1902 Encyclopedia > Rome > Ancient Rome - Regiones of Augustus

(Part 31)



Regiones of Augustus

In spite of the extensive growth of the city under the republic no addition was made to the four regiones of Servius till the reign of Augustus, who divided the city and its suburbs into fourteen regiones, the first six of which embraced the original lour of Servius. The lists in the Notitia and Curiosum are the chief aids in determining the limits of each, which in many cases cannot be done with any exactness (see Preller, Die Regionen der Stadt Rom, 1846, and Uhlrichs, Codex Topograph., Wiirzburg, 1871). Each regio was divided into vici or parishes, each of which formed a religious body, with its aedicula larium, and had magistri vicorum, the lowest in rank of the Roman magistracy. The smallest regio (No. II.) contained seven vici, the largest (No. XIV.) seventy-eight. The list is as follows :—

I. or Porta Capena, extended to the Aurelian Porta Appia.
II. or Coelimontana, the Ccelian Hill.
III. or Isis et Serapis, included the valley of the Colosseum and the adjoining part of the Esquiline.
IV. or Templum Pacis et Sacra Via, included the Velia, most of the Subura, the fora of Nerva and Vespasian, the Sacra Via, and also buildings along the north-east side of the Forum Magnum.
V. or Esquilina, north part of the Esquiline and the Viminal.
VI. or Alta Semita, the Quirinal as far as the praetorian camp.
VII. or Via Lata, the valley bounded on the west by the Via Lata, and by the neighbouring hills on the east.
VIII. or Forum Romanum, also included the fora of Julius, Augustus, and Trajan, and the whole Capitoline Hill.
IX. or Circus Flaminius, between the Tiber, the Capitol, and the Via Lata.
X. or Palatium, the Palatine Hill.
XI. or Circus Maximus, the valley between the Palatine and the Aventine, with the Velabrum and Forum Boarium.
XII. or Piscina Publica, between the Coelian and the Aventine, and beyond the Via Appia, including the site of Caracalla's thermae.
XIII. or Aventinus, the hill, and the bank of the Tiber below it.
XIV. or Transtiberina, the whole district across the river and the Tiber Island.

Aurelian Wall

The walls of Aurelian (see Plates VII. and IX.), more than 12 miles in circuit, were mainly built to enclose the regiones of Augustus, the greater part of which were then thickly inhabited. This enormous work was begun in 271, to defend Rome against sudden attacks of the Germans and other northern races when the great armies of Rome were fighting in distant countries. After the death of Aurelian the waiis were completed by Probus in 280, and about a century later they were^restored and strengthened by the addition of gate-towers under Atcadius and Honorius (395-425), in place of the earlier gateways of Aurelian ; this is recorded by existing inscriptions on several of" the gates. At many periods these walls suffered much from the attacks of the Goths (Procop., Bell. Goth., iii. 22, 24), and were restored successively by Theodoric (about 500), by Belisarius (about 560), and by various popes during the Sth and 9th centuries, and in fact all through the Middle Ages. A great part of the Aurelian wall still exists in a more or less perfect state ; but it has wholly vanished where it skirted the river, and a great part of its trans-Tiberine course is gone. The most perfect piece is that in the gardens of the Villa Ludovisi. Other well-preserved pieces are by the Porta Appia, and between the Lateral! and the Amphitheatrum Castrense. The wall, of concrete, has the usual brick-facing and is about 12 feet thick, with a guards' passage formed in its thickness. Fig. 25 shows its plan : on the inside the

FIG. 25.—Aurelian's wall; plan showing one of the towers and the passage in thickness of wall.

passage has tall open arches, which look like those of an aqueduct, and at regular intervals of about 45 feet massive square towers are built, projecting on the outside of the wall, in three stories, the top story rising above the top of the wall. The height of the wall varies according to the contour of the ground ; in parts it was about 60 feet high outside and 40 inside. Necessaria, supported on two travertine corbels, projected from the top of the wall on the outside beside most of the towers. The Einsiedeln MS. gives a description of the complete circuit, counting all the gates, fourteen in number, as follows :—

Porta S. Petri (destroyed) ; P. Flaminia (in use) ; P. Pinciana (closed); P. Salaria (destroyed in 1870); P. Nomentana (closed); P. Tiburtina (in use, now called P. S. Lorenzo) ; P. Praenestina (in use, now Porta Maggiore); P. Asinaria (closed) ; P. Metrovia (closed) ; P. Latina (dosed); P. Appia (in use, now called P. S. Sebastiano); P.- Ostiensis (in use, now P. S. Paolo). On the Janiculan side, P. Portensis (destroyed) ; P. Aurelia (in use). One gate, known as the P. Chiusa, is omitted in this list, owing to its being blocked up in the time of the Einsiedeln writer. Its ancient name is not known.

These existing gates are mostly of the time of Honorius ; each is flanked by. a projecting tower, and some are double, with a second pair of towers inside. Several have grooves for a portcullis (cataracta) in the outer arch. The handsomest gate is the P. Appia, with two massive outer towers, three stages high, the upper semicircular in plan. Many of the gates of Honorius have Christian symbols or inscriptions. The general design of all these gates is much the same,—a central archway, with a row of windows over it and two flanking towers, some square, others semicircular in plan. In many of the gates older materials are used, blocks of tufa, travertine, or marble. The doors themselves swung on pivots, the bottom ones let into a hole in the threshold, the upper into projecting corbels.

At many points along the line of the Aurelian wall older buildings form part of the circuit,—near the Porta Asinaria a large piece of the Domus Laterana, a house of the 3d century which gave its. name to the Lateran basilica, and a little farther on, by S. Croce in Gerusalemme, the Amphitheatrum Castrense ; the latter, of about the end of the 1st century A.P., has two tiers of arches and engaged columns of moulded brick on the outside. Between the P. Praenestina and the P. Tiburtina comes a large castellum of the Aqua Tepula. The Praetorian Camp forms a great projection near the P. Nomentana. Lastly, the angle near the Porta Flaminia, at the foot of the Pincian, is formed by remains of a lofty and enormously massive building, faced with tine opus reticulatum of the 1st century B.c. Owing to the sinking of the foundation this is very much out of the perpendicular, and was known as the "murus tortus " at a very early time. What this once important building was is uncertain" It has been supposed to belong to the tomb of the Domita (Suet, Dom., 2), but on scanty grounds. Two archways which form gates in the Aurelian wall are of much earlier date. The Porta Maggiore consists of a grand triple arch of the Claudian aqueduct built in travertine. The P. S. Lorenzo is a single travertine arch, built by Augustus where the aqueduct carrying the Aqua Marcia, Tepula, and Julia crossed the Via Tiburtius. The inner gateway, built of massive travertine blocks by Honorius, was pulled down by Pius IX. in 1868 for the sake of the material.


4 See Jordan, For. Urb. Rom., Berlin, 1875. Besides the works of Preller,
Jordan, and Uhlrichs, the regionary catalogues of buildings are given by
Cardini, Pom. Ant, ed. Nibby, 1S1S-20, the whole of which valuable work is
arranged in accordance with these lists.
5 Vopiscus, Aurel., 21, 39; Zosimus, i. 37, 49; Eutrop.. ix. 15.
6 The inscriptions run thus—S . P . Q . R . IMPP . CAESS . D . D . INVIC-TISSIMIS . PRINCIPIBVS . ARCADIO . ET HONORIO . VICTORIBVS . AC . TRIVMPHATORIBVS . SEMPER . AVGG . OB . INSTAVRATOS . VRBIS . AETERNAE . MVROS . PORTAS . AC . TVRRES . EGESTIS . IMMENSIS . RVDERIBVS. .. .—the rest refers to honorary statues erected to commemorate this work.

Procop., Bell. Goth., i. 23.
See Becker, De Rom. Muris et Portis, Leipsic, 1842 ; Nibby and Gell, Le Mura di Roma, 1820 ; Quarenghi, Le Mura di Roma, 1880 ; Burn, Rome and the Campagna, 1870, with other general works mentioned above.

832-2 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).
arranged in accordance with these lists.

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