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p424 Porticus Minucia

Article on pp424‑426 of

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


Porticus Minucia: built by M. Minucius Rufus, consul in 110 B.C. (Vell. II.8.3: per eadem tempora clarus eius Minuci qui porticus, quae hodieque celebres sunt, molitus est, ex Scordiscis triumphus fuit). This use of the plural is no evidence that the porticus was double, or that there were two buildings, for Velleius uses it elsewhere of a single porticus (II.1.2), as do other writers (e.g. Plin. NH XXXV.114). In it Antonius, and probably other officials, set up their tribunals (Cic. Phil. II.84: in porticu Minucia), and it is mentioned in Apuleius (de mundo 35: alius ad Minuciam frumentatum venit) and in the Historia Augusta (Commod. 16: Herculis signum aeneum sudavit in Minucia per plures dies). In the calendars it occurs twice (Praen. ad XI Kal. Ian., CIL I2 p238: laribus permarinis in porticu Minucia; Filoc. ad prid. Non. Iun., CIL I2 p266: ludi in Minicia; cf. p338), and in several inscriptions of the first four centuries (see below), but always alone and in the singular.

Chron. (p146) places a Minucia vetus among the buildings of Domitian, and Reg. has (Reg. IX) porticus Philippi Minuciam veterem et frumentariam (Cur. Minucias duas veterem et frumentariam), cryptam Balbi. Apparently, therefore, by the time of Domitian at least a Minucia vetus was distinguished from a newer Minucia, presumably the frumentaria of the Notitia. From the time of Claudius the distribution of grain to the populace took place in the porticus Minucia (cf. Apuleius, loc. cit.), the earliest evidence being an inscription of his reign or Nero's (CIL VI.10223: Ti. Claudius Aug. lib. Ianuarius curator de Minucia die XIII ostio XLII). This together with two others of pueri alimentarii (CIL p425VI.10224: frumentum accepit die X ostio XXXIX; 102251: frum(entum) ac(cepit) d(ie) VII ostio XV), the late ascription of frumentatio to Servius Tullius preserved in the Chronograph (p144: hic votum fecit ut quotquot annos regnasset tot ostia ad frumentum publicum constitueret), and a lead tessera (Rostowzew, Sylloge No. 336; Klio, Suppl. III.21‑22) with Minucia on the reverse side, show that the porticus Minucia was divided into 45 ostia or sections, in which definite groups of people received their doles in definite days in the month. The officials of this department are mentioned in three other inscriptions of the second century (CIL XI.5669: proc. Aug. ad Minuciam; VI.1648: proc. Mini(ciae); III.249: proc. Min(uciae)), and perhaps in two more (VI.1408: cur. Min(uciae); XI.4182: prae(fectus?) Minicia).

Beginning with the time of Severus the name of the porticus appears in inscriptions of officials of the water department (V.7783: curator aquarum et Minuciae; VI.1532: cur. aquar. et Miniciae; X.4752: consulari aquarum et Minuciae; XIV.3902: curator aquarum et Miniciae; NS 1901, 129‑131; cf. Mommsen, Staatsrecht II.1053‑1054). Whether this indicates that one man held both offices, or that the Minucia now belonged to the department of water and not of grain, or that both offices were housed in one building, or that the Minucia of the inscriptions is the Minucia vetus, while the distribution of grain still took place in the frumentaria, is doubtful. The relation of the vetus and frumentaria is very uncertain, whether they were separate buildings, or parts of one; and when the second building or part was erected. It is natural to assign the frumentaria to Claudius, but the absence of any differentiation, except in the Chronograph and Regionary Catalogue, is curious (Hirschfeld, Phil. 1870, 63‑67; Kaiserl. Verwaltungsbeamtenº 238; Klio, II.244, 271; Suppl. III.15‑16; DE III.268‑269; RE VII.177‑178; Marquardt, Staatsverwaltung II.128‑130; Gilb. III.144, 286).

There is also divergence of opinion as to the site of the porticus. The prevailing view at present is that there were two separate buildings, near the porticus Philippi and theatre of Balbus (cf. Not.), one of which, the vetus, enclosed the temple of the Lares Permarini (fast. Praen.) and perhaps that of Hercules Custos (cf. Hist. Aug. Com. loc. cit.), and therefore was situated north of the circus Flaminius and east of the porticus Pompei, on both sides of the Petronia stream (AR 1909, 76, pl. I; KH II.). The frumentaria Hülsen then places about 200 metres south of the vetus, and identifies with ruins that lie close to the probable site of the crypta Balbi (Sangallo, p9, 47). In the Via dei Calderari, No. 23, two travertine pilasters with engaged columns and the entablature are built into the front of the house, and there are traces of a second row of columns and a wall behind. Drawings of the sixteenth century show that this colonnade had an upper story, with columns standing on the centre of the arches below. There are also blocks of travertine pavement (NS 1891, p426336; 1892, 265; Mitt. 1892, 321; 1893, 318; this view of Hülsen's is expressed on his map of 1912). Hülsen is further inclined to derive the name of S. Maria de Publico (so called in a bull of 1186 and generally till the end of the fifteenth century), now known as S. Maria in Publicolis,2 from the frumentum publicum distributed here (HCh 361; BC 1927, 94‑100).

Another theory (Canina, Edif. II. pl. 149; LR 513; LF 28; Delbrück, Die drei Tempel am Forum Holitorium, Rome 1903, 1) is that the porticus lay between the foot of the Capitol and the theatre of Marcellus, thus identifying the two buildings with ruins on the east side of the Piazza Montanara and in the Vicolo della Bufala (NS 1879, 314; 1891, 316; Mitt. 1892, 292). This view, however, Lanciani has recently abandoned, chiefly because of the small area available, and thinks that the porticus was farther north-west, between the hill and the porticus Octaviae (BC 1917, 187‑192). There is no conclusive evidence for any of the views that have been held.


The Authors' Notes:

1ib. 33991.

2 This form only came in during the sixteenth century when the Santacroce family traced their pedigree back to the Valerii Publicolae.


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