Part 6b: Curia Pompey

Ok now we will backtrack to where Julius Caesar is leaving the Forum and going to the Curia Pompey.

On your map it will be called the "Largo di Torre Argentina". It's about 300 m due south of the Pantheon. In your guidebooks it will be called the "Area Sacra" or the "Four Republican Victory-Temples". Face the Rostra, the Curia Pompey remains are about 1 km away on the other side of the Capitoline Hill. You can exit three ways, to the left and behind the Rostra going up the Clivus Capitolinus and across the top of the Capitoline Hill ( Photo 5 ).

***Or the stairs to the right of the Rostra and behind the Arch of Septimius Severus ( Photo 3, photo 5 ). Exit right at the first street-level landing and go counterclockwise around the Hill (Julius Caesar's route). But be certain to follow the actual road (Clivus Argentarius) he took with the original paving stones (like the Via Sacra in the Forum). This road is to the right (and lower) of the modern one there and passes *directly* behind the Forum of Julius Caesar ( Photo 9 ).

Or exit ( Photo 4 ) by the main gate, behind you (45° right) and up the ramp to the gate and the Via dei Fori Imperial (go left). The main gate has a gift shop / bookstore / w.c. ("The Roman Forum" by the Soprintendenza Archeologica Di Roma is the best guidebook in my opinion). Also another w.c. (bathroom) is hidden behind the (south side) Basilica Julia. Also before you leave go into the Curia Julia to get an idea of the layout of the Curia Pompey. The Curia Pompey was a little smaller, the two back doors would have been large windows, the Senator's seats would also be on the right and left on those steps and the Statue of Pompey would have been centered and against the back wall on the slightly raised podium in the rear.

After you exit the Forum get yourself in front of the Vittorio Emmanuele II Monument facing the large traffic square in front of it which is the Piazza Venezia. The main street at the opposite end coming into it is the Via Del Corso (in ancient times called Via Lata "Broad Way") which goes to the Piazza del Popolo and then continues on as the Via Flaminia (ancient times called Flaminia), this is the path of the ancient road that left Rome. Julius Caesar's litter would have taken the first exit :-) which is today's Via San Marco. Ancient maps show this street passing between the "Theatre and Porticus (Crypta) of Balbus" (actually built after Julius Caesar's death, admittance to the remains are beneath the museum on the left side of the street) and the two columns of a disputed temple (Nymphs, Guardians of Seafarers, ?) on the right side of the street. So cross the street (have fun :-) to that little grass and tree park (Piazza San Marco) on the left side of the Piazza Venezia, and go left (west) down the Via San Marco. In about 500 m you will come upon the "Area Sacra" in the Largo di Torre Argentina on the right ( Photo 11 ).

The four Temples are in an excavated block below street level. The fourth temple (D) is excavated partially beneath the street you're on, so Julius Caesar's litter would have passed-by the left side of this temple and somehow entered the Porticus of Pompey in the southeastern corner (possibly between Temples C and D?, just a guess :-) but I saw a walled-in arch and some marble paving stones remains that looked sort of out-of-place, like a wide pathway that could enter that building attached to the outside-rear of the Porticus) or through the side ( Photo 10, photo 10a ). And then turned right to go to the front steps of the Curia Pompey, which was centered in the backend (E) of the Porticus with the Theatre of Pompey (W) at the other end. This entire complex was about 325 m x 150 m.

Cross the street (Via di Torre Argentina) and turn right (you are behind the temples), in the Temple area now across the street you'll see six columns rising above street level ( Photo 12 ) You'll be on the sidewalk in front of that building in the background), stop just before you get parallel with them and face them. A black iron and plexiglass fence surrounds these temples. Now look to the right and you will see stairs leading down into the site (no admittance) and to the left of this a brick wall (part of this fence) and then a short section of this fence connected to a white stone fence post and around the center of the next (second) section you will see a *tree*. Align yourself with that, it will put you in the center of the front of the Curia Pompey ( Photo 14 - the *tree* is on the extreme right).

5 m past that sidewalk fence across the street would be the back wall of the Curia Pompey and about 23 m from that rail coming towards you would be the front entrance to the Curia Pompey. The front steps would be located beneath that building behind you and in front of them Julius Caesar's litter was put down upon the ground (I paced out this area, the Curia Pompey building itself probably ended about 5 m into that building, add to that probably a columned porch and then the front steps). [It's said that on the 14th a Kingbird flew into the Curia Pompey carrying a sprig of laurel (Julius Caesar wears a laurel wreath crown) pursued by other birds, it was then attacked and torn to pieces, another omen! ( Photo 10, photo 10a )]

Next: Part 7: The Assassination
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