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Bill Thayer

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Fornix Fabianus

 p211  Article on pp211‑212 of

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

Fornix Fabianus or Fabiorum: an honorary arch erected on or over the Sacra via at the east end of the forum by Q. Fabius Allobrogicus in 121 B.C. to commemorate his victory over the Allobroges (fornix: Cic. pro Planc. 17; de or. ii.267; in Verr. I.19; Schol. pp133, 393, 396; Orell.; arcus: Sen. dial. II.1.3; Schol. Pers. IV.49; vit. Salonini 1). This was the first arch of the kind in or near the forum, and was restored by the grandson of the builder in 56 B.C. (CIL I2762 = vi.1303). Among the fragments discovered in 1540‑1546 (LS II.196), in 1882 (NS 1882, 222‑6), and later, are the nine travertine voussoirs and the archivolt, which have hitherto been attributed to it.​1 It was therefore believed that the arch was single, 3.945 metres in diameter, and built of tufa and peperino with travertine facings (PAS II.28). Three inscriptions were also found (CIL I2 p198 and p542, No. 763 = vi.1304abc; DE I.649), to L. Aemilius Paullus, the elder Africanus, and Fabius, who restored the arch, but these survive only in copies, and as the original size of the letters is not known, it is impossible to decide whether they belong to statues placed on top of the arch, or lower down on the structure (RE VI.1739; PAS II.28; Hülsen, Festschrift für Hirschfeld 427). For further discussion, see HC 231; Ann. d. Inst. 1859, 307‑325; Théd. 145.

The remains of the arch have recently been identified by Van Deman (JRS 1922, 26 sqq.) with some scanty remains of tufa foundations on the  p212 north side of the temple of Julius Caesar. She follows Gatti (NS 1899, 490) in attributing to it a fragmentary inscription (CIL I2764) [Q. Fabius L. f. Maxs]umus [aid. cur. restit]uit . . . ori. The identification is accepted by Hülsen, Forum and Palatine, 36. The marble keystone and other fragments in the Tabularium, which are sometimes attributed to this arch (Bocconi, Musei Capitolini, 309), could only belong to a restoration, of which we have no record; and their provenance is doubtful.

The Authors' Note:

1 These really belong to the portico of the Domus Aurea (p168).

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Page updated: 11 Mar 08