Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Rome and Environs

Rome and Environs: An Archaeological Guide

Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 600
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Rome and Environs
    Book Description:

    This superb guide brings the work of Filippo Coarelli, one of the most widely published and well-known scholars of Roman topography, archeology and art, to a broad English-language audience. Conveniently organized by walking tours and illustrated throughout with clear maps, drawings, and plans,Rome and Environs: An Archaeological Guidecovers all of the major, and an unparalleled number of minor, ancient sites in the city, and, unlike most other guides of Rome, includes major and many minor sites within easy reach of the city, such as Ostia Antica, Palestrina, Tivoli, and the many areas of interest along the ancient Roman roads. An essential resource for tourists interested in a deeper understanding of Rome's classical remains, it is also the ideal book for students and scholars approaching the ancient history of one of the world's most fascinating cities.• Covers all the major sites including the Capitoline, the Roman Forum, the Imperial Fora, the Palatine Hill, the Valley of the Colosseum, the Esquiline, the Caelian, the Quirinal, and the Campus Martius.• Discusses important clusters of sites-one on the area surrounding Circus Maximus and the other in the vicinity of the Trastevere, including the Aventine and the Vatican.• Covers the history and development of the city walls and aqueducts.• Follows major highways leading outside of the city to important and fascinating sites in the periphery of Rome.• Features 189 maps, drawings, and diagrams, and an appendix on building materials and techniques.• Includes an updated and expanded bibliography for students and scholars of Ancient Rome.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95780-0
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xi)
    James J. Clauss and Daniel P. Harmon
    (pp. 1-9)

    The importance of Rome’s geographical position, situated where river and land routes meet and where Etruria is linked with Latium and Campania by the ford below Tiber Island, is not difficult to understand. To experience the interplay of this geography at first hand, one need only follow Via della Lungaretta, which traces the course of the ancient Via Aurelia originating in southern Etruria, from the slopes of the Janiculum to the Tiber. There the modern Ponte Palatino crosses the river at a short distance from the ancient Pons Sublicius. Leaving the bridge, the traveler enters the Forum Boarium, the ancestral...

    (pp. 11-27)

    Literary sources attribute the construction of Rome’s earliest walls to the city’s penultimate king, Servius Tullius, although, according to some authors, work on this project may well have begun under his predecessor, Tarquinius Priscus. In either instance, the structure can be dated to the first half of the sixth century BC. Records suggest, however, that an earlier defensive system enclosed a narrower area than the Servian city.

    With some exceptions, scholars have tended to reject the idea that Rome had a complete defensive system in the sixth century BC. Recent discoveries, however, such as those at Lavinium, have shown that...

    (pp. 29-41)

    The Capitoline is the farthest projection of a group of hills that breaks off from the plateau northeast of Rome and extends almost to the Tiber. Originally a saddle joined the Capitoline to the Quirinal, but this was carved away by Trajan in the construction of his forum. Located at the northwestern end of the area enclosed within the Servian Walls, the hill overlooks Tiber Island and the river’s ford. The Capitoline separates the Campus Martius from the Roman Forum and Forum Boarium, two early marketplaces that lie in the valley formed by the watercourse running through the Velabrum. Because...

    (pp. 43-101)

    The valley of the Forum was carved out of the region’s compacted volcanic tufa by one of the many rivulets and streams that spill into the Tiber. The depression thus formed lies between the Capitoline and Palatine and extends southwest toward the river through the low-lying Velabrum, the original name of the watercourse in this area.

    Ancient writers unanimously emphasize the marshy and inhospitable nature of the valley. In fact, the earliest communities established themselves on the peaks or on the uppermost slopes of the hills—the Palatine and certainly also the Capitoline—whereas the plain was used as a...

    (pp. 103-129)

    THE FORUM OF CAESAR (FORUM IULIUM) In a letter to Atticus dated 54 BC (Att.4.16.8), Cicero tells his friend that he has accepted the task of acquiring land, on Caesar’s behalf, for construction of a new forum, which subsequently assumed the name of the dictator (FIG. 26:6). The new complex, which cost 60 million sesterces for the acquisition of the land alone, must have extended all the way to theAtrium Libertatis,the old seat of the censors’ archives. Reconstructed in grand style by Asinius Pollio at the beginning of the Augustan Period but destroyed during the construction of Trajan’s...

    (pp. 131-157)

    The Palatine, which lies at the heart of the system of hills that in time became the city of Rome, is perhaps the best suited of the group for human settlement. It is near the river but not so close as the Capitoline and Aventine. Its maximum height reaches 51 meters above sea level. The hill’s central crest—thePalatium—slopes downward toward the Forum Boarium and the Tiber along an incline called theGermalus(which is not one of the Palatine crests, as it is so often mistakenly thought to be). The Palatine was once joined with the Esquiline,...

    (pp. 159-175)

    Region III occupied the valley between the Esquiline and Caelian hills. It was bordered on the south by Region II along the road that leads to the Lateran, generally referred to asVia Tusculana;on the north it included the Oppian Hill and probably a part of the Fagutal; it was bounded on the east and west by Regions V and IV, respectively (see FIG. 2).

    The region’s name, Isis and Serapis, derived from a local sanctuary of the goddess Isis, probably of considerable antiquity. The shrine was possibly theIsium Metellinum,which may have been located on the slope...

    (pp. 177-211)

    The borders between Regions III, IV, and V of the city as restructured by Augustus are not fully clear (see FIG. 2). Nonetheless, recent ongoing studies have shown that the traditional theory, according to which Region V(Exquiliae)corresponded only to that part of the Esquiline that lay outside the Servian Wall, must be rejected. While the southern part of the Oppian Hill—including the Baths of Trajan and the Porticus of Livia—was situated within Region III, the border of Region IV must extend farther west than has previously been thought. On the other hand, Region IV also included...

    (pp. 213-229)

    The Caelian Hill was divided among three Augustan regions: most of the area lies within the second region(Caelimontium); the southeastern slope up to Via Appia was part of the first(Porta Capena),while the eastern end, between the Lateran andSessorium,belonged in part to the fifth(Exquiliae). Our knowledge of the boundaries between Regions I and II, however, is not completely secure (FIG. 2). It is likely that the first included the area near S. Gregorio, where the discovery of an inscription allows us to locate theVicus Trium Ararum(Street of the Three Altars), which the Regionary...

    (pp. 231-259)

    The sixth Augustan region comprised the territory occupied by the Quirinal and the Viminal, which were formally designated ascolles(hills), unlike Rome’s other elevations, which were distinguished asmontes(literally, mountains). Region VI’s boundaries were defined by Region VIII (area of the Fora) and possibly the Argiletum at the south; on the east byVicus Patricius(the present-day Via Urbana) facing Region V, and by its extension, which runs to “Porta Chiusa” in the AurelianWall; on the north by the Aurelian Wall from “Porta Chiusa” to Porta Pinciana; on the west (facing Region VII) byVia Salaria Vetus(=Via...

    (pp. 261-305)

    The term “Campus Martius” in antiquity had different meanings that were determined by the quarter’s various functions and by its historical development. In its widest application, “Campus Martius” designated the entire plain between the Capitoline, the Tiber, and the farthest slopes of the Quirinal and Pincian hills. The section east of the Via Lata, however, was later excluded from the Campus Martius—so much so that in Augustus’s reorganization of the city’s regions, it became Region VII (Via Lata), distinguished from Region IX, in which most of the Campus Martius was contained (see FIG. 2). Moreover, even within Region IX,...

    (pp. 307-331)

    The lowland between the Tiber and the hills nearest the river (Capitoline, Palatine, and Aventine) was of fundamental importance from Rome’s origins and perhaps even earlier. Rome’s very existence cannot be explained without taking into account the early function of this strip of land along the river. It was here, in fact, that the two main traffic arteries of central Italy crossed: the Tiber itself, which was navigable from its mouth almost as far as Orte, and one of the northsouth roads, running from Etruria to Campania; the road arrived at the point where the Tiber Island, the location of...

    (pp. 333-363)

    The Aventine is Rome’s southernmost hill and the one closest to the Tiber. The hill’s steep slopes, which isolated it to a large extent from its surroundings, and its proximity to the river had a profound influence on its history, which was closely bound with the struggle of the plebs. Its original name may have beenMons Murcus,a name reflected in the nearby VallisMurcia and in an ancient shrine belonging to the goddess Murcia, who was probably later identified with Fortuna Virilis and Venus Verticordia.

    We do not know when the Aventine was first inhabited. According to one plausible...

    (pp. 365-401)

    The Appian Way is the first of the great Roman roads that was named not for its function (as were the oldest, such as Via Salaria) or after the place to which it led (like Via Praenestina) but for the magistrate who built it. This development is indicative of a profound political and ideological change. It is hardly an accident that the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, the creator of the Appian Way and also of the earliest Roman aqueduct, is the first Roman public figure about whom we know anything substantial.

    Via Appia was designed to connect Rome and Capua...

  18. EASTERN ENVIRONS: Viae Latina, Praenestina, Labicana, Tiburtina
    (pp. 403-423)

    Via Latina, like Via Appia, follows very ancient routes that were established long before the creation of the celebrated highways. Originally, Via Latina linked Rome with the sanctuary of Mons Albanus, the center of the Latin League (from which it probably derived its name). Later on, it also connected Rome with Capua, running inland along the fluvial valleys of the Sacco and Liri-Garigliano. Like Via Appia, for which it functioned as an alternative route, Via Latina is associated with the period of the Samnite Wars. Thus, it would date between 328 and 312 BC, just before the construction of Via...

  19. NORTHERN ENVIRONS: Viae Salaria, Nomentana, Flaminia, Cassia
    (pp. 425-435)

    The roads that leave Rome and proceed north are largely defined by the valley of the Tiber. Only a small portion of the valley is discussed in this chapter, because in Rome’s earliest period the right bank of the Tiber was considered Etruscan territory. Indeed, Veii, the Etruscan city nearest Rome, is only a few kilometers away.

    Via Salaria, the oldest road leading out of Rome, proceeds to the northeast. Via Tiberina was also of great antiquity, as attested both by its name and its course, which, like that of Via Campana, follows the valley of the Tiber, reaching archaic...

  20. WESTERN ENVIRONS: Viae Aurelia, Campana, Ostiensis
    (pp. 437-443)

    The region west and southwest of Rome was shaped by the final stretch of the Tiber and was always crucial to the city’s commerce because of its connection with the area around the port. The region was economically important, since the survival of Rome depended rather early in its development on provisions arriving by sea. With the exception of Via Aurelia—probably founded by C. Aurelius Cotta, the consul of 241 BC—which connected Rome with maritime Etruria and later with Liguria and Provence, all the other roads that run southwest were intended to connect the city with the sea....

    (pp. 445-449)

    Our knowledge of Roman aqueducts is extremely precise for two reasons: not only are some of the monuments remarkably well preserved, but we are especially fortunate in having a treatise that Frontinus, an important individual of consular rank who lived between the Flavians and Trajan, wrote while serving ascurator aquarum(curator of aqueducts) in AD 97. This work contains, in accurate detail, essential information ranging from the position and importance of the water sources to the course and volume of the aqueducts and the number and organization of the personnel employed in this critical branch of Roman public administration....

  22. OSTIA
    (pp. 451-477)

    Ancient tradition attributes the foundation of Ostia to Rome’s fourth king, Ancus Marcius. Modern historians have for the most part rejected the second half of the seventh century BC as a wholly fanciful date for Ostia’s founding; their conclusions are supported by the absence of archaic remains among excavations at Ostia, which date the city’s earliest stages to the last quarter of the fifth or to the first half of the fourth century BC. However, recent excavations in the surrounding area, from Decima to Ficana, suggest that the earlier settlement known by tradition as Ostia may actually have been situated...

    (pp. 479-497)

    Tivoli (ancient Tibur) enjoyed a strategic position on the route between the upper and lower Anio basin, a situation that made it the key to Latium Vetus for those traveling from the area corresponding to present-day Abruzzo. From a very early period, Via Tiburtina, which originally connected Tivoli with Rome, must have proceeded inland, on a route that was continued by Via Valeria, established at the end of the fourth century BC.

    The foundation of Tivoli is attributed to Tiburnus, one of the three sons of the Argive hero Amphiaraos. Hercules, the most important local divinity, probably assumed his epithet...

    (pp. 499-535)

    The massif of the Alban Hills consists of a group of volcanic craters, about 10 kilometers in diameter, that culminates in the two summits of Monte Cavo (949 meters above sea level), theMons Albanusof antiquity, and Monte Faete (956 meters). The activity of these volcanoes, extinct for about 25,000 years, and the fluvial erosion that followed largely shaped the territory ofLatium Vetus. The Alban Lake and the Lake of Nemi occupy the cavities of ancient craters (FIG. 146).

    Roman tradition connected the birth of Latium’s most ancient centers with Aeneas and his descendants. Aeneas is supposed to...

    (pp. 537-540)
    (pp. 541-596)
    (pp. 597-598)
  28. INDEX
    (pp. 599-607)