The basilica Neptuni was erected by Agrippa in 25 B.C. to commemorate the naval victories of Augustus. Although called a basilica, it appears to have been a temple dedicated to Neptune, standing in the middle of the enclosure formed by the porticus Argonautarum. It was burned in 80 A.D., and restored, probably by Hadrian. A drawing of the sixteenth century represents the building as hexastyle and peripteral, with fifteen columns on each side. A part of the northeast side is still standing, although much injured by fire, and forms part of the building that was until recently the Custom House, but is now the Bourse. This part consists of eleven fluted columns of white marble with Corinthian capitals, and a richly decorated entablature. The columns are 13.10 meters in heiglit and 1.44 in diameter, and date from Hadrian's restoration. The cornice has been so badly restored as to appear now in three patterns. The wall of the cella behind the columns is of peperino, and the original marble lining has entirely disappeared. Cella and columns stand on a lofty stylobate, which is now buried beneath the surface of the ground. This stylobate was adorned with reliefs, - those beneath the columns representing the provinces, and those in the intercolumnar spaces trophies of victory. In all, sixteen statues of provinces and six trophies have been found, but they are scattered in five different collections in Rome and Naples.
Quondam © 2017.09.17