Pompeii: Its Life and Art

By August Mau; Francis W. Kelsey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
THE MACELLUM

THE large building at the northeast corner of the Forum was a provision market, of the sort called Macellum. The name Pantheon, once applied to it, is now abandoned, and there is no longer the slightest doubt regarding its purpose, which is indicated by its general plan, the remains found in the course of the excavations, and the paintings upon the walls.

Such markets, where provisions, especially of the finer and more expensive kinds, were sold and in which a cook also might be secured, without doubt existed in the Greek cities after the time of Alexander; from the Greeks, as in the case of the basilica, the Romans took both the name and the architectural type.

Fig. 35. -- Plan of the Macellum.
1. Portico.5. Chapel.
2. Colonnade.6. Banquet room.
3, 3, 3, Rows of market stalls.7. Tholus.
4. Market room for meat and8. Pen.
fish.

The first macellum in Rome was built in 179 B.C. in connection with the enlargement of a fish market. In later times, as we learn from inscriptions, others were constructed in Rome and in various cities of Italy and the provinces.

A macellum built by Nero is shown on one of the coins of this emperor. It agrees in essential points with our building, having stalls or shops of more than one story in height, and at the middle of the court a structure with a dome-like roof. The central structure, the tholus, is mentioned by Varro as-an essential part of a macellum, but its use is known to us only from the remains found at Pompeii.

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