) was, according to its etymological signification, a
place in which ripe fruits, and especially corn, were kept, and thus
answered to our granary. (Verg. G. 1.49
1.1, 7; Cic. de
Leg. Agr. 2.3. 3
, § 89.) During the empire
the name horreum
was given to any place
destined for the safe preservation of things of any kind, when not required
for use. Thus we find it applied to a place in which statues were kept
(Plin. Ep. 8.18
); to cellars (horrea subterranea, horrea vinaria,
); to depôts for merchandise, and all
sorts of provisions (horreum penarium,
). Seneca (Ep.
45.2) even calls his
library a horreum.
But the more general
application [p. 1.976]
of the word horreum
was to places for storing fruit and corn; and in order to
keep the floor dry, and out of the reach of vermin, they were often built,
like our own, upon dwarf piers, and were then called horrea pensilia
In imperial times Rome possessed two kinds of horrea.
The one class consisted of buildings in which the Romans might deposit their
goods, and even their money, securities, and other valuables (Cod. 4, 24,
9), for which they had no safe place in their own houses. Public horrea of
this kind are mentioned as early as the time of Antoninus Pius (Dig. 1
); again under Alexander Severus (Lamprid. Al.
39; cf. Dig. 10
). There were also private horrea
or warehouses built on speculation in order
to be let as strong rooms, like our London “repositories” and
“pantechnicons.” The second and more important class of
which may be termed public
granaries, were buildings in which a plentiful supply of corn was constantly
kept at the expense of the state, and from which, in seasons of scarcity,
the corn was distributed among the poor, or sold at a moderate price. These
dated from C. Gracchus and his Lex Sempronia frumentaria; the ruins of the
great granary (horrea populi Romani
) which he
built were seen down to the sixteenth century between the Aventine and the
Monte Testaccio (Appian, App. BC 1.21
5; Liv. Epit.
lx.; Veil. Pat.
2.6.3; Cic. pro Sest.
25.55). The plan of C.
Gracchus was carried further by Clodius, Pompey, and several of the
emperors; and during the empire we thus find a great number of public
which were called after the names of
their founders: e.g.,
horrea Aniceti, Vargunteii,
Seiani, Augusti, Domitiani, &c. According to the Regionary
Catalogues, the number of these at length mounted up to 291. The officers
who super-intended them were called horrearii
or vilici ex horreis
pp. 52, 61). The manner in which
corn from these granaries was given to the people differed at different
times. (Cf. Mommsen, Privatl.
2.128-9, 469; FRUMENTARIAE