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Bill Thayer

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p131 Columna Antonini Pii

Article on p131 of

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

Columna Antonini Pii: a column, erected in memory of Antoninus Pius by his two adopted sons, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (CIL VI.1004). It stood in the campus Martius, on the edge of the elevation now known as Monte Citorio, and belonged architecturally to the Ustrinum (q.v.), being 25 metres north of it with the same orientation. The column was a monolith of red granite, 14.75 metres in height and 1.90 in diameter, and was quarried in 106 A.D., as is shown by the masons' inscription on its lower end (IG XIV.2421.1). It stood on a pedestal of white marble, surrounded with a grating, and was surmounted by a statue of Antoninus, as is represented on coins issued after his death (Cohen, Ant. Pius 353‑6). Previous to the eighteenth century the base of the column was entirely buried, but the lower part of the shaft projected about 6 metres above the ground. In 1703 the base was excavated, but the shaft lay in the Piazza Colonna until 1764 when unsuccessful attempts were made to repair it. Some pieces were used to restore the obelisk of Augustus that is now in the Piazza di Monte Citorio, and the lower part was taken to the Vatican. Three of the sides of the pedestal, which is now in the Giardino della Pigna in the Vatican, are covered with reliefs. The principal one, representing the apotheosis of Antoninus and Faustina, was turned towards the Ustrinum. The opposite side bears the dedicatory inscription, and the reliefs on the other two represent scenes from the decursus equitum at the deification (Mitt. 1889, 41‑48; S.Sculpt. 270‑3; SScR 249‑253; LS III.145; Amelung, Kat. Vat. I pp883‑893).


Thayer's Note:

This is one monument of Rome I have not seen; therefore I have no pictures of my own. We're in luck, though, because we have Mary Ann Sullivan's excellent page, with 10 well-captioned high-quality photos.


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Page updated: 30 Apr 01