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Bill Thayer

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p345 Molinae

Article on p345 of

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

Black-and‑white images are from Platner; any color photos are mine © William P. Thayer.

[image ALT: A photograph, taken in the early 20c, of what looks like a small pond. On the low hill behind it, a clump of houses out of which a four-story square tower pokes up. In the pond, a wooden platform with a house on it. It is a view of a floating grain mill in the Tiber at Rome below the Aventine.]

35 Molinae, floating mills below the Aventine

Molinae: public mills for grinding corn,º situated on the Janiculum just inside the porta Aurelia (Not. Cur. Reg. XIV; CIL VI.1711).1 They were driven by the water of the aqua Traiana and were in regular use until this aqueduct was cut by the Goths during their siege of Rome in 537 when floating mills (Ill. 35) were invented by Belisarius (Procop. BG I.19). They are also mentioned in the seventh and eighth centuries (LP LXXII.5 (an interpolated note in the MS.); xcvii.59; HJ 648; see also Mem. Am. Acad. I.59‑61; Eins. 7.2; id. Syll. ep. 47 (ad CIL VI.1711) in Ianiculo ante ecclesiam SS. Iohannis et Pauli (HCh 277; LPD I.327, n20; Mon. L. I.481). Cf. Mem. A.P. ii.74‑76.

The Authors' Note:

1 This important inscription is a decree of the praefectus urbi, Claudius Iulius Ecclesius Dynamius, 'de fraudibus molendinariorum'; the mills are enumerated in conjunction with the baths of Ampelis, Priscus, and Diana, and the Janiculum in Reg. Our illustration does not show the steps of masonry descending to the floating mills on the Tiber (for which see Cod. Esc. 27v., 56v.), which are probably the 'gradellae' from which S. Gregorio and S. Maria de Gradellis took their name (HCh 258, 336, 590, 597; BC 1925, 57‑69 (see Mater Matuta, templum).

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Page updated: 30 Jun 01