Tholos (Ancient Rome)

A tholos (pl. tholoi, from Ancient Greek θόλος), in Latin tholus (pl. tholi), is an architectural feature that was widely used in the classical world. It is a round structure, usually built upon a couple of steps (podium), with a ring of columns supporting a domed roof.

A panoramic view of the macellum at Pozzuoli. A tholos can be seen in the center.

In Roman cities they could often be found in the center of the macellum (meat market),[1][2] where they might have been where fish were sold. Other uses for the central tholos have been suggested, such as the place where official weights and measures were held for reference or as shrines to the gods of the market place. Some macella had a water fountain or water feature in the centre of their courtyard as well as, or instead of, a tholos structure.


  1. ^ Dyson, Stephen L. (1 August 2010). Rome: A Living Portrait of an Ancient City. JHU Press. p. 252. ISBN 9781421401010.
  2. ^ Holleran, Claire (26 April 2012). Shopping in Ancient Rome: The Retail Trade in the Late Republic and the Principate. Oxford University Press. p. 161. ISBN 019969821X. Retrieved 1 April 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)