Cloacina Sacrum

Richardson, L. jr

Cloacina, Sacrum (Fig. 39): a small sacellum to the divinity of the brook running across the Forum Romanum. It stood near the Tabernae Novae (Livy 3.48.5), and Plautus (Plautus Curc. 471) places it between the Comitium and an unnamed basilica. It is shown on coins (B. M. Coins, Rom. Rep. 1.577-78 nos. 4242-54) as a low circular platform crowned by an open balustrade holding two draped statues, each with the right hand lowered to a small support (thymiaterion?), one with the left hand raised and holding an indistinct object usually identified as a flower. Other additions to either side of the platform are also unclear. These are presumably the signa Veneris Cloacinae of Pliny (Pliny HN 15.119). It is identified beyond question by a round marble base molding found in 1899-1901 in front of the basilica Paulli encroaching on the Sacra Via, where the Braccio Morto of the Cloaca under the basilica joins the main channel. It is 2.40 m in diameter, with a rectangular projection to the northwest, presumably for a small stair of approach. This molding rests on a base of travertine blocks, below which are eight courses of various sorts of stone, showing that the shrine was very old and had to be raised as the ground level around it rose. It is not known when or why Cloaca was assimilated to Venus, or why there should have been two statues in the sacellum.

Nash 1.262-63.

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