Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Lorna Rainey guest post 2: northern Rome

The remaining five sites on this tour take place in the northern part of Rome, meaning that there is a natural stopping point in the tour, as the first part contains a large number of sites, some of which, like the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, may take several hours to fully explore. As such, this tour may take two days to fully complete. Assuming that this logical break has been used to divide the tour into two parts, this section of the tour will start from Roma Termini.

The Quirinal is one of the seven hills of Rome. In order to get to it you must head left from Roma Termini, along Via Cavour, turning right onto the Via Panisperna and then right again onto Via Milano: this road will turn into Traforo Umberto 1, which leads you over the hill. The next stop is the Shrine of the Capitoline Triad, called “ancient Jove” by Martial (5.22). This is located somewhere on the Quirinal Hill: the exact location is unknown, although it would have most likely been somewhere near the Ministero della Guerra, which is on Via delle Quattro Fontane.

Once you have crossed the Quirinal Hill, take a right onto Via Rasella, which leads onto the Via delle Quattro Fontane. After that visit the Mausoleum of Augustus (5.64): in order to reach this you must walk along the Via del Tritone, then take a right onto the Corso, one of the main shopping streets in Rome. Come off the Corso, onto Via Tomacelli, then walk along Via di Ripetta, which will lead you past the Mausoleum. You cannot go inside of the Mausoleum, although it has been announced that it will be restored and opened to visitors some time in 2019.

The penultimate stop on the tour is “the Covered Way” (3.5): its exact location is unknown, although scholars believe it to have been located between the Tiber and the Mausoleum of Augustus. There are two roads which may take a similar route to that of the Covered Way: Via di Ripetta, and Lungotevere in Augusta. Finally visit “the Flaminian Way” (11.13): in order to reach this you must walk along the Via di Ripetta, until you reach Piazza del Popolo. Exit the Piazza on the Via Flaminia: if you follow this road, it will lead you over the Tiber on the Ponte Flaminio and out of Rome.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Walking tour, part 3



The Colosseum, which Martial calls “Caesar’s Amphitheatre” (On The Spectacles 1), is the next stop on the tour. A large part of the Colosseum remains today and can be visited: although a visit to the underneath of the Colosseum needs to be booked in advance, the remainder can be visited using the same ticket with which you gained access to the Roman Forum and there is no need to book in advance. After visiting the Colosseum, you can then visit “the Esquiline” (Epigrams 7.73), one of the seven hills of Rome. Martial does not state a set location upon the Esquiline to visit, meaning that it is not necessary to visit on the tour, but if you choose to do so then cross the road from the Colosseum, head up Via delle Terme di Tito, and then take a right onto Viale del Monte Oppio: this will lead you up the hill.
If you have chosen to not walk up the Esquiline, the next stop on the tour is the “Porta Capena” (Epigrams 3.47). This is a gate in the Servian wall, of which a small piece remains. In order to get to the Porta Capena, leave the Colosseum, heading down the Via di San Gregorio: the Piazza di Porta Capena is at the junction of the road, and it is in this Piazza that the piece of wall is sited. Next on the tour is the Caelian Hill, or as Martial refers to it the “Greater and Lesser Caelian” (Epigrams 12.18). The easiest route from the Porta Capena is to walk down the Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, then turn left along Via Druso, which turns into the Via dell'Amba Aradam. This is one many paths that goes up the Caelian Hill. Then return to the Porta Capena, when you have walked up the hill. This, like the Esquiline Hill, is not a necessary stop on the tour as, again, Martial does not indicate a specific point on the Caelian Hill to visit.
 Similarly, the next potential stop on the tour is the Aventine, which Martial calls “Diana’s Hill” (Epigrams 7.73): starting at the Porta Capena, walk along Viale Aventino, then take a right up Via di Santa Prisca, following this road as it turns into Clivo dei Publicii. This will take you across the Aventine hill, and you will end up by the Circus Maximus. The next stop on the tour is the “Shrine of bereaved Cybele” (Epigrams 7.73), which was located in the centre of the Circus Maximus: all that remains of the Circus Maximus today is a large grassy area, which is now a public park. After this head towards “the Aemilian Way” (Epigrams 10.12), now known as the Ponte Rotto. As you leave the Circus, head towards the Tiber, where the remnants of the bridge still remain: a single arch of the bridge stands in the middle of the river. After this visit “Phillipus’ Colonnade” (Epigrams 5.49): in order to reach it you must walk along the Via Luigi Petroselli from the Ponte Rotto, then turn onto the Via del Foro Piscario to reach the Portico of Octavia. The exact location of the colonnade is unknown, although it is believed to be north west of the Portico of Octavia. The colonnade was in the temple of Hercules and the Muses and it got its name as it was restored by a Philippus, probably Quintus Marcus Philippus, consul-suffect in 38BC.


Lorna wrote a second part to the tour, starting again from Termini and covering northern Rome

Walking tour, part 2



The next part of the tour takes place in the Roman Forum, which you need to buy a ticket to enter, this ticket also gains you entrance to Palatine Hill and the Colosseum. The entrance is on Via dei Fori Imperiali, opposite the Forum of Nerva. The first stop in the Roman Forum is the Temple of “Peace” (Epigrams 1.2), which stood in the middle of the Forum Pacis, north of the basilica Aemilia, probably at the junction of the modern Vie Alessandrina and dei Pozzi. The next stop is the “New Temple” (Epigrams 12.2), also called the Temple of Augustus, which was probably located behind the Basilica Julia in the Roman Forum.

After this, visit the “Temple of Minerva” (Epigrams 4.53). The location of this temple is not known, but there are two potential theories regarding its position: the first is that it was between the Temple of Augustus and the Temple of Castor and Pollux, both of which are located behind the Temple of Peace in the Roman Forum (although it would have been more of a shrine than a temple); the second places it behind the Basilica of Julia, also in the Roman Forum, next to the “temple of Castor and Pollux” (Martial Epigrams 1.70). You can easily visit both  potential locations . The temple of Castor and Pollux is the next stop, of which there are three columns supporting a piece of wall remaining, followed by the Temple of Vesta, referred to by Martial as “ancient Vesta” (Epigrams 1.70), not far from the Temple of Castor and Pollux and part of the precinct of the Vestals. A part of the outside wall of the Temple of Vesta can still be seen today, supported by columns, and a small section of the roof still exists. The “house of the Virgins” (Epigrams 1.70) is also located in the precinct of the Vestals and is our next stop, located east of the Temple of Vesta. The House of the Vestal Virgins still contains some of the original statues, positioned around one of the pools that existed within a courtyard in the House.

Next to the House of the Vestal Virgins is the domus Tiberiana, below this is thought to be the “New Temple” (Epigrams 4.53), more commonly known as the Templum Divi Augusti, though its location is not completely certain, as nothing of it exists today. The next site is “Cybele’s Dome” (Epigrams 1.70) a round temple adorned with frescoes at the top of the Sacra Via; its exact location is not known so it is not possible to visit the dome itself, nor the location that the dome would have occupied during Martial’s time. You can then follow the “Sacred Way” (Epigrams 12.5) leading you down the Palatine Hill, out of the Roman Forum and towards the Colosseum: the Via Sacra still exists today, following the same path that it would have done in Martial’s day. All the stops within the Roman Forum have some form of remains still existing, although some are more complete than others. These remains are also marked by information boards, depicting what scholars believe the sites would have looked like in Ancient Rome and any other information that is available on the sites. [continued...]

Walking tour, part 1



The most logical place to start is at the train station known as Roma Termini. To the east of the Roma Termini is an area known as the “Subura” (Epigrams 5.22, 10.20, 12.2, 12.18). The Subura in Martial’s time was the valley between the southern end of the Viminal and the western end of the Esquiline Hill, which was connected with the Roman Forum by the Argiletum, and continued eastward between the Oppius and the Cispius by the Clivus Suburanus, ending at the Porta Esquilina. This district is now traversed by the Via Cavour and the Via dello Statuto. In Martial’s time the Subura would have been a run down area; it has since been transformed and is currently a high end shopping district, known as the Rione I Monti. There are little to no Roman remains surviving of the original Subura, so the tour does not have a strict path to follow, nor set sites to visit within the Subura.


After walking through the Subura, head towards the Roman Forum. Martial advises taking the “Argiletum” (Epigrams 1.117), a street that, in his day, led directly from the Subura to the Forum. It entered the Forum by the Basilica Aemelia. The Argiletum no longer exists, but the street that is closest to following the same route is the Via Cavour, which joins the Via dei Fori Imperiali by the Forum of Nerva. “Pallas’ Forum” (Epigrams 1.2), more commonly called the Forum of Nerva, is located where the Via Cavour joins the Via dei Fori Imperiali, opposite the “Temple of Peace” (Epigrams 1.2) in the Roman Forum. The Forum of Nerva occupied the space between the Forum of Augustus on the north-west and the Forum Pacis on the south-east. Not much of the Forum of Nerva remains today: there are the remnants of some walls, as well as a pair of quite well preserved columns in the Forum, which can be seen from the street.

The “Temple of Mars the Avenger” (Epigrams 7.51) is the next stop on the tour, and is in the Forum of Augustus, which is situated next to the Forum of Nerva on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. Much of the Forum of Augustus is buried; the rest can be seen from the street. The Temple of Mars is in the unburied section, and  some remains can still be seen, such as steps leading up to a raised platform, as well as the bases of some columns. Martial also mentions the “Forum of Caesar” (Epigrams 1.117), also known as the forum Iulium, which is also on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, past the Forum of Nerva and the Forum of Augustus. The Forum of Caesar is considered the first of the imperial Fora. There are quite a few remains, the most prominent being columns and pillars marking out the locations of the various temples which existed within the Forum itself. [continued...]





Guest post: Lorna Rainey's Martial walking tour

Over the next several posts (broken up for ease of use) I'll be sharing a walking tour of ancient-and-modern Rome, taken in Martial's company. The tour was written by Lorna Rainey, a first-year student at Birmingham who chose to answer the essay question,


Present a plan for a modern walking tour of ‘Martial’s Rome’, identifying the topographic and ancient architectural features you would visit on your route, and explaining how visiting them would enhance you understanding and enjoyment of Martial’s poems.
I was impressed she took the task on, and bowled over by what she delivered. Working with students on Martial is such a treat. 🎓😀

Begin the tour 

Lorna has a separate tour for northern Rome.