Basilica of Maxentius (Rome, Italy) : General view, from the southeast, depicting its colossal scale
unknown (Ancient Roman)
Forum Romanum, Rome, Lazio, Italy 306-313
39 x 25.3 x 86.6 m (nave)
9/15/1994 8000 BC - 499 AD
brick concrete marble
It was begun by the Emperor Maxentius (reigned AD 306-312), possibly following the fire of AD 307, which severely damaged the nearby Temple of Venus and Rome, but was only completed, in slightly altered form, after his death in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (AD 312). The Senate subsequently dedicated it to his victorious rival Constantine. The collapse of the nave and south aisle in the medieval period created the imposing ruin visible today. Unlike most earlier basilicas, which had internal colonnades and trabeated timber roofs, the Basilica of Maxentius was built with brick-faced concrete walls and concrete vaults, to a design based on the frigidaria of the Imperial thermae. The nave (82.6 x 25.3 x c. 39.0 m) was roofed with a triple groin vault decorated with oval and octagonal coffers and lit by arched clerestory windows. It was the largest vaulted space ever created by Roman architects. Three parallel barrel-vaulted chambers, 15.8 m deep and averaging 23.6 m wide, connected by broad arched openings, formed each aisle and acted as buttresses for the piers supporting the central vault. In front of these piers stood giant Corinthian columns with fluted monolithic shafts, 15.8 m high, in Proconnesian marble, which appeared to support the vault but were almost entirely decorative. The last remaining column was removed by Pope Paul V in 1613 to its present location in front of S Maria Maggiore in Rome.
Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine
Architecture -- Italy -- Roman -- (YVRC)
architecture (AAT) churches: basilicas (AAT)
Sculptures, Models, & Architecture
Copyright Scott Gilchrist, Archivision, Inc The use of this image may be subject to the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) or to site license or other rights management terms and conditions. The person using the image is liable for any infringement.
Yale Community Only
architectural exteriors; rulers and leaders; City planning; Roman Empire; government; civic building construction buildings; basilicas; complexes; sites (locations); archaeological sites; excavations (sites)
Archivision Module Three
2878 Chamonix, Montreal QC Archivision, Inc. 9/15/1994
Purchase, Visual Resources Collection, May, 2011; photographer Scott Gilchrist
Visual Resources Collection
Visual Resources Collection
Local Record Number:
For more information about this resource, contact:
Many images in the Arts Library’s Visual Resources Digital Collection are scans from reproductions, used for teaching.
When available, information on the original work appears in a Source Note field.
Yale Library cannot provide high-resolution files, nor grant permission for use of copyrighted images.