15: The New Basilica

Construction of the New Basilica began under the emperor Maxentius in the year 308 but was completed by emperor Constantine in 312 after his victory over Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Indeed, the change in ruler during its building means that this is sometimes referred the Basilica of Maxentius or the Basilica of Constantine. The term Basilica in modern usage suggests a large church or cathedral but in ancient Rome it was more associated with a large civic chamber or meeting hall.  It would have contained statues of gods but was not likely a place of worship.  The Basilica's 3 large bays that dominate the north side of the Via Sacra faced onto a large central nave and were mirrored by another set of 3 matching bays on the South side. These bays had large windows to help light the halls and the ends each bay’s dividing support wall originally had a massive marble column 14.5 meters high and roughly 1 meter wide. All but one of these 8 columns were destroyed – the last remaining was removed by Pope Paul V in the early 1600s and placed in La Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore where it still stands. 

Om Podcasten

A free audio guide that helps you discover the history and context of Rome's ancient sites. Go to http://www.rome-podcast.com for an interactive map of the locations covered and full transcripts of the episodes. Each episode focuses on a specific historical site and guides you through a short tour with the goal of providing a concise but insightful summary of the history and context. Hope you find this informative and useful. Enjoy your time in Rome! Daron Disclaimer: I have endeavored to check all the information presented against the latest known interpretations of the archaeological evidence. Please feel free to provide feedback or corrections if you note something is wrong or has changed since the time of recording. Acknowledgement: This podcast builds on the extensive notes, information and pictures recorded by Jeff Bondono (see www.JeffBondono.com (http://www.jeffbondono.com/) ). Jeff kindly gave permission for me to use his site for reference materials. I encourage you to explore the comprehensive pictures he has created to record all the sites covered in this series (and many more). You will also see that Jeff's work (and therefore this podcast) builds on the prior notes and walking tours created by Walter Muzzy.