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Location of trial in fifth-century Rome - Printable Version

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Location of trial in fifth-century Rome - Anahita Hoose - 11-18-2016

Hello! Me again, with another research question for my novel set in fifth-century AD Rome. One of my characters is tried for sorcery before the praefectus urbi in 436. My question is whether we know where such trials would have been physically located. I'm guessing at the praefectus' tribunal in the Forum (i.e., outside rather than in a courtroom as such), but it would be nice to have confirmation. Thanks!


RE: Location of trial in fifth-century Rome - Nathan Ross - 11-18-2016

Trials could have taken place in any public space, it seems - this note about late antique lawcourts as 'non-architectural spaces' is specifically about provincial governors, but would probably cover trials in Rome as well. It might be worth checking up the Luke Lavan paper mentioned by the author.

There are suggestions that the old Temple of Peace in the Forum (where the forma urbis was exhibited) may have functioned as the office or audience chamber of the praefectus urbis, so perhaps he could have conducted trials there. This passage relates to the 1st/2nd century, and suggests the general area of the Temple, or perhaps (in the pages following) in the Forum of Trajan, which is mentioned as a place of law in the Theodosian Code; things may not have changed by the 5th century!


RE: Location of trial in fifth-century Rome - Anahita Hoose - 11-19-2016

(11-18-2016, 12:39 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: Trials could have taken place in any public space, it seems - this note about late antique lawcourts as 'non-architectural spaces' is specifically about provincial governors, but would probably cover trials in Rome as well. It might be worth checking up the Luke Lavan paper mentioned by the author.

There are suggestions that the old Temple of Peace in the Forum (where the forma urbis was exhibited) may have functioned as the office or audience chamber of the praefectus urbis, so perhaps he could have conducted trials there. This passage relates to the 1st/2nd century, and suggests the general area of the Temple, or perhaps (in the pages following) in the Forum of Trajan, which is mentioned as a place of law in the Theodosian Code; things may not have changed by the 5th century!

Great response! Thanks so much Smile


RE: Location of trial in fifth-century Rome - Flavius Inismeus - 12-04-2016

(11-18-2016, 12:39 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: This passage relates to the 1st/2nd century, and suggests the general area of the Temple, or perhaps (in the pages following) in the Forum of Trajan, which is mentioned as a place of law in the Theodosian Code; things may not have changed by the 5th century!
By the 5th century? The Basilica of Maxentius looks good as a place fit for important trials, I'd say. Just a proposal, of course; I think there is no hard evidence.


RE: Location of trial in fifth-century Rome - Nathan Ross - 12-04-2016

(12-04-2016, 07:08 PM)Flavius Inismeus Wrote: The Basilica of Maxentius

Although they wouldn't have called it that, of course! [Image: wink.png]

But yes, any public space could apparently be used as a trial court.


RE: Location of trial in fifth-century Rome - Flavius Inismeus - 12-04-2016

(12-04-2016, 10:24 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(12-04-2016, 07:08 PM)Flavius Inismeus Wrote: The Basilica of Maxentius

Although they wouldn't have called it that, of course! [Image: wink.png]
Certainly, it would've been Basilica Constantiniana or Nova, I take it.