Ancient Rome: Monuments
Temples, buildings, and other structures from ancient Rome
Amphitheater of C. Statilius Taurus
The amphitheatre C. Statilius Taurus, at the top right of the picture, had the privilege to be the first amphitheatre in Rome. It was built in 29 BC by consul C. Statilius Taurus. The first building was of stone, nevertheless it disappeared in the fire of the town under Nero in 64. It seems that Nero had it rebuilt in wood. Almost all sources cease mentioning it after the Great Fire. Yet Sylvia Pressouyre, in her historical atlas of town planning and architecture of Rome, lets this remarkable building disappear only in the High Middle-Ages. It is this version that I'm suggesting.
Having paid the almost obligatory visit to the Colosseum, most visitors to Rome never realize, and others are surprised to learn, that a second ancient amphitheater remains in the city. Indeed, at various times during the life of ancient Rome, even more amphitheaters existed. We know of at least one built of stone "” the amphitheater of Statilius Taurus "” and one of wood built by Nero: both stood among the sports and military training facilities in the Campus Martius complex. In fact, technically, there remain even now vestiges of yet a third amphitheater in Rome: a small training arena right next to the Colosseum, to the E, used by gladiators as they prepared for the real combat. It also seems reasonable to imagine that in so large a city as Rome, several further smaller structures of this type may have existed as well, not recorded in extant sources; and some of them may even have been of brick as well, since other brick amphitheatres are known, for example at Nola.
The Aqua Alsietina (sometimes called also Aqua Augusta), on the other side of the Tiber, was constructed by Augustus from the Lacus Alsietinus (Lago di Martignano), which lay 6500 passus to the right of the fourteenth milestone on the Via Claudia, to the part of the Regio Transtiberina below the Janiculus. Its length was 22,172 passus, of which only 358 were on arches; and its water was so bad that it could only have been intended for the supply of Augustus's Naumachia, and for watering gardens. Its reservoir was 1800 feet long by 1200 wide (Frontin. 11).
This aqueduct was built in 312 B.C. It was built during the Roman Republic, by Appius Claudius Caecus. This is the oldest aqueduct in Ancient Rome. This aqueduct is sixteen kilometers long. This aqueduct also runs underground. When described in how low it traveled under ground, the Aqua Appia was the lowest. This aqueduct stretched 8 miles to the Sabine Hills outside Rome. This aqueducts structure is much like the Greek and Egyptian Aqueducts.
Ara Pacis Augustae
In 13 BCE, the Roman Senate decreed that the Ara Pacis be built to celebrate Augustus' triumphant return from the wars in Spain and Gaul, although the dedication or official inauguration took place about three and a half years later, in January 9 BCE. This altar to Peace was located in the Campus Martius (the Field of War), a place ironically where the military did exercises. In the succeeding centuries, however, the altar was eventually covered up as the level of the area was raised until finally it was buried and forgotten, only to be uncovered in part in the Renaissance, with slabs of the altar dispersed to various locations. Eventually the area was excavated and slabs were recovered from a number of owners; the altar was restored and installed in its own pavilion in 1938. Today, the Ara Pacis is installed in a new museum, which opened in 2006 (not entirely finished by the time I photographed it).
Arch of Augustus
The Arch of Augustus (Arcus Augusti) was dedicated to Augustus in 29 BCE to celebrate his victory over Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 BCE. The arch is spanning the road between the Temple of Castor and Pollux and the Temple of Caesar, near the Temple of Vesta.
The Basilica Aemilia, or the Basilica Fulvia-Aemilia, is largest"”and the only surviving"”of the basilicas of the Roman Republic. It is located on the NE side of the main square of the Forum Romanum, between the Curia Julia and the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. The Basilica Aemilia was first built in 179 BCE by the censors M. Aemilius Lepidus and M. Fulvius Nobilior. In the following centuries it was actively maintained and improved by the gens Aemilia. The first complete reconstruction took place in the years between 55 BCE and 34 BCE, which incorporated into the building the series of shops, the tabernae novae, that stood in front of the basilica. The building was destroyed by a fire in 14 BCE and was rebuild by Augustus. A last restoration happened after a fire in 410 CE, following the sacking of the town by the Visigoths of Alaric.
The Basilica Julia was built in 54-48 BCE by Julius Caesar as a part of his reorganisation of the Forum Romanum, where it replaced the Basilica Sempronia. It is located on the S. side of the main square of the Forum Romanum, between the Temple of Saturn and the Temple of Castor and Pollux.
Baths of Agrippa
Baths of Agrippa - built 27 BC. These were built by Agrippa as a private bath house, but given to the public in Agrippa's will. It was fed by the Aqua Virgo upon its completion in 19 BC.
Bridge of Fabricius
The island in the Tiber is connected with the rivers banks by two bridges. The Pons Cestius between the island and Trastevere was destroyed between 1888 and 1892 and replaced by a modern bridge. According to the historian Cassius Dio, the elegant Pons Fabricius was built in 62 BCE and still survives. A satellite photo can be found here.
The Circus Maximus was the largest stadium in ancient Rome. At one point the Circus could seat 250.000 people, one quarter of Rome's population... Chariot races were one of the Roman's most popular form of entertainment. Romulus, the first of Rome's seven kings, is said to have held chariot races. The origins of the Circus Maximus go back to the 6th century BC when Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome, created a track between the Palatine and Aventine hills. The first permanent starting gates were created in 329 BC. In 174 BC the gates were rebuilt and seven wooden eggs were placed on top of the spina, the central wall in the arena. The eggs were used to count the number of laps; after each lap one egg was removed. In 33 BC seven bronze dolphins were added to the spina for the same purpose.
The Cloaca Maxima was one of several large ditches that drained water from inhabited areas of the City of Rome. The Cloaca Maxima drained the valleys between the Esquiline, Viminal, and Quirinal Hills, as illustrated here:
The Comitium was the centre of all political activity in the Roman Republic. The senate met in the Curia, which was a part of the Comitium, and the consuls and other magistrates spoke to the Roman people from the Rostra, the speakers platform. Some of the most ancient monuments of archaic Rome has been found near or under the Comitium, such as the Vulcanal and the Lapis Niger, with the oldest known inscription in the Latin language.
The Curia was the normal meeting place of the Senate and the Curia Julia (Curia Iulia) was the third meeting hall for the senate in the Forum Romanum. The Curia Julia is located on the main square of the Forum Romanum, on the ancient Comitium, between the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Basilica Aemilia.
Close to the Tiber River, the Forum Boarium was the site of Ancient Rome's cattle market. Together with the nearby Forum Olitorium, the vegetable and herb market, it was the mercantile center of the Republic of Rome. The oldest forum in Rome, dating back to the Roman Republic, the Forum Boarium sat near the Tiber River between three of Rome's seven ancient hills: the Palatine, Capitoline, and Aventine. The area was a swamp until it was reclaimed by the Etruscan Kings. In the 6th century BC, Servius Tullius, one of the Etruscan Kings also built a port here, the Portus Tiberius. Thanks to the port and a historic trade route that passed through here, the Forum Boarium was a busy commercial area that experienced lots of pedestrian traffic.
Forum of Augustus
The second of the imperial fora, built to rival that of Julius, the Forum of Augustus and its Temple of Mars Ultor (the Avenger) were vowed by Octavian on the eve of the battle of Philippi (42 BC), where he avenged the assassination of Caesar, his adoptive father. Having consolidated his power and then completed the building projects initiated by Caesar, it may not have been until 20 BC, when Augustus negotiated the return of military standards lost by Marcus Crassus to the Parthians (and so avenged Rome a second time), that work on the temple actually began (Dio, LIV.8.3). Or it may have been later still, in 17 BC, when Augustus, having "commanded those who celebrated triumphs to erect out of their spoils some monument to commemorate their deeds" (Dio, LIV.18.2), set the example, himself. The site was on private property and had to be purchased ex manubiis, that is, from the spoils of war in Spain and Germany, Dalmatia and Egypt. Augustus, in the Res Gestae (XXI), relates the cost to have been a hundred million sesterces. Even then, not all the land could be acquired. There also were architectural delays (Macrobius, II.4.9), and the temple still was unfinished when the forum was dedicated on 2 BC.
Forum of Augustus Image Archive
The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) was the political and economical centre of Rome during the Republic. It emerged as such in the 7th century BCE and maintained this position well into the Imperial period, when it was reduced to a monumental area. It was mostly abandoned at the end of the 4th century.
The heart of the ancient Roman Empire, the Imperial Forums were a gathering place and a center for religion and politics. The Imperial Forums, not to be confused with the older Roman Forum, are a series of public squares that were constructed between 46 BC and 113 AD. For many decades, they were the center of city life and important figures gathered here to discuss the economy or expound upon their beliefs about politics or any other hot subjects of the era.
Mausoleum of Augustus
Monuments of Rome
Rome, the Eternal City is renewed for its various monuments.Here follows a list of the main ones.
Palace of Augustus
Palace of Tiberius
The oldest stone bridge in Rome, the Pons Aemilius was begun in 179 BC and completed in 142 BC. It stood almost intact until 1598, when floods swept away two supporting piers and three of the arches. Two remaining arches were dismantled in 1885, leaving only a single arch standing in mid-river.
The earliest known bridge of ancient Rome, Italy, the 'Pons Sublicius', spanned the Tiber River near the Forum Boarium ("cattle forum") downstream from the Tiber island, near the foot of the Aventine Hill. According to tradition, its construction was ordered by Ancus Martius around 642 BC, but this date is approximate because there is no ancient record of its construction. Martius wished to connect the newly fortified Janiculum Hill on the Etruscan side to the rest of Rome, augmenting the ferry that was there. The bridge was part of public works projects that included building a port at Ostia, the then location of worked salt deposits.
This is one of the oldest bridge in Rome. It was rebuilt by Emilio Scauro in 109BC. During the centuries, it was rearranged many times. The tower, rebuilt by Valadier in 1805, was certainly a part of Aurelian's fortifications. On the head of the bridge there are two statues: S. Giovanni Nipomuceno (by Cornacchini, 1731) and the Immacolata ( by Pigiani, half 19C).
The Porta Capena, the southern gateway in Rome's old Servian Wall (see a stretch of the wall on the Aventine), was the starting point for those journeying to the south. The Aqua Marcia, a leaky old aqueduct which was in constant need of repairs, crossed above the Porta Capena and was responsible for making it "soaked," madidam.
Portico di Ottavia (Porticus Octaviae)
The only one conserved of the large ones you carry to us that they limited, on the northern side, the public square of the Flaminio Circus (Porch of Ottavio, Porch of Filippo, Porch of Ottavia) is the Porch of Ottavia. It was preceded on the same place from a more ancient building, the porch of Metello, begun from Q. Cecilio Metello Macedonico in the 146, after its Victoria and the triumph on the pseudo-Andrisco, and inaugurated probably in the 131 a.C.
Closely linked to the late 3rd c. BC river port built south of the Aventino hill, the Porticus Aemilia was a vast complex of warehouses situated in the area behind the Emporium or a market for wares.
Porticus Deorum Consentium
The Portico of the Dei Consentes (Porticus Deorum Consentium) was a sanctuary for the twelve major gods and goddesses of the Roman pantheon, maybe in the style of the Greek dodecatheon. The portico is located on the slope of the Capitoline Hill towards the Forum Romanum, on the Clivus Capitolinus in a corner between the Temple of Saturn and the Temple of Vespasian and Titus. The remains of the portico was first found in 1834, and during restorations of 1858 some of the columns were re-erected.
Pyramid of Cestius
The pyramid of Cestius was built during the reign of the emperor Augustus, probably between 18 and 12 BCE. It is a remarkable monument, made of white Carrara marble and exactly 100 Roman feet (30 meters) high. Here, the pyramid can be seen from the Protestant cemetery, west of the tomb. In the background is the Porta Ostiensis.
Regia - The House of Roman Kings
and later the Pontifex Maximus. The Regia was originally the residence of the kings of Rome, and later the office of the pontifex maximus, the high priest of Roman religion. It occupied an area between the Temple of Vesta, the Temple of Divus Julius and Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in the Forum Romanum. According to ancient tradition it was build by the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius.
Ancient Rome had eleven major aqueducts, built between 312 B.C. (AquaAppia) and 226 A.D. (Aqua Alexandrina); the longest (Anio Novus) was 59 miles long. It has been calculated that in imperial times, when the city's population was well over a million, the distribution system was able to provide over one cubic meter of water per day for each inhabitant: more than we are accustomed to use nowadays.
List of the greatest historical architecture from the Roman Empire
The Rostra was the speakers platform on the Forum Romanum in Imperial Rome. It was also called the Rostra vetera to distinguish it from the new speakers platform in front of the Temple of Divus Julius. The Rostra is located in the main square, between the Arch of Septimius Severus and the Temple of Saturn, in front of the Temple of Concord and the Temple of Vespasian and Titus.
The so-called Servian wall. Although the ancient sources state that this wall was built by king Servius Tullius in the sixth century, it is more plausible that it was in fact constructed after 375 BC. The stones, tufa from Veii, can not have been obtained before this city was captured. This pictures shows the largest surviving part of the wall; it is near Stazione Termini, which can be seen in the background. A satellite photo can be found here.
Built in 78 BC and restored by Claudius in 46 AD, the Tabularium or record office was the repository for official State archives, its arcade of eleven large arches providing a dramatic terminus for the western end of the Forum.
Temple of Apollo Sosianus
Vowed to Apollo Medicus (the healer) in 433 BC because of a plague and dedicated two years later by an ancestor of Julius Caesar (Livy, IV.29), this was the only temple of Apollo in Rome until the one built by Augustus on the Palatine. The Ludi Apollinares were instituted in 212 BC to honor the god and were celebrated in July. The temple, itself, which was restored or rebuilt several times, received its final restoration by Gaius Sosius, one of Caesar's lieutenants and consul in 32 BC. Although the epithet Sosianus still was used by Pliny in the AD 70s, Sosius was an opponent of Octavian and had sided with Antony at Actium in 31 BC. Given the rich decoration of the cella, it may be that the temple actually was completed by Augustus, who changed the dedication date to his birthday on September 23 and was building his own temple to Apollo on the Palatine, which was dedicated in 28 BC. The frieze, too, depicts a battle against northern barbarians, and Augustus did have a triumph for his victories over the German tribes in 29 BC.
Temple of Capitoline Jupiter
The Temple of Capitoline Jupiter was dedicated to the Optimus Maximus Jupiter, together with the other two divinities that made up the Capitoline triad - Juno and Minerva. The building was begun by Tarquinius Priscus and completed by the last king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, although it was only inaugurated at the beginning of the Republican era in 509 BC.
Temple of Castor and Pollux
The Temple of Castor and Pollux (Templum Castorum or Aedes Castoris) introduced the Greek cult of the dioscuri into Rome, in its very heart, the Forum Romanum, where it is located between Basilica Julia across the Vicus Tuscus, the Temple of Divus Julius, the Arch of Augustus and the Temple of Vesta.
Temple of Juno Moneta
The Temple of Juno Moneta, the result of a vow taken by L. Furius Camillus during the war against the Auruncii, was built on the Arx in 344 BC. Ancient sources, in referring to the episode of Juno's sacred geese that warned the Romans during the Gallic siege of 390 BC, appear to suggest the existence of a previous temple building, which has been linked to two terracotta Archaic architectural artefacts found in the Garden of Aracoeli and dating to between the end of the VI and the beginning of the V century BC. The remains of a square wall, built in cappellaccio and tufa-stone from Fidene, which have been preserved in the same garden and which some scholars have attributed to the fortification work of the Arx, might possibly go back to the supposed Archaic and Mid-Republican phases of the Juno Moneta Temple. Examples of the Imperial Age remodelling of the building can be seen in the two parallel walls in cementitious material which run into the tufa-stone structures at right-angles.
Temple of Jupiter Stator
The Temple of Jupiter Stator was first vowed, according to ancient tradition, by Romulus after a battle with the Sabines. The city of Rome was hardly more than a settlement on the Palatine Hill, and the battle was taking place in the valley, in the Forum Romanum. The Romans were forced to retreat up hill by the Via Sacra, but at the Porta Mugonia they managed to regroup and hold their ground against the Sabines, who were eventually defeated.
Temple of Portunus
The Temple of Portunus, the god of the port, is one of the two temples on the Forum Boarium ("cattle market") that have survived to the present day. Here, it is seen from the east, from the forum itself. Behind it you can see the cars on the Lungotevere, the street along the Tiber. Behind the cars, invisible, is the ruin of the ancient Pons Aemilius, the Aemilian bridge.
The Appian Way
The Appian way is the oldest and most famous road built by the ancient Romans. It was built in 312 BC by the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus. The road went south from the Servian Wall in Rome to Capua. It passed through Appii Forum and Terracina, and later on was extnede so that it reached Brundisium, now called Brindisi. The main route to Greece, the Appian Way was more than 560 km (more than 350 mi) long.
The Colosseum was considered the greatest amphitheatre of the antiquity, it was built in Rome, Italy, over 1920 years ago. It is considered an architectural and engineering wonder, and remains as a standing proof of both the grandeur and the cruelty of the Roman world. After the splendour of imperial times, the Colosseum was abandoned, and in turn it became a fortress for the medieval clans of the city, a source of building materials, a picturesque scenery for painters, a place of Christian worship. Today it is a challenge for the archaeologists and a scenario for events and shows.
The Colosseum and The Forum of Augustus
Ancient Rome: Monuments Past and Present: The Colosseum and The Forum of Augustus
The Gardens of Lucullus
Among all the great gardens of the Pincius, the Gardens of Lucullus are probably the most famous and most impressive, together with the Gardens of Sallustus. They were built by Lucullus, victor of Mithridate (74-66). The whole showed a perfect harmony and overhang the Campus Martius. One of the main characteristics was this monumental stair that linked the levels up to a gigantic nymphĂ¦um in hemicycle. The other gardens, those of Sallustus on the east side and those of Pompey towards the Villa Medici are not represented on this model.
Built more than 1800 years ago, the magnificent Pantheon building still stands as a reminder of the great Roman empire. The building's dome, more than 43 meters high is most impressive. It was the largest dome in the world until 1436 when the Florence Cathedral was constructed. At the top of the dome is a large opening, the oculus, which was the only source of light... The front portico has three rows of 8 columns, each one with a diameter of 1.5m. A huge bronze door gives access to the cylindrical building. Its diameter equals the interior height of 43,3m.
The Pons Cestius
The Pons Cestius (today's Ponte Cestio) is an ancient Roman bridge still remaining today, leading from the western shore of the Tiber to the Isola Tiberina, the island in the river.
The Region of the Baths of Commodus
The Baths of Commodus , that you can see in the centre left of the picture, were built on a natural hillock from which the panorama included the Baths of Caracalla, in the upper part of the picture, and the famous Via Appia further down on the right. Vast gardens harmoniously completed the landscape.
The Saepta Julia
The SĂ¦pta Julia on the Campus Martius. These grandiose porticoes were the meeting place for bargaining of luxury products.
The Temple of Hercules Victor
The Temple of Hercules Victor is often misnamed the Temple of Vesta, maybe because it is similar in size and shape to the temples of the Goddess of the Hearth. It is dedicated to Hercules, the patron of oil sellers and is made of Greek marble from Mount Pentelicus. The central cell is surrounded by 20 corinthian columns and has an entrance on its east side. It was designed by a Greek architect from Salamis called Hermodorus in the late 2nd Century BC.
The Temple of Veiovis
The Temple of Veiovis was only brought to light in 1939, during the excavation underneath Piazza del Campidoglio for the creation of the Gallery Junction. The parts of the building which make up the Palazzo Senatorio are superimposed both over the temple and over the nearby Tabularium, thereby managing to obscure the Roman building almost completely and as a result saving it from destruction. According to ancient sources, and based on the discovery, in the area of the cella, of a marble statue used for religious purposes, it has been possible to identify the divinity to whom this temple was dedicated: Veiovis, the youthful God of the underworld who was the ancient Italic version of Jupiter.
Originally, the Theatre in Rome is only a simple wooden platform, put down after each play, which the audience attends standing. This global view allows to see, in the Campus Martius, the four great active theatres of Rome. On the left side of the picture, the Odeon, in the centre, the great Theatre of Pompey, and in the background on the right, the Theatre of Balbus and the Theatre of Marcellus.
The Topography and Monuments of Ancient Rome
Book By Samuel Ball Platner, WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY
Theater of Marcellus
The Theater of Marcellus was built by Emperor Augustus in 13 BC. It was the largest theater in ancient Rome. After Julius Caesar defeated Pompey in the struggle for control over Rome, he wanted to build a theater rivaling the Pompey theater which Caesar's his bitter enemy had built in 55 BC. When Caesar was killed in 44 BC the project had only just started. In 22 BC Augustus, known as the emperor who turned Rome from a city of brick into a city of marble, restarted the project.
Tomb of Eurysaces
The tomb of Eurysaces near the Porta Maggiore, seen from the north. It was built in c.30 BCE by a man named Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces. A former slave, he had started a bakery and had become rich, which is shown in the decoration. Later, several aqueducts were constructed but the tomb was respected, and it was later included in one of the towers of a city gate belonging to the wall of Aurelian. When this gate was demolished in the nineteenth century, the tomb became visible again.
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