The Late Republic and Empire
By the late Republic, the West Rostra, the structure from which speakers addressed the people, flanked by statues of Pythagoras and Alcibiades, was incorporated into the seating area (the Comitium) immediately in front of the old Senate House, the Curia Hostilia, a site buried today under the Church of Saints Martina and Luke (Fig 1.1). Before his assassination, Caesar had started a new Curia aligned with the colonnade on the south side of his Forum, and, at right angles to it and just west of it, he built a new rostra (Figs. 8.4–5). The space on Caesar’s Rostra was limited, but Augustus gradually enlarged it between 42 and 12 BCE. While repeating the general plan and decorations of its predecessor, Augustus’ Rostra was much larger. Flavian repairs (69–96 CE) strengthened an upper platform now crowded with heavy honorary statues and their pedestals. But in the reign of Septimius Severus (193–211), five massive new honorary columns erected at the back of the podium required heavy foundations (Figs. 8.1–2, 10–12), and, in the fifth century CE, a concrete brick-faced concrete addition, the so-called Vandalic Rostra, extended the front of the older platform farther north.