1902 Encyclopedia > Rome > Ancient Rome - Arches, Columns, Tombs, Mausolea, Bridges

Rome
(Part 30)




UNIT II: ROMAN TOPOGRAPHY AND ARCHAEOLOGY

SECTION II: ANCIENT ROME

Arches, Columns, Tombs and Bridges


Arches

The earliest triumphal arches were the two erected by L. Stertinius (196 B.C.) in the Forum Boarium and in the Circus Maximus, out of spoils gained in Spain. In the later years of the empire there were nearly forty in Rome. The arch of Titus and Vespasian on the Summa Sacra Via was erected by Domitian to commemorate the conquest of Judaea by Titus in his father's reign. Reliefs inside the arch represent the triumphal procession—Titus in a chariot, and on the other side soldiers bearing the golden candlestick, trumpets, and table of prothesis, taken from the Jewish temple. The central part only of this monument is original; the sides were restored in 1823. Another arch in honour of Titus had previously been built (80 A.D.) in the Circus Maximus; its inscription is given in the Einsiedeln MS. (Gruter, Inscr., p. 244, No. 6). A plain travertine arch near the supposed palace of Commodus on the Coelian is inscribed with the names of the consul Publius Corn. Dolabella (10 A.D.) and of the flamen martialis, C. Junius Silanus. In later times Nero's aqueduct was built over it. It may possibly have been an entrance into the Campus Martialis, an enclosure on the Coelian sacred to Mars, which was used for games when the Campus Martius was flooded. The so-called arch of Drusus by the Porta Appia also carries the specus of an aqueduct,—that built by Caracalla to supply his great thermae. Its coarse details show, however, that it is much later than the time of Drusus (Suet., Claud., 1). It was usual to ornament specially the arch of an aqueduct that happened to cross a road, and this arch was probably built by Caracalla with the rest of his branch of the Aqua Mareia. Adjoining the church of S. Giorgio in Velabro a rich though coarsely decorated marble gateway with flat lintel still exists,—built, as its inscription records, in honour of Severus and his sons by the argentarii (bankers and silversmiths) and other merchants of the Forum Boarium in 204. It formed an entrance from the Forum Boarium into the Velabrum. The figure of Geta in the reliefs and his name have been erased by Caracalla; the sculpture is poor both in design and execution (see Bull. Inst., 1867, p. 217, and 1871, p. 233). Close by is a quadruple arch, set at the intersection of two roads, such as was called by the Romans an arch of Janus Quadrifons. Though partly built of earlier fragments, it is of the worst style of work ; it cannot be earlier than the time of Constantine, and probably is of still later date. The finest existing arch is that by the Colosseum erected by Constantine. It owes, however, little of its beauty to that artistically degraded period. Not only most of its reliefs but its whole design and many of its architectural features were stolen from an earlier arch erected by Trajan as an entrance to his forum (see p. 826 above). The arch of Claudius, built in 43 to commemorate his supposed victories in Britain, stood across the Via Lata (modern Corso) between S. Francesco Saverio and the Palazzo Sciarra. Its exact position is shown in Bull. Comm. Arch. Rom., vi., pi. iv. Its remains were removed in the middle of the 16th centnry, and nothing now is left but half its inscription, preserved in the garden of the Barberini palace, and two of its reliefs in the porch of the Villa Borghese. It is shown on both aurei and denarii of Claudius, with an attic inscribed DE BRITANNIS, and surmounted by a quadriga and trophies. The arch of Marcus Aurelius, also destroyed in the 16th century, spanned the modern Corso farther north, where the Via Lata had become the Via Flaminia. Many of its fine reliefs are preserved in the Capitoline Museum. The central part of the once triple arch of Gallienus still exists on the Esquiline; it stands against the ancient Porta Esquilina of the Servian wall. It is built of travertine, is simple in design, with coarse details, and has a long in-scription on its attic. The two side arches and pediment over the centre existed in the 16th century, and are shown in the Mantuan oil-painting of Rome, and in several antiquarian works of the 16th century. The inscription records that it was erected in 262 in honour of Gallienus and his wife Salonina by M. Aurelius Victor, praefect of the city.

Columns

The column of Antoninus Pius was a monolith of red granite, erected after his death by his adopted sons M. Aurelius and L. Verus. One fragment of it is preserved in the Vatican with an interesting quarry inscription, recording that it was cut in the ninth year of Trajan's reign, under the supervision of Dioscurus and the architect Aristides. The rest of its fragments were used by Pius VI. to repair the obelisk of Monte Citorio, set up by Augustus in the Campus Martius as the gnomon of a sun-dial (Plin., H.N., xxxvi. 15). The marble pedestal of the Antonine column is now in the Vatican ; it has reliefs of the apotheosis of Faustina and Antoninus Pius, and processions of soldiers. This and the column of M. Aurelius were both surmounted by colossal portrait statues of gilt bronze. The column of M. Aurelius is very similar in size and design to that of Trajan. Its spiral reliefs represent victories in Germany from 167 to 179, arranged in twenty tiers. Like the column of Trajan, it is exactly 100 Roman feet high, without the pedestal. The pedestal was originally much higher than at present, but is now partly buried; it is shown by Gamucci, Du Perac, and other 16th-century writers. This column stood in front of a temple to M. Aurelius, and within a great peribolus, forming a forum similar to that of Trajan, though much smaller ; the remains of this temple probably form the elevation now called Monte Citorio.0

For the catacombs see that article, CATACOMBS (vol. v. p. 206) ; for obelisks see ARCHITECTURE (vol. ii. p. 390) and EGYPT (vol. vii. pp. 768, 778).





Tombs

The recent discovery of a cemetery of prehistoric (Etruscan) date is mentioned above, p. 812. Few tombs exist of the Roman period earlier than the 1st century B.C.,—probably owing to the great extension of the city beyond the Servian limits, which thus obliterated the earlier burial places. The tomb of the Cornelian Scipios is the most important of early date which still exists. It is excavated in the tufa rock at the side of the Via Appia, outside the Porta Capena. Interments of the Scipio family went on here for about 400 years, additional chambers and passages being excavated from time to time. The peperino sarcophagus of Cornelius Lucius Scipio Barbatus (Liv., x. 12, 13), consul in 298 B.C., is now in the Vatican ; its inscription, in rude Saturnian verse, is perhaps the most important existing specimen of early Latin epigraphy. Many other inscribed slabs were found in the 17th century, covering the '' loculi" in which lay the bodies of later members of the family. Those now existing in the tomb are modern copies, with blundered inscriptions. All are given by Mommsen (C.I.L., i. p. 11 sq.). This burial-place of the Scipios is unlike those of other families, owing to the gens Cornelia keeping up the early custom of interment without burning ; thus stone sarcophagi or loculi (rock-cut recesses) were required instead of mere pigeon-holes to hold the cinerary urns. The tomb of Bibulus, a few yards outside the Porta Ratumena, and remains of two recently discovered during the destruction of the Aurelian towers at the Porta Salara, date from about the middle of the 1st century B.C., as does also the curious tomb of the baker Eurysaces outside the Porta Maggiore. In 1863 an interesting tomb of the Sempronia gens was discovered on the Quirinal, below the royal palace, near the site of the Porta Sanqualis. It is of travertine, with a rich entablature and frieze sculptured with the
Greek honeysuckle ornament (see Bull. Comm. Arch. Rom., iv.). This also is of the last years of the republic.

Mausolea

The mausoleum of Augustus, built 28 B.C., stands in the north part of the Campus Martius, between the Tiber and the Via Flaminia. It is a massive cylindrical structure of concrete, faced with opus reticulatum ; over that it was lined with marble slabs ; inside were a series of radiating chambers, in plan like a wheel. On the top was a great mound of earth, planted with trees and flowers (Tac, Ann., iii. 9). As late as the 16th century its external form remained unaltered. Only the bare core exists now, with its fine opus reticulatum, best seen in the court of the Palazzo Valdambrini. The inside is concealed by modern seats, being used now as a circus (Teatro Correa). The sepulchral inscription in honour of Augustus, engraved on two bronze columns at the entrance, is preserved to us by its copy at Ancyra. It records an almost incredible amount of building : in addition to the long list of buildings mentioned by name Augustus says, DVO. ET. OCTAGINTA. TEMPLA. DEVM.. IN. VRBE. CONSVL. SEXTVM . . . REFECI.9 The first burial in the mausoleum of Augustus was that of Marcellus, 22 B.C., and it continued to be the imperial tomb till the death of Nerva, 98 A.D., after whose interment there was no more room. It was sacked by Alaric in 409, and in the 12th century was made into a fortress by the Colonna family, and suffered much from constant party struggles.

The mausoleum of Hadrian, begun in 135 as a substitute for that built by Augustus, was a large circular building on a square podium ; its walls, of enormous thickness, are of concrete i'aced with blocks of peperino, the whole being lined with Parian marble and surrounded by a colonnade with rows of statues,—a work of the greatest magnificence. The bronze pine-cone, now in the Vatican, was (according to Vacca) found near the mausoleum, and probably surmounted its conical dome. The splendour of the whole is described by Procopius (B. G., i. 22), who mentions its siege by the Goths, when the defenders hurled the statues on to the heads of the enemy. In the 6th century it was made into a papal castle called S. Angelus inter Nubes, and all through the Middle Ages it suffered much from constant attacks. The interior chambers are still well preserved, but its outside has been so often wrecked and refaced that little of the original masonry is visible.

Sepulchral Pyramids

Several of the grander sepulchral monuments of Rome were built in the form of pyramids. One of these still exists, included in the Aurelian wall, by the Porta Ostiensis. It is a pyramid of concrete, 118 feet high, faced with blocks of white marble, and contains a small chamber decorated with painted stucco. An inscription in large letters on the marble facing records that it was built as a tomb for C. Cestius, a praetor, tribune of the people, and septemvir of the epulones (officials who supervised banquets in honour of the gods)—an office founded in 196 B.C. (Liv., xxxiii. 42). It was erected, according to Cestius's will, by his executors, in the space of 330 days. It dates from the time of Augustus (see Falconieri, in Nardini, Roma Antica, iv. p. 1, ed. 1818-20). Another similar pyramid, popularly known as the tomb of Romulus, stood between the mausoleum of Hadrian and the basilica of St Peter. It was destroyed in the 15th century during the rebuilding of the long bridge which connects the former building with the Vatican.

Bridges

The earliest bridge was a wooden drawbridge called the Pons Sublicius from the piles (sublicae) on which it was built. The river being an important part of the defence of Rome from the Aventine to the Porta Fluminalis (see plan of Servian wall, fig. 8), no permanent bridges were made till the Romans were strong enough not to fear attacks from without. The Pons Sublicius appears to have been of wood even in the imperial period. Its exact site is doubtful, but some existing foundations near the foot of the Aventine, near the Marmoratum, may have been the supports of its wooden piers. The first stone bridge was completed in 142 B.C., when the conquest of Etruria and the defeat of Hannibal had put an end to fears of invasion ; it was called the Pons Aemilius, after the pontifex maximus M. Aemilius Lepidus, its founder. It was also called Pons Lapideus to distinguish it from the wooden Sublician bridge. The modern Ponto Rotto is on the site of this ; but the existing three arches are mediaeval. An ancient basalt-paved road still exists, leading to the bridge from the Forum Boarium. The Pons Fabrieius unites the city and the island (Insula Tiberina); Livy (ii. 5) gives the fable of the formation of this island from the Tarquin corn, cut from the Campus Martins and thrown into the river. The bridge derived its name from L. Fabricius, a curator viarum in 62 B.C.; its inscription, twice repeated, is L. FABRICIVS . C . F . CVR . VIAR . FACIVNDVM . COERAVIT. Like the other existing bridges, it is built of great blocks of peperino and tufa, with a massive facing of travertine on both sides. Corbels to support centering were built in near the springing of the arches, so that they could be repaired or even rebuilt without a scaffolding erected in the river-bed. The well-preserved Pons Cestius, probably named after L. Cestius, praefectus urbi in 46 B.C., unites the island and the Janiculan side ; on the marble parapet is a long inscription recording its restoration in 370 by Gratian, Valentinian, and Valens. The next bridge, Ponte Sisto, is probably on the site of an ancient bridge called in the Notitia Pons Aurelius. Marliano gives an inscription (now lost) which recorded its restoration in the time of Hadrian. The Pons Aelius was built in 135 by Hadrian to connect his mausoleum with the Campus Martius ; it is still well preserved, and is now called the Ponte S. Angelo (see Dante, Infer., xviii. 28-33). Its inscription, now lost, is given in the Einsiedeln M S.—IMP. CAESAR . DIVI. TRAIANI. PARTHICI. FILTVS . DIVI. NERVAE . NEPOS. TRAIANVS . HADRIANVS. AVG. PONT. MAX. TRIB. POT. XVIIII. COS. Ill. P. P. FECIT. The Pons Mius is shown on coins of Hadrian. A little below it are the foundations of another bridge, probably the Pons Neronianus of the Mirabilia, called also Vatieanus, built probably by Nero as a way to his Vatican circus and the Horti Agrippinae.





Footnotes

9 Liv., xxxiii. 27, see also xxxvii. 3.
10 This arch is the earliest known example of the so-called Composite order, a modification of Corinthian in which the capitals combine Ionic volutes with Corinthian acanthus leaves ; in other respects it follows the Corinthian order.
11 The second half of the 2d century was a time of extraordinarily rapid decline in art. The relief of Antinous in the Villa Albani and other portraits of him made in the reign of Hadrian (117-138) are among the most beautiful ex-isting specimens of Roman or Graeco-Roman sculpture ; while after the acces-sion of Severus in 193 no sculpture of any real artistic merit seems to have been produced.

1 See Vacca, ap. Pea, Misc., p. 67.
2 The destruction in 1879 of the Aurelian towers flanking the Porta del Popolo brought to light the fact that this gate is exactly on the site of the ancient Porta Flaminia, and not to one side of it, as was formerly believed on the evidence of a vague passage in Procopius (Bell. Goth., i. 23). Thus it appears probable that the northern part of the Corso follows the line of the Via Flaminia, as the southern portion does that of the Via Lata.
3 Reproduced by De Rossi in his valuable Piante di Roma Anteriori at Sec. XVI., 1879.
4 See Bellori, Veteres Arcus, 1690, showing some now destroyed; and Fea, Arehi Trionf., 1832.
5 See Ann. Inst., 1852, p. 338; and Mon. Inst, v., pi. xl. See also Fabris, Pwdestallo d. Col. Anton., 1846; Bartoli, Col. M. Aurclii, 1704; Chausse, Col. ritrovata net Campo Marzo, Naples, 1704 ; Pellegrini, Colonne ed Obelischi, 1881.
6 In 1882 a small Egyptian obelisk of red granite was found buried near the
Pantheon ; it now lies in the Piazza del Collegio Romano ; a translation of its
hieroglyphs is given in Bull. Comm. Arch. Rom., 1883. At the same time a very
curious granite column was discovered of Egypto-Roman work, the lower part
adorned with figures in relief.
7 See A. F. Gori, Coluvib. Libert, et Sew. Livice, 1727 ; Bianchini, Camera . . . Scpolcrali, 1727 ; Campana, Sepolcri Romani, 1840; Fortunati, Scavi lungo la Via Latina, 1S59; Brizio, Pittnre e Sepolcri mil' Esquilino, 1876 ; Secchi, Scpolero di una Famiglia Greca, 1843 ; Visconti, Scpolcro di Q. Sulpicio Massimo, 1871; Stevenson, Cimitero di Zotico, Via Labicana, 1876.
8 See Du Perac's Vestigj, which shows the garden on the top.
9 The other greatest building period after the reign of Augustus appears to have been that of Severus and his son Caracalla ; the following list of buildings, built or restored between 196 and 211, will give some notion of this :—Marcian aqueduct restored and lengthened to the Thermae Severianae in 196; paeda-gogium puerorum a capite Africa? in 198 ; temple of Cybele on the Palatine in 200, rebuilt; Claudian and Anio Novus aqueducts restored in 201; theatre of Pompey, Pantheon, thermae of Agrippa, Amphitheatrum Castrense, and prae-torian camp, all restored in 202 ; Septizonium and great palace on the Palatine, and arches in the Forum Magnum and Forum Boarium built; Stadium Pala-tinum, Porticus Octaviae, and Forum Pacis restored, all in 203. In various years before 211: temple of Vespasian, of Fortuna Muliebris, schola scribarum, balneae near the Porta Septimiana, horti of Geta, a porticus with res gestae Divi Severi, the Antonine aqueduct, and (212-215) the great thermae of Caracalla. The great fire of 191 was one of the causes of these extensive works (see Lanci-ani, Bull. Comm. Arch. Rom., 1882).
10 Near the tomb of Cestius is that extraordinary mound of potsherds called Monte Testaccio. These are mostly fragments of large amphorae, not piled up at random, but carefully stacked, with apertures at intervals for ventilation. Many theories have been advanced to account for this enormous mass of broken pottery ; but by far the most probable explanation is that the broken earthen-ware of Rome was collected and stored here for use in the making of the stucco called opus signinum (Vitr., viii. 6, 14), with which the specus or channels of aqueducts were lined, and also the concrete in which marble and mosaic pavings were bedded (nucleus). This latter is the opus testaceum of Vitruvius (vii. 1, 5); and the universal use of pounded earthenware for floors and aqueducts must have used up immense quantities of broken pots and bricks (testae tunsae). A good account of the potsherds of Monte Testaccio and their stamps is given in Ann. Inst., 1878, p. 118.

1See Varro, L. I., v. 83 ; Ov., Fast, v. 622 ; Tac, Hist, i. 86.
2 The bridges were specially under the care of the pontifex maximus, at least till the later years of the republic (Varrò, L. L., v. 83).
3 See Piale, "Antic. Ponti," in Atti d. Pont. Accad., 1831 ; and Becker, De Mûris et Partis, Leipsic, 1842.


===

831-5 See Ann. Inst., 1852, p. 338; and Mon. Inst, v., pi. xl. See also Fabris, Pwdestallo d. Col. Anton., 1846; Bartoli, Col. M. Aurclii, 1704; Chausse, Col. ritrovata net Campo Marzo, Naples, 1704 ; Pellegrini, Colonne ed Obelischi, 1881.

curious granite column was discovered of Egypto-Roman work, the lower part

831-7 See A. F. Gori, Coluvib. Libert, et Sew. Livice, 1727 ; Bianchini, Camera . . . Scpolcrali, 1727 ; Campana, Sepolcri Romani, 1840; Fortunati, Scavi lungo la Via Latina, 1S59; Brizio, Pittnre e Sepolcri mil' Esquilino, 1876 ; Secchi, Scpolero di una Famiglia Greca, 1843 ; Visconti, Scpolcro di Q. Sulpicio Massimo, 1871; Stevenson, Cimitero di Zotico, Via Labicana, 1876.
831-8 See Du Perac's Vestigj, which shows the garden on the top.
831-9 The other greatest building period after the reign of Augustus appears to have been that of Severus and his son Caracalla ; the following list of buildings, built or restored between 196 and 211, will give some notion of this :—Marcian aqueduct restored and lengthened to the Thermae Severianae in 196; paeda-gogium puerorum a capite Africa? in 198 ; temple of Cybele on the Palatine in 200, rebuilt; Claudian and Anio Novus aqueducts restored in 201; theatre of Pompey, Pantheon, thermae of Agrippa, Amphitheatrum Castrense, and prae-torian camp, all restored in 202 ; Septizonium and great palace on the Palatine, and arches in the Forum Magnum and Forum Boarium built; Stadium Pala-tinum, Porticus Octaviae, and Forum Pacis restored, all in 203. In various years before 211: temple of Vespasian, of Fortuna Muliebris, schola scribarum, balneae near the Porta Septimiana, horti of Geta, a porticus with res gestae Divi Severi, the Antonine aqueduct, and (212-215) the great thermae of Caracalla. The great fire of 191 was one of the causes of these extensive works (see Lanci-ani, Bull. Comm. Arch. Rom., 1882).
n> Near the tomb of Cestius is that extraordinary mound of potsherds called Monte Testaccio. These are mostly fragments of large amphorae, not piled up at random, but carefully stacked, with apertures at intervals for ventilation. Many theories have been advanced to account for this enormous mass of broken pottery ; but by far the most probable explanation is that the broken earthen-ware of Rome was collected and stored here for use in the making of the stucco called opus signinum (Vitr., viii. 6, 14), with which the specus or channels of aqueducts were lined, and also the concrete in which marble and mosaic pavings were bedded (nucleus). This latter is the opus testaceum of Vitruvius (vii. 1, 5); and the universal use of pounded earthenware for floors and aqueducts must have used up immense quantities of broken pots and bricks (testae tunsae). A good account of the potsherds of Monte Testaccio and their stamps is given in Ann. Inst., 1878, p. 118.


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