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RE´GIA (in Greek historians τὸ βασίλειον, ῥηγία), at first the building in which the king, as head of the state religion, performed the functions belonging to it: after the overthrow of the monarchy, when the continuity of the king's religious functions was preserved, it supplied the offices of the Pontifex Maximus, and perhaps also of the Rex sacrorum (Mommsen, Staatsr. ii.3 15). [For the apparent connexion of the king's or chief's house with the state hearth, see PRYTANEUM p. 513 b.] But, though many even of the most recent writers have thought otherwise, there appear to us strong reasons for maintaining that the Pontifex Maximus and the Rex sacrorum had each his official dwelling-house elsewhere in the Via Sacra. The Regia was said to have been built and occupied by Numa (Ov. Tr. 3.1, 28; Fast. 6.263; Tac. Ann. 15.41) [but the words of Plut. Num. 14 imply that it was never his dwelling-house]: it was partly destroyed by the Gauls, 391 B.C., and again in great part burnt B.C. 210 (Liv. 26.27). Julius Caesar as Pontifex Maximus had his offices by day for religious functions in the Regia, and lived in the house in the Via Sacra which was assigned to the Pontifex1 (Suet. Jul. 48; Plut. Caes. 10). It is usually said that, when Augustus became Pontifex Maximus in B.C. 12, he gave the Regin to the Vestals because it adjoined their house (ὁμότοιχος ἦν, D. C. 54.27): but the historian there speaks of the house τοῦ βασιλέως τῶν ἱερῶν, and we see no reason for assuming that he mistook the Pontifex Maximus for the Rex sacrorum: on the contrary we have the express testimony of Pliny (Plin. Ep. 4.11) that the Pontifex used the Regia as an office in the reign of Trajan. The Vestals pulled down most of the buildings given up to them, and rebuilt their house on an enlarged scale upon the same site.

Besides the above-mentioned use, the Regia contained a sacrarium of Mars, in which were the sacred spears (Geli. 4.6) [but not the ancilia: see SALII], and a sacrarium of Ops, containing a PRAEFERICULUM and SECESPITA perhaps also of Janus and of Jupiter (Varro, L. L. 6.21; Marquardt, Staatsverw. 3.250). In one or other of these sacraria were preserved the libri pontificum and the Calendars. (For the topography and the construction of the Regia, see Middleton, Rome, p. 185; Richter in Baumeister, Denkm. 1465; and compare PONTIFEX, REX SACRORUM, VESTALES.)


1 The view here expressed is mainly that followed by Jordan (Topog. 1.426), who remarks that the Regia had the character of a fanum, not of a dwelling for mortals. We may add to his arguments the following considerations:--1. A priori, it is unlikely that any part of the Regia could be altogether given over to the custody of women, as was Caesar's house for the rites of Bona Dea (Plut. Caes. 10). 2. Since in all Latin writers the name Regia is always given to the building described in this article, and in Plutarch always ῥηγία, it is surely impossible that, when they speak of the house which Caesar occupied as Pontifex Max., they should never mention it as part of the Regia, if such it was, but as “domus Pontificis Maximi” (Cic. pro Dom. 39, 104; de Harusp. Resp. 3, 4); “domus publica” (Suet. l.c.); “domus” (Plin. Nat. 19.23); γ̔ τοῦ Καίσαρος οἰκία, οἰκία μεγάλη (Plut. Cic. 28, Caes. 10). The “visum in regia” of Cic. Att. 10.3 we regard as an ironical use of “palace” for Caesar's house. For the explanation of the passage in D. C. 43.44, see SALII

hide References (12 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (7):
    • Plutarch, Caesar, 10
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 48
    • Tacitus, Annales, 15.41
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 4.11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26, 27
    • Plutarch, Numa, 14
    • Ovid, Tristia, 3.1
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (5):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 10.3
    • Cicero, On his House, 39
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 19.23
    • Plutarch, Cicero, 28
    • Plutarch, Caesar, 10
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