Basilica of Maxentius

Rome, Italy

The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine (Basilica di Massenzio) is the largest ancient building in the Roman Forum. Construction began on the northern side of the forum under the emperor Maxentius in 308, and was completed in 312 by Constantine I after his defeat of Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. The building rose close to the Temple of Peace, at that time probably neglected, and the Temple of Venus and Rome, whose reconstruction was part of Maxentius' interventions.

The building consisted of a central nave covered by three groin vaults suspended 39 meters above the floor on four large piers, ending in an apse at the western end containing a colossal statue of Constantine (remnants of which are now in a courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Musei Capitolini).

The south and central sections were probably destroyed by the earthquake of 847. In 1349 the vault of the nave collapsed in another earthquake. The only one of the eight 20-meter-high columns, which survived the earthquake was brought by Pope Paul V to Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore in 1614. All that remains of the basilica today is the north aisle with its three concrete barrel vaults. The ceilings of the barrel vaults show advanced weight-saving structural skill with octagonal ceiling coffers.

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Founded: 308-312
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

David F (3 years ago)
it's amazing to see these ancient Roman sites still standing
Tomasz Kielak (4 years ago)
While not much of the original structure remains the size of what is left is mind boggling. It's like a rocket hangar built from stone
Big Boss (4 years ago)
It is one of the last magnificent buildings that reminds of the size of the Roman Empire and its architecture.
Michelle Clyde, Realtor (4 years ago)
Incredibly awesome. I took a tour that included the Ruins along with the Colosseum. It was totally worth it. Several hours of walking so make sure that you were comfortable shoes.
Milen Dimitrov (4 years ago)
This building was the largest ever built on the Roman Forum, and was known as Basilica Nova. It was used for a court-house, and for gathering of large number of Romans. It housed the giant statue of Constantine, now standing in the Capitoline Museum. Instead of having columns to support the ceiling, there were arches and the roof was not flat, so its weight could be held by the arches. Only the north facade is now still standing. Despite this fact, when entering the Basilica, one feels so small and could imagine how did the ordinary Roman citizen felt in front of the court.
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