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Bill Thayer

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p416 Porta Septimiana

Article on pp416‑417 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 small stone gate, wide enough to allow the passage of a car. It has eight modern crenellations and a plastered surface. It is the Porta Septimiana in the Trastevere district of Rome.]
The Porta Settimiana (to give it its Italian spelling), from the inside.

Porta Septimiana: the modern gate of the same name, just south of the Palazzo Corsini, on the right bank of the river. The first mention of this gate by name is in the twelfth century (Mirab. 4), where a fanciful etymology is given — septem Naiades iunctae Iano — which later gave rise to still more fanciful ideas (Jord. I.1.373; ii.378; Pr. Reg. 216‑217; Urlichs 92, 115, 127, 143 (Septinea), 151; BC 1914, 83). It was rebuilt in 1498 by Alexander VI a fundamentis (LS I.161), and given its present form in 1798. It is stated that there was an inscription of Septimius (Severus) on the arch before its reconstruction, and it is probable, therefore, p417that this was the gate referred to by Severus' biographer (Hist. Aug. Sever. 19): balneae in Transtiberina regione ad portam nominis sui, that is, a gate opening into the area occupied by the buildings of Severus (cf. Septimianum, HJ 656) in this region, and afterwards incorporated in the wall of Aurelian. That it is not mentioned in DMH, GMU, or any early mediaeval documents, is strange, but there must have been at least one gate in the wall between the porta Aurelia and the river, and this lies on the line which the wall would naturally have followed (HJ 650; Richter 72, 281; T IX.476). For the church of S. Johannes de Porta, cf. HCh 275, and for S. Silvester iuxta Portam Septimianam ibid. 468 (1123); cf. also ciii.

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Page updated: 9 Feb 05