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p540 Tribunal Praetoris

Article on pp540‑541 of

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

Tribunal Praetoris: the judgment seat of the praetor, always apparently a movable wooden platform, which stood originally on the comitium (Liv. XXVII.50.9; Jord. I.1.499‑500; Mommsen, Jahrb. des Gem. d. Rechts VI.389 ff., Jurist. Schriften, III.319‑326).1 It was transferred to the forum at some later date, perhaps about the middle of the second century B.C., and set up sometimes at least near the Puteal Libonis (q.v.) and the arcus Fabianus (Porphyr. ad Hor. Epist. I.19.8; Jord. I.2.402‑403).

In the travertine pavement of the Augustan age in front of the column of Phocas are the matrices of the bronze letters, 30 centimetres high, of an inscription — L. Naevius L. [f. Sur]dinus pr. This is the same inscription that is found on the back of the archaistic relief of Mettius Curtius (S. Sculp. 324‑326; SScR 316; Cons. 36) — L. Naevius L. f. Surdinus pr[aetor] inter civis et peregrinos (CIL VI.1468). Naevius was triumvir monetalis in 23 B.C. (BM Aug. 139‑146; cf. p. xcv), and the inscriptions seem to indicate that he constructed a praetor's tribunal at this point in the forum, as well as repairing it (see Forum Romanum, p234, n1; ZA 86; DR 73, 74; RE Suppl. IV.504; HFP 27, 28), in connection with Augustus' rebuilding of the rostra. It is possible that this was the usual place for the praetor's seat after it had been moved from the comitium (cf. another praetor's inscription, CIL VI.1278, found here in 1817). The structure of Naevius was not monumental, but the traditional wooden platform may have been provided with a stone foundation, or an p541enclosure wall on which the archaistic relief was placed (Hülsen, Forum, Nachtrag, Rome 1910, 15‑21; CR 1906, 133; Richter, BRT IV.28‑29). But the significance of the inscription (completely misunderstood by Richter) has not been fully appreciated, and we must refer to it a general repairing of the whole Forum (JRS 1926, 134).

The Authors' Note:

1 See also Staatsrecht I.399, 400; III.383 (cf. XII n1).

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Page updated: 13 Mar 08