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p448 Roma Quadrata

Articles on pp448‑449 of

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

Roma Quadrata (1): a later name of the four-cornered Palatine city in augural theory. Varro ap. Solin. I.17: dictaque primum est Roma quadrata, quod ad aequilibrium foret posita. ea incipit a silva quae est in area Apollinis, et ad supercilium scalarum Caci habet terminum, ubi tugurium fuit Faustuli. In this description the points where the augural circuit began and ended must be meant: they can only have been diagonally opposite if we accept Hülsen's theory as to the temple of Apollo (HJ 65). Cf. Plut. Rom. 9; Dionys. II.65 (the temple of Vesta τῆς τετραγώνου καλουμένης Ῥώμης . . . ἐκτός ἐστιν); Appian, frg. i.4; and see Pomerium.

In the extended sense the term may be of comparatively late origin (BPW 1903, 1645), for it could not arise until Palatium and Cermalus were one; and in the lists of the Argeorum Sacraria (q.v.), which date probably from the third century B.C., they are still separate. The comparison of the outline of the Palatine with that of the Terremare is specious, but is clearer in the plans than on the site, which has been much transformed by the great imperial buildings, which have given it a rectangular outline.

See Jord. I.1.162‑178; Mitt. 1896, 210‑212; 1926, 212‑228; HJ 35; AJP 1901, 420‑425; Pais, Ancient Legends, 224‑234; AJA 1908, 172‑183;º JRS 1914, 222‑225 (according to which the imperial Roma quadrata was a square plot of ground containing the temple of Apollo, the atrium beside it (see Domus Augusti) and the area in front of it).

Roma Quadrata (2): a shrine in which were kept various sacred objects connected with the foundation of the Palatine city, which is probably p449represented on a fragment of the Marble Plan, where a small four-sided structure stands in the Area Apollinis (Mitt. 1896, 202‑204; DAP 2.xi.115, 118; Fest. 258: quadrata Roma in Palatio ante templum Apollinis dicitur, ubi reposita sunt quae solent bona ominis gratia in urbe condenda adhiberi, quia saxo munitus (?) est initio in speciem quadratam; Ov. Trist. III.1.31 sqq.:

inde petens dextram 'Porta est,' ait, 'ista Palati;

hic Stator, hoc primum condita Roma loco est.'

singula dum miror, video fulgentibus armis

conspicuos postes tectaque digna deo.

Cf. Fast. IV.829 sqq.; Joseph. Ant. Iud. XIX.3.2, 223: ἐν εὐρυχωρίᾳ τοῦ Παλατίου — πρῶτον δὲ οἰκηθῆναι τῆς Ῥωμαιῶν πόλεως τοῦτο παραδίδωσιν Ὀ περὶ αὐτῆς λόγος). This passage has generally been taken to fix Roma quadrata in the Area Palatina (q.v.). We may note that a number of dedications to early deities, Anabestas, Marspiter, Remuriene (CIL I2.969‑971 = vi.21, 487, 566=30794) and the elogium of Fertor (CIL I2 p202 n. xli=vi.1302), all of them archaistic inscriptions, perhaps of the time of Claudius, which have been connected, not unnaturally, with the site of Roma quadrata, were also found between the summa Sacra via and the mediaeval ruins which were formerly believed to belong to the temple of Jupiter Stator, but have since been excavated by Boni, and ascertained to be the foundations of two towers, which he conjectures to be the Turres Cencii, domnae Bonae et Unquitatis (Iniquitatis?) in which Pope Gelasius II was imprisoned in 1118, which were demolished by Calixtus II in 1119 (LPD II.323, 324, n.18). The foundations of a triumphal arch also came to light (see Arcus Domitiani (2)). A statue of the fifth-fourth century B.C. (perhaps of the school of Timotheus) which has generally been interpreted as a Victory, was also found here (AJA 1918, 347); but the lack of wings is against the identification (DAP 2.xiv.235‑239).

As we have seen, the site of the Area Palatina (q.v.) has been generally connected with that of Roma quadrata (2); but inasmuch as the latter is stated by Festus to be ante templum Apollinis, it is difficult to find a place for it if we accept (as on other grounds we are probably right in doing) the theory of Pinza and Richmond as to the latter. Richmond's attempt to locate the area in front of the temple, and Lugli's placing of it to one side (ZA 175‑176) do not seem successful. It may indeed be better to accept Reid's and Leopold's idea 'that the name Roma quadrata, as restricted to the mundus, is a purely antiquarian invention' (YW 1914, 12‑13) founded only on Plutarch.

During the ludi saeculares of 204 A.D. a tribunal was erected 'ad Romam quadratam' for the distribution of suffimenta (incense); see CIL VI.32327. As another was erected in area Apollinis, it is probable that Roma quadrata was at a little distance from it (HJ 43). See the references on Roma Quadrata (1).


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