Traditionally the home of King Numa (see rex), was situated at the east end of the forum Romanum, between the via Sacra and the precinct of Vesta. Under the republic it was the seat of authority of the pontifex maximus and contained his archives; also shrines dedicated to Mars (which held the sacred shields carried in procession by the Salii). Archaic huts on the site were in the late 7th cent. replaced by a stone building around a courtyard, recalling the palaces of Etruria. Rebuilt several times, the structure took on its definitive plan at the end of the 6th cent.; this was then preserved throughout antiquity.
Subjects: Classical Studies.