Encyclopedia Ichnographica

Crypta Balbi


Crypta Balbi

Grotta di Balbo: « Vitruv. nel lib. 6, al cap. 8, Sesto Rufo. e P. Vitt. nella Reg. IX di Roma. »

The Crypta Balbi, a porticus built by Balbus in 15 B.C., adjoining his theater and consisting of a series of arcades, covering an area 148.50 by 44.55 meters in extent. Above these arcades was a second story, which may have been the reason why the porticus was called crypta, a name usually applied to an underground corridor which was lighted from above. A considerable portion of the building existed in the sixteenth century, and we possess plans and drawings of that period; but the foundations are now covered with houses. Two travertine pilasters, with engaged columns and the entablature, are built into the front of a house in the via in Cacaberis, No. 23. Blocks of the travertine pavement have also been found in the via Arenula, 5.80 meters beneath the present level. (Platner)

Pictorial Dictionary notes

Crypta Balbi: there is a drawing of the Crypta Balbi by Peruzzi in the Uffizi that Piranesi copied to draw the Porticus Philippi which is in front of the Theater Balbi, and in turn Piranesi labels a long plan to the side of the theater as the Crypta Balbi.




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