Musei Capitolini

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Transversal gallery Gallery Foundation area

Tabularium

From the museum, passing through the Gallery Junction, we come to the Tabularium. After walking down a long corridor, created in modern times within the building's original foundation space, and from where we can see the      Temple of Veiovis, we come to the gallery which opens out on to the Roman Forum. On this gallery is the entrance to another area containing the remains of buildings pre-existent to the Tabularium. The areas on the north-eastern side of the Tabularium feature a lintel bearing an inscription testifying to the date of the building's inauguration; they can be seen from outside the Museum complex, alongside Via di S. Pietro in Carcere.

The Roman Forum’s main square is closed, on the side of the Capitoline Hill, by the imposing square structure of the Tabularium; the building contained the Roman Public Record Office, which was used as a place to store the state archives, such as deeds, laws, treaties, and decrees of the Senate. We know from an inscription in the building that it was erected by Quintus Lutatius Catulus in 78 B.C., the year of his consulate.

This imposing monument, of which only the foundations are preserved, was situated within the Roman Forum, it was on the front slope of the Capitoline Hill, below the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, to the southeast of the Arx and Tarpeian Rock. The core of the building, built in opus caementicium, is divided into cellars, which were once inaccessible and constitute the terracing of the slope ( substructio); the upper floors, where the archive was hosted, have been replaced by the medieval Senatorial Palace.

The Tabularium, roughly trapezoidal in shape, presents a significant recess at the corner of the Capitolium, due to the presence of an older temple, the Temple of Vejovis.

Tabularium

Gallery

Tabularium - Gallery

At the north-eastern end of the gallery is a well-preserved example of the pavilion vaults which originally made up the roof, almost completely hidden by later alterations. On the wall, a large fragment of a marble lintel from the Temple of Concordia in the Roman Forum dating back to the I century AD. 
The large archways in the gallery were walled up during the Middle Ages as part of the building's transformation into a fort, and have only been partially restored. They afford an excellent view over the whole archaeological area of the Roman Forum, with the Colosseum and Palatine Hill in the background.  

In front of the Roman Forum, the large arches of the arcade in opus quadratum made of gabine stone (a kind of tufa coming from the territory of ancient Gabii), as a great bridge, put in communication the two sides of the hill. It consists of 11 spans, originally covered by a cloister vault, supported by gabine stone columns with capitals and cornices in travertine; the last span preserves the original vault.

The gallery overlooked five blind rooms, which were similar and parallel.

A steep staircase, inside the substructio and no longer accessible, connects the floor of the Roman Forum to the Temple Vejovis; a second ramp, opposite to the first and preserved only in part, connected to the upper floors of the Tabularium and probably to the archive.

A plate glass, at the centre of the corridor, closed the ventilation shaft of a water culvert built in the lower gallery during the Flavian period.

Architectural element
1st century AD
inv. MC1953

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