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Bill Thayer

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p389 Amnis Petronia

Article on p389 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

Petronia, Amnis: a brook that had its source in a spring, the Cati fons, on the west slope of the Quirinal, and flowed across the campus Martius into the Tiber (Fest. 250: Petronia amnis est in Tiberim perfluens, quam magistratus auspicato transeunt, cum in Campo quid agere volunt, quod genus auspici peremne vocatur; cf. 45: Cati fons ex quo aqua Petronia in Tiberim fluit dictus quod in agro fuerit Cati). The Cati Fons (q.v.) is now usually identified with a spring in the cortile di S. Felice of the royal palace in the Via della Panetteria (cf. acqua di S. Felice, LA 236), close to the ancient porta Salutaris. The Petronia stream probably followed the line of the present underground channel which runs south-west across the Piazza Venezia, and westward to the east end of the porticus Pompeiana. From this point its course is doubtful. Whether after uniting with the Aqua Sallustiana (q.v.) it turned south and flowed into the river opposite the island (HJ 473; KH III), or continued west under the porticus Pompeiana, and flowed into the Tiber near the navalia (AR 1909, 67‑76), is as yet undetermined. The importance of this stream lay in the fact that it was the boundary of the city auspices, and necessitated the taking of the auspicia peremnia whenever the magistrates crossed it to preside over the comitia centuriata (Mommsen, Staatsrecht I.97, 103; Jord. I.1.139, 267; University of California Publications in Classical Philology II.272‑273).

Cati Fons: a spring on the western slope of the Quirinal, near the porta Salutaris, from which the Petronia amnis flowed down into Caprae palus. It took its name from a certain Catus (Fest. 45), and is perhaps the present Acqua di S. Felice (HJ 402; LA 24), which rises in the courtyard of the royal palace.

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Page updated: 21 Aug 12