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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of
The Roman Forum — Its History and Its Monuments

by Christian Hülsen

published by Ermanno Loescher & Co
Publishers to H. M. the Queen of Italy

Text, maps, and black-and‑white images
are in the public domain.
Color photos are © William P. Thayer.


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 p88  XI. The Portico of the Dei Consentes

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[The temple of Concord, the temple of Vespasian, and the portico of the Dei Consentes are separated by the modern city-street from the rest of the excavations in the Forum: the entrance is at the south corner under the flight of steps which leads to the Via del Campidoglio. Visitors should apply to the custodians of Forum. Our description of these ruins follows the order in which they lie, beginning at the entrance.]

The portico of the twelve gods, which was excavated in 1834, consists of two wings which join each other at an obtuse angle; behind the colonnade are at present seven rooms of varying size, and there were probably originally several more. They contained the statues of the Olympian gods. Varro speaks of the twelve gilded statues of the dei consentes, which were exhibited in the Forum; also in the market place at Athens there stood similar statues of twelve gods. In Rome these gods were Juppiter-Juno, Neptune-Minerva, Apollo-Diana, Mars-Venus, Vulcan-Vesta, Mercury-Ceres. The portico in Rome was restored in the dying days of paganism by one of the most zealous representatives of the old faith, the Prefect of the City, Vettius Agorius Praetextatus. The inscription reads:

totius adornatioNE CVLTV IN formam antiquam restituto
vETTIVS PRAETEXTATVS · V · C · PRAefectus uRBI reposuit
CVRANTE LONGEIO . . . . . . . v · c · cONSVLARI

The columns are of Cipollino, their flutings are filled in the lower half with astragals, and the fillets are similarly ornamented. The capitals were ornamented with trophies: the best preserved of these is in the Tabularium. In 1858 this ruin was largely restored: the columns of travertine date from this restoration. The rear wall of the rooms in the left wing is a very old retaining wall of tufa, which  p89 supported the Clivus Capitolinus. In the open space in front of the portico of the Dei Consentes are a large number of architectural fragments, most of which were found in the excavations of 1834, among them some from the arch of Tiberius (see above p66 f.); the large capitals of travertine belong possibly to the upper story of the Tabularium (which according to this would have been of the Corinthian order, and not of the Ionic, as given in fig. 40).

Descending into the narrow passage which is all that is left of the originally much larger space between the substructure of the portico and the temple of Vespasian, we see on the left seven chambers (tabernae) made of brick, with wide entrance doors. Formerly they were wrongly called the Schola Xantha (see above p67); the correct name and the purpose of the rooms is not known. On the right are to be seen the foundations of the temple of Vespasian, huge blocks of tufa and travertine very accurately laid. The end of the passage-way is formed by the massive substructures of the Tabularium on the Capitoline: one can see how one entrance door of the Tabularium was blocked up by the building of the temple of Vespasian.

See: Varro de re rusticaI.4; CIL. VI, 103. 30692 (=Dessau 4003).

Jordan I, 2, 367; Lanciani 294.

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Site updated: 17 Oct 07