Ancient monuments in Rome

tekst1=The Regia as it would have appeared in 179AD
location=Regione VIII "Forum Romanum"
date=unknown old Kingdom era
builder=Unknown builder
type=Roman Old Kingdom|

The Regia is one of the oldest buildings at the Roman Forum. It was originally the residence of the kings of Rome or at least their main headquarters, and later the office of the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Roman religion. It occupied a triangular patch of terrain between the Temple of Vesta, the Temple of Divus Julius and Temple of Antoninus and Faustina.


According to ancient tradition it was built by the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius as a royal palace. The Latin term regia, translate as "royal residence". It is said that he also built the temple and house of Vesta as well as the "Domus Publica". This created a central area for political and religious life in the city and Kingdom. When Caesar became pontifex maximus he exercised his duties from the Regia.

The archives of the pontifices were kept here, the formulas of all kinds of prayers, vows, sacrifices, etc., the state calendar of sacred days, the "Annales"- the record of events of each year for public reference- and the laws relating to marriage, death, wills, etc.

The Regia was the place of assembly of the College of Pontiffs and at times of the "Fratres Arvales."

The Regia was burned and restored in 148 BC (for a possible burning by the Gauls in 390 BC, see Mem. Am. Acad. ii.59-60); and again in 36 BC, eight years after the death of Julius Caesar, when the restoration was carried out in marble by Domitius Calvinus, on the regal foundation.


The building had an irregularly formed enclosed courtyard that was paved in tufa with a wooden portico. The interior was divided into three rooms with entrance from the courtyard into the middle room.

The West Room was the shrine of Mars, "sacrarium Martis", in which the "ancilia" (shields) of Mars were stored. Here, too, stood the lances that were consecrated to Mars, the "hastae Martiae".

The East Room contained a sanctuary of Ops Consiva, so sacred that only the pontifex maximus and the Vestal Virgins were allowed to enter it.

Julius Caesar's influence

According to legend if the lances in the Shrine of Mars would ever start vibrating something terrible would happen. They are said to have vibrated on the night of 14 March 44 BC. Caesar, High Priest at the time, in spite of the vibrating lances left the Regia to attend at the meeting of the Senate at the Curia of the Theatre of Pompey. It would be his last. He was assassinated by a group of senators who conspired together along with Brutus and Cassius to rid Rome of what they believed was a tyrant.


* Joachim Losehand: "Häuser für die Herrscher Roms und Athens?" Überlegungen zu Funktion und Bedeutung von Gebäude F auf der Athener Agora und der Regia auf dem Forum Romanum, Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2007. ISBN 3830033974

External links

* [*/Regia.html The Regia (from Samuel Ball Platner, "A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome", 1929)]

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