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p248 Graecostasis

Article on pp248‑249 of

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

Graecostasis: a raised place at the edge of the comitium, which served as a sort of tribunal for ambassadors from foreign states, especially Greeks (Varro, LL V.155). It was near the curia (Cic. ad Q. Fr. II.1.3), on the west of the rostra, and the relative position of these structures is determined by the statement of Pliny (NH VII.212) that the accensus of the consuls proclaimed the hour of noon when, from the curia, he saw the sun between the rostra and Graecostasis — that is, in the south. On the other hand, we are told that in 304 B.C. Cn. Flavius erected a small bronze shrine (aedicula) to Concordia (q.v.) on the Graecostasis quae tunc supra Comitium erat (Plin. NH XXXIII.19), and this 'aedes' is also p249spoken of as 'in area Volcani' (Liv. IX.46) — a statement that may mean that the Graecostasis had been moved or had ceased to exist at all in Pliny's day. About 30 B.C. sacrifices were offered to Luna 'in Graecostasi' (Fast. Pinc., CIL I2 p219), and for the years 137, 130, 124 B.C., it is recorded that it rained blood or milk on the Graecostasis (Obseq. de prod. 24, 28, 31). The Graecostasis was therefore an open platform between the comitium and the forum, on the site afterwards occupied by the arch of Severus, and eastwards. Cf. JRS 1922, II, 25, where Van Deman places it under and north of the rostra of Augustus. Hülsen (HC pl. V) places it conjecturally to the west of the Lapis Niger (TF 64), but the pavement here is probably the pavement of the Sullan rostra vetera (JRS cit. 22). Nothing is known of its history after the Augustan age, nor is its exact purpose certain. Other explanations have been given, but it was probably the place where foreign ambassadors awaited their summons into the senate (cf. Iustin. XLIII.5.0; Mommsen, Hist. I.534; Bull. Univ. Wisc. No. 99 (1904), 166‑170; BC 1900, 128‑130; Théd. 137). For a theory that its place was taken by the Graecostadium see DR 383‑385.


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