Description of the Buildings (Reg VIII, Ins 2, 6, 8, 10)
The three spacious halls served as the
municipal offices for the city's administration. Halls (A) and (C) are alike in having on their rear wall an
apse large enough to accommodate one or more magistrates with their
attendants; they were the official offices of the aediles and duumvirs,
while the central hall was the council chamber or curia where the
council chamber (pictured right and lower right) was plainly intended
to be the most richly ornamented of the three, and was further
distinguished by the elevation of its floor, which was more than half a
metre above the pavement of the Forum colonnade. Along the sides runs a
ledge on which rested a double series of columns, serving both as
decoration and as a support for the ceiling.
The recess at the
rear held a shrine dedicated to the penates of the city.
As the duumvirs
only sat as judges but also tended to the financial administration of
it is understandable that the Office of the Duumvirs (C)
(pictured below) was the first hall to be rebuilt after the earthquake
of AD62. The magistrates sat in the apse, along the wall of which is a
ledge for statues. The hall had strong front doors fastened with iron
bolts. The small side door at the right allowed entry after business
hours when the large doors were closed.
The Office of the Aediles (A) (pictured
right), is situated at the corner of
the Forum colonnade and close to the Basilica, conveniently placed
for the magistrates who, among other duties were charged with the
maintenance of order and the enforcement of regulations in the market.
One or perhaps both aediles sat in the apse at the rear of the hall, The
front part, lower than the rest by two steps, may have served as a
|The Municipal Offices lie at the south end of the Forum.
Viewed from the Forum (pictured below) they present a complete facade,
the narrow spaces between them being entered by low doorways. The three
buildings were erected after the earthquake of AD62 on the site of older
buildings which performed a similar function.
At he time of the
eruption only the Office of the Duumvirs (C) was complete. The other
two lacked both internal and external decoration.
* Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are
reproduced by permission from their website at
(Su concessione del Ministero per
i Beni e le Attività Culturali:
Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di
Napoli e Pompei)