Monday, January 15, 2018


Arcaded square of 150 x 115 m (492 x 377 feet) probably built under Domitian (81/96) for the free distribution of grain to the people of Rome in an area previously occupied by the Villa Publica
“It was not till the year 123 BC, that the first legal provision was made for supplying the poor at Rome with corn at a price much below its market value. In that year C. Sempronius Gracchus brought forward the first Lex Frumentaria, by which each citizen was entitled to receive every month a certain quantity of wheat (triticum) at the price of 6 ⅓ asses for the modius, which was equal to 1 gallon and nearly 8 pints English (8.2 liters). (...) This was only a trifle more than half the market price (...). It must not be supposed that each person was allowed to receive as much as he pleased every month; the quantity must of course have been fixed, and was probably five modii monthly, as in later times. This quantity was only given to fathers of families; but it was not confined to the poor, as Plutarch would imply, for every citizen had a right to it, whether he were rich or poor (...); and even Piso, who had been consul, applied for his share at the distribution. It appears, however, from the anecdote which Cicero relates about Piso, that each citizen had to apply in person, a regulation which would of itself deter most of the rich” (William Smith)
The square included a preexisting TEMPLE OF THE REPUBLICAN PERIOD discovered in 1938, probably the Temple of the Nymphs, of which there are two columns of stuccoed lava stone and the brick wall of the cella that belongs to a restoration of the time of Domitian (81/96) after the fire of the year 80 AD

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