By Karlos Ishac, Anthony Enriquez, Joseph Puno, Leon Tang The Curia
Name of the building and other names it may have been called.
The Latin word ‘curia’ means ‘senate house’ or ‘court’. The first ‘curia’ was called the Curia Hostilia, after Tullus Hostillius. The second ‘curia’ was called the Curia Julia, after Julius Caesar in 44 BC.
What was the main purpose of the building?
To serve as a place where senators could meet to discuss rising issues and topics of the Roman state. It was also a centre of political management and organisation within the state.
What were the secondary purposes of the building?
The Curia which is now called the Curia Julia still maintains the same structure of the Old Curia Hostilia. It was partially burnt during the fire of Carinus in 283 AD. Over time, it was slowly repaired and reconstructed to what we see it as today, especially under Diocletian around 303AD.
The Curia was converted to use as a church of S. Adriano under Honorius. Borromini removed, restored, and relocated the bronze doors in the 17th century to serve the church of S. Giovanni in Laterano. At that time, several coins were found between the plates, including ones of the Domitian. In the years between 1935-1938, the S. Adriano was restored to its original ancient form. It is now used for the mounting of archaeological exhibitions of a temporary nature.
Design and appearance of the building
The Curia is a large basic hall 25.2 metres by 17.61 metres with a very towering roof which consists of a large rectangular reinforcement at each corner. The Curia has a low doorway and high pediment with a lone figure of unknown character inside the tympanum. The pediment is framed by travertine consoles filling a brick cornice.
Between the fresco and the roof of the entrance three large windows with segmental arches admitted light to the interior. The three front windows are bigger and not aligned with the single window on the Curia’s flanks though the single window carries the same shaped arch and diagonal bars. The Curia truly only begins at the top of the steps for below it is a broad groundwork. Immediately above it is the base and then tall rectangular marble panels along the entire front and turning the left and right corners with two more panels leaving the look as either partial or an intentional draw for the viewer to look toward the front door.
Although the walls now are bare, the marble floor is a beautiful example of opus sectile, in which pieces of decorated stone are fitted mutually in figured patterns or geometric shapes. Here, porphyry rosettes alternate with pairs of cornucopias. On either side are three broad steps, which could house about three hundred senators, with two low steps at the far end to serve as a dais for the presiding magistrate.
The entrance of the Curia
Location within the forum and relevance to surrounding buildings.
The Curia Hostilia is located at the north-western end of the Forum. The Curia Hostilia was oriented facing south. It was a templum, and, as such, was oriented north/south. On the same axis as the church (facing south-west), but southeast of it, was the Curia Julia. The Curia Julia is located on the main square of the Forum Romanum, on the ancient Comitium, between the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Basilica Aemilia.
Series of images and videos Roman Curia from Palatine Hill Senate consisted of 300 men but this number varied and peaked to over a thousand in Julius Caesar’s time. Julius Caesar’s assassination took place in the Curia of Pompei As Cae sa r rose to power the senate began losing pow er and so the idea of revolt amongst the senators grew.
The meeting house of the Senate as reconstructed by Mussolini from the original building materials.
Interior of the Curia The marble floor is the 4th century opus sectile style.
From the top of the podium of the temple of Saturn, we discover the steps leading to the Rostra, or tribune of harangues. The dark building is the Curia.
A selection of primary and secondary sources relating to the building. A Balustrade in the Curia Depicts a scene in the forum of an emperor (there is no head, so identification is not possible) sitting on the Rostra in front of the Temple of Divus Julius, addressing senators.
Location of the Curia in the Forum
In the interior we see on the left and right sides three broad low steps to accommodate the seating places of the senators. Depending on the accommodation the building could give place to 300 to 465 people: 300 if chairs were used, 465 if the senators were satisfied with benches.
Significance to a study of Rome in the time of the Late Republic.
The significance of the Curia for Rome in the late republic as it was provided many vital necessities for the senate and magistrates. The Curia provided them with the various Assemblies such as:
Assembly of the Curiae : oldest assembly; by the late Republic had mostly traditional and clan functions.
Assembly of the Centuries : elected consuls, praetors, censors; declared war; served as court of petition for citizens sentenced to death.
Assembly of the Tribes : elected all other magistrates; voted yes or no on laws; the 35 tribes were originally resolute geographically and then passed on by birth.
During the late Roman Empire, the regime assumed a twin character, secular and religious. The fall of the Western Roman Empire ended the secular curia, but not the religious one, which has sustained to the current day. After the end of the Roman Empire, the term, Curia, was used to assign the directorial system of the Roman Catholic Church, and more exclusively, the Vatican.
Other interesting and/or relevant information
The Curia was a place where the senate met.
Dictator Sulla enlarged the Curia Hostilia in 80 BC but was burnt to the ground in 52 BC.
It burnt down because of a volatile period of Roman history, when violent gang warfare between rival supporters of Julius Caesar and Pompey broke out on the streets of Rome.
The Curia Julia was built in 44 BC because of the increase in the number of senators from 300 to over 1000.
The Curia Julia was built to suit good acoustics.
Again, a fire destroyed the Curia Julia in 64 AD and 283 AD.
The Curia Julia was rebuilt by Emperor Diocletian.
Think of a modern equivalent to the building in Australia and discuss the lasting impact of the functions and design of the Roman building.
Curia – The House of the Roman Senate (2008) [Online], available from Internet on June 6: http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/romearchitecture/a/aa012903a.htm