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Description of the Building (Reg VIII, Ins 3, 1, 32, 33)

In this large hall electors, who were divided into curiae voted for the lists of candidates before the duumvir, who was in turn nominated by the elected assembly. The Comitium is more of an unroofed open space than a building as illustrated by the picture middle right, which is a view of the Comitium taken from the Forum. The walls of the hall were veneered with marble and adorned with niches, in which statues were in all probability placed.

On the south side of the hall is a large recess (B)
the floor of which, reached by a short flight of steps, forms a platform or tribune about 1.5 metres above the rest of the building. A small doorway on its west side leads to a narrow room containing a similar platform opening onto the colonnade of the Forum. In the rebuilding these platforms were walled up.

The twin platforms echo the features of the Rostra in Rome. The Rostra was a speakers platform where orators could address an audience in the Comitium on one side and harangue the crowd in the Forum on the other. 

The Comitium (A) lies off the south east corner of the Forum on the south side of the Via dell'Abbondanza. The complex had undergone a complete transformation shortly before the AD79 eruption. Before the rebuilding, a row of pillars separated the interior both from the Forum and from the Via dell'Abbondanza, but after the rebuilding the area was closed off, leaving only two entrances from the Forum and one from the street (pictured below).

As an aside, almost nothing of the Comitium is visible in the Forum Romanum today. The site of the Comitium (pictured left) was where the open space between the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Curia Julia is now, but most of the Comitium and related buildings were demolished in the late 1st century BC when Julius Caesar and Augustus reorganised the whole Roman Forum.

Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are reproduced by permission from their website at www.pompeiiinpictures.com
(Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali: Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei)

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