The Basilica Aemilia (Basilica Emilia) was founded in 179 B. C. by Emilius Lepidus and Fulvius Nobilior. The basilica, which was enlarged by the consul Marcus Aemilius Paulus in 78 BC and then renovated under Augustus after a fire, is approximately 100m/328ft in length and probably served as an exchange or courtroom.
This type of structure was adopted by the Romans from the Greeks – the Greek word »basilica« means »king’s hall«. It consists of three elongated, rectangular spaces with a common, flat ceiling and separated by columns, with a recess (apse) at one end for the chair of the market supervisor or judge. With a few changes, the basilica with a nave and two aisles became the generally accepted design for Christian churches.
Reconstruction Video of Basilica Aemilia – by Altair4:
On the right as you enter the Roman Forum, this now heavily ruined basilica was said by Pliny to have been one of the world’s three most beautiful buildings. It illustrates how buildings in the Forum changed roles over the years.
In the 5th century B.C, this area was a row of butcher’s shops, taken over in time by the city’s moneylenders. In 179 BC the Censor Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, son of Aemilius Paulus, built the Forum’s second basilica over the shops, such acts of private enterprize being rewarded with the right to have the building named in one’s honour. The moneylenders were allowed to stay, concealed behind a special portico.
During Alaric’s attack in 410 A.D, some of the moneylenders supposedly stayed in the basilica to do business with the invading Goths. You can still see bronze coins fused into marble pavement, perhaps the result of the Goths’ violent dislike of the bankers’ reception. Much of the building, like many of Rome’s treasures, suffered at the hands of the Goths and similar invaders, but the bulk of the basilica was lost during the Renaissance, when a large part of its fabric was looted as building stone.
Basilica Aemilia & Rome Tours:
Colosseum to the Basilica Aemilia
Basilica Aemilia set in the Roman Forum, 0,65 km from (8 min walk) from Colosseum.