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 p505  Tabula Valeria

Article on pp505‑506 of

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

Tabula Valeria:* a name used twice by Cicero (ad Fam. XIV.2.2: nam ad me P. Valerius, homo officiosus, scripsit, id quod ego maximo cum fletu legi, quem ad modum a Vestae ad tabulam Valeriam ducta esses (Terentia); in Vat. 21: cum eum (Bibulum) tu consulem in vincula duceres et a tabula Valeria collegae tui mitti iuberent), where it indicates a definite spot in the forum. Three explanations of this term have been given:

(1) that it means the bank of Valerius, to which Terentia had been forced by Clodius to go in order to make some declaration about  p506 her husband's estate (Tyrrell and Purser, Correspondence of Cicero I.387). This interpretation is supported by a similar meaning, bank of Sestius, given to tabula Sestia in Cicero, pro Quinct. 25: pueros circum amicos dimittit, ipse suos necessarios ab atriis Liciniis et a faucibus macelli corrogat, ut ad tabulam Sextiam sibi adsint hora secunda postridie.

(2) that it was a painting by Q. Fabius Pictor on the wall of the Curia Hostilia, which represented the victory of M. Valerius Messalla over Hiero and the Carthaginians in 264 B.C. (Plin. XXXV.22: dignatio autem praecipua Romae increvit, ut existimo, a M'. Val. Maximo Messalla, qui princeps tabulam pictam​1 proelii quo Carthaginienses et Hieronem in Sicilia vicerat proposuit in latere curiae Hostiliae anno ab urbe condita CCCCLXXXX). This is the explanation of the scholiast on the passage from the speech against Vatinius: quod vero ad tabulam Valeriam pertinere videatur, loci nomen sic ferebatur, quemadmodum ad tabulam Sestiam, cuius meminit pro Quinctio, ita et ad tabulam Valeriam dicebatur, ubi Valerius Maximus tabulam rerum ab se in Gallia prospere gestarum proposuerat ostentui vulgo, and is doubtless drawn from Pliny. Taking this statement of a scholiast as a basis, Manutius conjectured that there was a sort of tribunes' court 'ad tabulam Valeriam,' to which Terentia was forced to go, presumably to answer for Cicero's property in some way, and cited the passage from his speech in Vat. as a parallel, for here tabula Valeria collegae tui may mean that this was an assembling place for the tribunes, and that those who were gathered there prevented Vatinius from casting Bibulus into prison. It is also known that the subsellia tribunorum were near the basilica Porcia and, therefore, the curia (Suet. Caes. 78; cf. Plut. Cato min. 5; Cic. pro Sest. 124). This is the view that has been generally accepted (Jord. I.2.330‑331; Gilb. III.165; Mitt. 1893, 93; AJP 1898, 406‑412).

(3) tabula Valeria was a bronze tablet on which were inscribed the famous Valerio-Horatian laws, which concerned especially the office and functions of the tribunes. This was set up in the forum, near the subsellia tribunorum, in order that the tribunes might consult its provisions whenever necessary, and hence it came to be used as an indication of locality. In the same way tabula Sestia was a tablet containing a copy of the Licinio-Sestian laws, which probably stood also at the west end of the forum (O'Connor, CP 1908, 278‑284).

The first of these explanations must be rejected; of the other two, the latter seems a little more probable.

The Authors' Note:

1 p[icturam] Mayhoff.

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