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Basilica Aemilia


The Basilica Aemilia was built in 179 BC by the censors Fulvio Flavio Noble and Lepidus. Since it was financed by Lepidus himself, the Senate gave his name to it.

The basilica was 90 meters long and 29 wide, and one entered it from three large arches. The interior was composed of five naves; the central one was much wider and taller to allow better lighting. The aisles were divided by three levels of columns made in African marble in the 14 BC, thanks to the Augustan restoration.

The exterior was characterized by a large porch where Romans loved to walk and where were the tabernae (stores and restaurants) also used by bankers business (foreign exchange, loans, etc.)

The basilica was used especially in winter, for activities related to the Forum, for the Courts and for economic transactions that, on the contrary, took place outdoors in summer.

Roman basilicas were not used for religious purposes but for economic and political activities as our current stock market and our Court, only later the term will be imported from Catholicism to indicate bigger and more important worship buildings.
The digging of the Basilica Emilia began around 1929. The remains of the late imperial columns were found and reassembled.



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