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Rostra, from Rostrum.—This name was given to a public place in Rome, where a species of estrade or scaffold stood, surmounted by a tribune, whence the magistrates or other orators harangued the people.  It was a square in form, supported on collumns, ornamented at its base with beaks of ships and ascended by a staircase.  There were two rostra, vetera and nova.  The former were placed in the Forum, or great square, near the spot called curia hostiliaThe naval beaks with which there were originally enriched were from the ships taken from the Autiati by the Romans, commanded by the Consul Mænius, who, in the year v.c. 416, destroyed the port of Antium, took their fleet of twenty two gallies, six of which were armed with spurs or beaks.  The figure of these rostra is to be seen on a medal of the Lollia family in the Thesaurus Morellianus, on the obverse of which is a female head, with the name of LIBERTAS, to whom the rostra were sacred; Also on a denarius of C. Junius Silanus, published by Gessner, and upon other coins both consular and imperial. -- The rostra nova were called rostra Julia, either in consequence of their being situated near the temple of Augustus, or because they werw work of Julius Cæsar, of from Augustus having ordered them to be restored.-- Two medals (given in Ursinus) refer to the rostra nova or Julia. On one is the bare head of Augustus, as is testified by the inscription, CAESAR AVGVSTVS. The reverse of this medal exhibits two persons (whom some have supposed to be Augustus and Agrippa) seated in curule chairs, on a suggestum ornamented with three rostrated prows of ships.  Above it is inscribed Caius SVLPICIVS PLATORINus. -- The other coin, illustrative of the rostra nova, is thus briefly described and explained by Spanheim (Pr. ii, p. 193); There exists (says he) a coin of the Mussidia family, which shews the comitium (or place of legislative assembly) situated near the rostra vetera, or elsewere, in the Roman forum, or by its side, with the cancelli (lattice), and with two personages clothed in the toga, who cast the voting balls into urns. At the bottom of the medal is inscribed the surename CLOACINæ Veneris (the Cloacinian Venus), whose image stood in the same place. Thus Plautus (in curul. iv. 1.10) is illustrated, whilst in his turn he throws ligth on the medal---

Qui perjurum convenire volt hominem, mitto in comitium;
Qui mendacem et gloriosum, apud CLOACINAE sacrum.
See Mussidia.        
e page from the Dictionary Of Roman Coins
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