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Bill Thayer

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 p133  Columna Phocae

Article on pp133‑134 of

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

Columna Phocae: a monument in front of the rostra in the forum which, according to the inscription (CIL VI.1200)1 on the marble base of the column, was erected in 608 A.D. by Smaragdus, exarch of Italy, in honour of Phocas, emperor of the East. The monument consists of a fluted Corinthian column of white marble, 1.39 metres in diameter and 13.60 high, on which was placed the statue of Phocas in gilt bronze. This column stood on a marble base, which in turn rests on a square brick pedestal which was entirely surrounded by flights of nine steps of tufa blocks taken from other structures. The steps on the north and east side were removed in 1903. The whole monument cannot have been erected by Smaragdus, for the brick pedestal belongs probably to the fourth century, while the column, from its style and execution, must be earlier still. The pedestal was probably built at the same time as those in front of the basilica Iulia, and the column set upon it. Smaragdus simply set the statue of Phocas on the column and constructed the pyramid of tufa steps around the pedestal (as Nichols in Archaeologia  p134 LII.1 (1889) 183‑194 had already supposed). Cf. Jord. I.2.246; Mitt. 1891, 88‑90; 1902, 58‑59; 1905, 68; Atti 577‑580; HC 96‑97; RE Suppl. IV.501, 052.

The Authors' Note:

1 Cf. ib. 31259a; VIII.10529, 12479, for a modern forgery of part of the inscription.

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Page updated: 21 Aug 12