Saepta Julia


Saepta Julia

The Saepta Julia was a building in Ancient Rome where citizens gathered to cast votes. The building was conceived by Julius Caesar and dedicated by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa in 26 BC. The building was originally built as a place for the comitia tributa to gather to cast votes [ Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth (eds.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary (1996) — ISBN 019866172X ; available online for a fee] . It replaced an older structure, called the Ovile, which served the same function [ [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Roma/Rome/_Texts/PLATOP*/Saepta_Julia.html Samuel Ball Platner, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, London: Oxford University Press, 1929.] ] . The building did not always retain its original function. It was used for gladiatorial fights by Augustus [ Diane Favro, The Urban Image of Augustan Rome, New Yok: Cambridge University, 1996] and later as a market place [ Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth (eds.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary (1996) — ISBN 019866172X ; available online for a fee] .

The structure

The conception of the Saepta Julia began during the rein of Julius Caesar (d.44 BC). Located in the Campus Marius, the Saepta Julia was built of marble and surrounded a huge rectangular space (c.300 95 m) [ Diane Favro, The Urban Image of Augustan Rome, New Yok: Cambridge University, 1996] next to the Pantheon. The building was planned by Julius Caesar who wanted it to be built of marble and have a mile long portico according to a letter written by Cicero to his friend Atticus about the building project (Cic. Att 4.16.14). The quadriportico (four-sided portico, like the one used for the enclosure of the Saepta Julia) was an architectural feature made popular by Caesar [ Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth (eds.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary (1996) — ISBN 019866172X ; available online for a fee] .

History

The planning of the Saepta Julia began under Caesar. After he was murdered, and in the backlash of public support for the former ruler, men continued to work on projects that Caesar had set into motion [ Diane Favro, The Urban Image of Augustan Rome, New Yok: Cambridge University, 1996] . Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, who used to support Caesar and subsequently aligned with his succesor Octavian, took on the continuation of the Saepta Julia building project. The building was finally completed and dedicated by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa in 26 BC. Agrippa also decorated the building with marble tablets and Greek paintings.

The Saepta Julia can be seen on the Forma Urbis Romae, or Marble Plan, a map of the city of Rome as it existed in the early third century. Built under the emperor Septimius Severus, this marble map was fixed to the side of the Forum Pacis and is today, the only surviving plan of a Roman city [ Herbert Bloch, “A New Edition of the Marble Plan of Ancient Rome,” The Journal of Roman Studies Vol. 51, Parts 1 and 2 (1961), pp. 143-152] . Part of the original wall of the Saepta Julia can still be seen in Rome right next to the Pantheon.

See also

* Diribitorium

References


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