Monuments of Roman coin part 8: Basilica Ulpia

12 Feb 2018  Mon

Basilica Ulpia is an elegant portico supported by columns with lofty steps and is adorned with various statues over it. It was an ancient Roman civic structure in the forum of Trajan. Named after the Roman Emperor Trajan, this building is suited far away from the main courtyard. The acts conducted on its premises were not religious, but the administration of justice, commerce and the presence of the emperor made it significant.

The Sestertius issued during the reign of Emperor Trajan reign illustrated this Basilica on them. The coins depicted the equestrian statue of Trajan with the legend ‘S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI’ and ‘BASILICA VLPIA S C’ in exergue on the reverse. This edifice was added by the order of Senate on these coins in AD 144 to commemorate the basilica.

The column structure of Basicila Ulpia was influenced by Egyptian hypostyle halls. Today, many of these columns exist and are part of modern Via dei Fori Imperiali. A trunk road was constructed around it during Benito Mussolini’s time. This Basilica is decorated with the war spoils and trophies taken from the Dacian wars fought under the command of Trajan.

The structure was used as a model for the Basilica of Maxentius during the reign of Constantine.

To read more about the Roman structure on coins click here.