Return to Basilica Julia

Columns of Diocletian

In AD 283, the year before Diocletian became emperor, a fire destroyed the Basilica Julia, which provided him an opportunity to rebuild several important buildings, including the Curia (Senate House).

Five honorary columns were added behind the Rostra in AD 303 and, to provide symmetry, a new rostra, with a corresponding number of columns, was placed at the opposite end of the Forum in front of the Temple of Divine Julius. This shortened the Forum square and shifted emphasis to the newly restored Basilica Julia and Senate House. Joining both rostra were seven honorary columns, two of which are pictured above, that ran in front of the Basilica. A single larger column (which later was reworked as the Column of Phocas), presumably honoring Diocletian, himself, was placed on an axis with the Argiletum, the throughfare that ran along the Curia, which now became the main approach to the Forum.