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p76 Basilica Argentaria

Article on p76 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.


Basilica Argentaria: apparently the headquarters for the sale of vessels of bronze,a mentioned only in Reg. in Region VIII, between the temple of Concord and the barracks of the Fifth Cohort of Vigiles. It was probably between the forum of Trajan and the east slope of the Capitoline hill, on the Clivus Argentarius (q.v.). In Reg. app. the basilica Vascellaria is mentioned, but not the Argentaria, and this, together with the fact that artificers in bronze were called argentarii vascularii on the inscriptions, make it possible that the same building is referred to under the two names (Jord. I.2.438; II.216, 458; DE I.978; RE II.706).


Thayer's Note:

a As is well known (see the article Argentarii in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities) the Latin word argentarius had a variety of meanings centered on metals and coins. They could be, among other things, makers and sellers of metalware, or — by far the most frequently found meaning — bankers. The reasons impelling Platner to opt for the former, only sketched out in this entry of the Dictionary, are spelled out by Dorothy M. Robathan in "The Basilica Argentaria" (AJP 55:74‑76).

I have Jennifer Lloret Bryan to thank for alerting me to the article; who points out, against Platner and Robathan's identification, that the Clivus Argentarius runs up the Capitoline hill very near the temple of Juno Moneta — the mint — and would have been a logical place for a banking center.


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Page updated: 30 Jun 10