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Basilica di Massenzio e Constantino (Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine)

This building is well known for its summer symphony concerts. Maxentius was proclaimed Emperor by the people after the abdication of joint rulers, Maximian, his father, and Diocletian, in 305. Almost immediately he began to build a basilica, the last to be erected in Rome. Built of brick beneath a groined vault, it was different from the other two basilicas, Aemelia and Julia. It was rectangular and divided into three by huge pillars flanked by columns; one long side ran parallel to the Sacred Way and the other followed the line of the present Via dei Fori Imperiali. The Imperial throne, however, was coveted by Constantine, son of the Emperor Constantius, who had reigned jointly with Maximian and Diocletian. He defeated and killed Maxentius at the battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 and completed the basilica with modifications. The grandiose building housed some colossal statues; fragments of the statue of Constantine, which stood in the west apse, can still be seen in the ourtyard of the Palazzo di Conservatori. The gilded bronze tiles were used in the 7C to roof of St. Peter's Basilica.

Last Revised September 28, 2007

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