Basilica JuliaRome, Roman ForumPhoto by Sabina Tariverdieva
Rome, Roman Forum
Between the Temple of Saturn and that of Castor and Pollux, on the south side of the Forum, stood the Julian Basilica, so-called because it was begun by Caesar and completed by Augustus. It was erected on the site of the Basilica Sempronia, dating from republican times, which in turn—
according to ancient sources— was built over the House of Scipio Africanus. Recent probes beneath the centre of the building have brought to light the hall of a residence that archaeologists believe may well be that of Scipio, the general who defeated Hannibal. Today, unfortunately, all that remains of the Julian Basilica is the podium, steps and bases of the columns and pillars: however it was a building of great splendour, according to our sources, and contained four courts of law. Testimony to the life of the past that the visitor should not miss are the graffiti cut into some steps towards the Forum: the so-called tabulae lusoriae, meaning the fields for games of draughts, morris, etc., with which idlers whiled away the time. It should be remembered the Forum was not just the arena of business, politics and the administration of justice, but also the place of social focus for the common people of Rome.