Completed in 55 BCE, the Theatrum Pompeii was the first permanent theatre to be built in Rome. It was commissioned by one of Rome's leading generals, Pompey the Great (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, 106-48 BCE), who spared no expense in its construction, importing huge quantities of costly marble from Asia.
To the east of the theatre stood a great rectangular quadriporticus, which comprised a building known as the Curia Pompeia, where meetings of the Senate were sometimes held. It was in the Curia Pompeia, on March 15th 44 BCE, that Pompey's rival Julius Caesar was assassinated.
Above ground, almost nothing survives of Pompey's theatre, which was situated between Campo dei Fiori and Largo Argentina, however the outline of the cavea survives in the layout of the buildings on Via di Grotta Pinta.
The theatre is recalled in the inscription that is emblazoned on the facade of Palazzo Sodalizio Teutonico dell' Anima, which lies on Via del Monte della Farina: HEIC UBI IGNOBILES NUPER TABERNAE RUDERA PREMEBANT PORTICUS CN POMPEII CUI CONTINENS ERAT CURIA C IUL CAESARIS NECE INSIGNIS SODALITAS TEUTONUM DE ANIMA NOBILIORES HAS AEDES EXSTRUENDAS CURAVIT ANNO AB URBE CONDITA MM DC XL VI A D M DCCC XC III (Here, where tawdry shops lately encumbered the ruins of the portico of Gnaeus Pompey, to which was attached the Curia, famous for the assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar, the German Society of Santa Maria dell' Anima undertook the construction of this nobler palace 2,646 years from the foundation of the city, the year of the Lord 1893).
A 19th century marble statue of Pompey stands in the courtyard of Palazzo Sodalizio Teutonico dell' Anima.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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