 4356-7, where it is wrongly stated to have
been placed in the basilica Iulia).
Domitian restored the curia in 94 A.D. (Hieron. 161 1
), and it was no
doubt he who took the opportunity of dedicating the Chalcidicum to his
patron goddess Minerva, whence it acquired the name of Atrium Minervae
(Notit. Reg. VIII). This curia is represented in the famous Anaglypha
Traiani (see ROSTRA
). It is perhaps also represented in one of the reliefs
of the arch of Benevento (Mitt. 1892, 257
; SScR 194). The curia was
burnt down in the fire of Carinus, and rebuilt by Diocletian (Chron. 148),
and the existing building dates from his time.
We learn from sixteenth century drawings (Lanciani, Mem. L. 3. xi.
5-21 ; Mitt. 1895, 47-52
) that it formed part of a group with the Atrium
Minervae and the Secretarium Senatus.
The curia proper is a hall 25.20 metres by 17.61 metres, of brick-faced
concrete, with a huge buttress at each angle; the lower part of the front
wall was decorated with slabs of marble, while the upper part (like the
exterior of the thermae of Caracalla and Diocletian) was covered with
stucco in imitation of white marble blocks with heavily draughted joints.
The travertine consoles and the brick cornice which they support (which
are continued round the triangular pediment) were also coated with
stucco. A flight of steps led up to the entrance door, to which belonged
an epistyle bearing the inscription: [i]mperant[e... [n]eratius in...
The second line no doubt contained the name
of an unknown praefectus urbi (fifth century). When the building became
a church, a metrical (?) inscription was painted over it, of which only
the first word, aspice
, is preserved. Over the door were three large
windows. A small portion of the pavement of the interior, of various
coloured marbles, was recently exposed to view, but covered up again.
The marble facing of the internal walls was destroyed in 1562 (LR 266;
LS iii. 221
(for details, see Archivio Boccapaduli Arm. ii. Mazzo iv. 46
The brick facing of the exterior and the cornice were coated with stucco
to represent marble (ib.), just as was the case in the Thermae of Diocletian.
In 303 A.D. there were erected in front of the curia, outside the
comitium, two colossal columns, in celebration of the vicennalia and
decennalia of Diocletian and his colleagues in the empire. The first
base, found in 1490, is lost; but the second, decorated with inferior
reliefs (one of which represents the suovetaurilia, in imitation of the
Trajanic slabs) which was found in 1547, still lies not far from the niger
lapis (Mitt. 1893, 281
; HC 95-96; CIL vi. 1203-1205
, 31261, 31262).
For a glass cup commemorating the same vicennalia see BC 1882, 180-19
Near here are also fragments of a large base for a quadriga erected in
honour of Arcadius and Honorius after Stilicho's victory over Gildo in
Africa in 398 A.D. (CIL vi. 1187
, 31256 ; Mitt. 1895, 52-58
; LR 261) and
another inscription celebrating Stilicho's victory over Radagaisus at
Pollentia in 403 A.D. (CIL vi. 31987
The church of S. Adriano was founded in the curia by Honorius I
(625-638; LP lxxii. 6
), who added the apse. It is called in tribus fatis
from a group of the three fates which stood near the temple of Janus
(Jord. i. 2
. 259, 349; BCr 1912, 146
; HC 24, 26; HCh 260-261). After
this several bodies were buried in niches cut in the front wall, in the
concrete core of the steps, and in front of them, on the pavement of the
comitium. The doorway, 5.90 metres in height, probably remained in
use until after the fire of Robert Guiscard the Norman in 1087, when its
level was raised by 3.25 metres: and so it remained (with steps descending
into the church from the higher ground outside) until the restoration
of the church in 1654, when it was raised again by about the same amount.
When the ancient bronze doors were removed to the Lateran by Borromini
a few years later, various coins were found inside them, among which
was one of Domitian. Between 1654 and the end of the nineteenth
century there has been another rise in level of about 1 metre.
To the left of the curia was the CHALCIDICUM
or Atrium Minervae
(q.v.) (the last remains of which disappeared when the Via Bonella was
made in 1585-90), a courtyard with a colonnade running down each side;
while to the north-west again was the Secretarium Senatus, a hall measur-
ing 18.17 by 8.92 metres, with an apse at the north-east end. An
inscription shows that it had been restored by Junius Flavianus in
311 A.D. and that it was repaired in 412 A.D., after its destruction by
fire, by the then Praefectus Urbi, Epifanius (CIL vi. 1718
). The passage
of Cassiodorus, Var. iv. 30
, curvae porticus, quae iuxta domum palmatam
(q.v.) posita, forum in modum areae decenter includit, etc.
, referred by
Jord. i. 2
. 257, 258 to the apse of this building, should more probably be
taken to signify the south-western hemicycle of the forum of Trajan
(BC 1887, 64-66
; 1889,363; 1899, 88
The ancient basilica of S. Martina, built in the ruins of the Secretarium
Senatus, is first mentioned under Hadrian I (772-795; LP xcvii. 51, 96).
It is called S. Martinae sita in tribus fatis
under Leo III (LP xcviii. 90;
HCh 381). It was restored by Pietro da Cortona in 1640 and its level
raised, so that the older structure (in which no traces of antiquity are
actually visible) serves as the crypt.
See Jord. i. 2
. 250-262 ; LR 263-267 ; Mitt. 1893, 86-91
; 1902, 39-41
; BC 1903, 143-149
; BCr 1912, 146
; HC 112-119; JRS
, 182; RA 202; ZA 69-71; DR 331-346; HFP 30, 31.