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Bill Thayer

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p340 Meta Romuli

Article on p340 of

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

Meta Romuli: a name sometimes given in the Middle Ages to a pyramidal monument that stood between the mausoleum of Hadrian and the Vatican (Mirab. 20, ap. Urlichs 106: sepulcrum Romuli quod vocatur meta; Graphia 16, ap. Urlichs 119).1 It was called meta alone (see references in LS I.161, 186‑189; DAP 2.viii.1903, 383‑384; memoria Romuli (Ordo Benedicti in Lib. Cens. Fabre-Duchesne,º ii.153; Mon. L. I.525); Ant. di Pietro ap. Muratori SS xxiv.1038, 1040, 1062 (1413‑1417 A.D.)); and sepulcrum Remuli (Anon. Magl. ap. Urlichs 161: meta quae ut dicitur fuit sepulcrum Remuli qui mandato Romuli in Iano mortuus fuit: et de meta praedicta sicut iam dixi dubitoque non fuit Remuli per Romulum facta, quia illis temporibus Romulus et sui non erant tantae potentiae). Magister Gregorius calls it pyramis Romuli (JRS 1919, 42, 56). At the beginning of the Renaissance it was also incorrectly called Sepulcrum Scipionis (q.v.). The name meta Romuli was probably given to this monument because the pyramid of Cestius (q.v.) had in some way come to be called meta Remi. It is described as larger than the pyramid of Cestius and of great beauty. From its marble slabs were made in the tenth century the pavement of the Paradiso of S. Peter's and the steps of the basilica. It stood at the intersection of the Via Cornelia and the Via Triumphalis, on the east side of the latter (DAP cit. 383‑387), and its southern part was removed when Alexander VI constructed the Borgo Nuovo in 1499 (LS I.126). The rest stood until 1518 at least (LS I.161, 186‑189). The monument therefore covered the Borgo Nuovo and the Via di porta Castello at their intersection (besides the literature already cited, see Mon. L. I.525; BC 1877, 188; 1908, 26‑30; 1914, 395‑396; Jord. II.405‑406; HJ 659; Becker, Top. 662. It may be seen in various mediaeval and early Renaissance views of Rome (LR 560, fig. 214; Cod. Esc. 7v., 8)).

The Authors' Note:

1 For Petrus Mallius (cited by Lanciani), v. supra, p336.

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