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Porticus Pompei  (Colonnades of Pompeius)

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Built in 55 B.C. by Pompeius at the same time as his THEATRE, and adjoining its scaena. The purpose of the porticus was to afford shelter for the spectators in case of rain (Vitr. 5.9.1). It is represented on the Marble Plan, and was a rectangular court, about 180 metres long and 135 wide, in which were four parallel rows of columns. The central area was laid out as a garden with shady walks (Prop. 2.32.11-12) and contained various works of art (Plin. NH 35. 59, 114, 126, 132). Among these was a painting of Cadmus and Europa by Antiphilus, which is not to be identified with the representation of Europa which gave its name to the Porticus Europae, described by Martial, which, A. Reinach maintains, was a bronze group made by Pythagoras of Rhegium for Tarentum. The CURIA POMPEI in which Caesar was murdered was probably an exedra in this porticus (Asc. in Mil. 67; cf. Gell. 14.7.7). That the porticus was one of the most popular in the city is clear from the numerous incidental references (Cic. de fato 8; de off. 2.60; Cat. 55.6; Ov. AA 1.67; 3.387; Prop. 4.8.75; Mart. 2.14.10; 11.1; 11.47.3; Cass. Dio 44.16).

The porticus was burned in the reign of Carinus (Hist. Aug. Car. 19), and restored by Diocletian (Chron. 148: porticos ii), under the direction of Aelius Helvius Dionysius, the prefect of the city (CIL 6.255, 256), who called one side of the restored structure porticus Iovia, and the other porticus Herculea, in honour of the two emperors Diocletian and Maximian. It may be referred to as the portica Nova, which was ruined by the earthquake of 442. No remains of this building are visible, and the discoveries on its site have been unimportant.


[Platner, Samuel Ball, and Thomas Ashby. 1929 (rev. ed.). "Porticus Pompei." A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome: 428-429.  London: Oxford University Press.]

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