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p128 Sacrum Cloacinae

Article on p128 of

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


Cloacina, sacrum: a shrine of Cloacina, the divinity of the cloaca (cloaca Maxima), in the forum near the Tabernae novae (Liv. III.48: prope Cloacinae ad tabernas quibus nunc novis est nomen; Plaut. Curc. 471: apud Cloacinae sacrum). In process of time Cloacina was arbitrarily identified with Venus and called Venus Cloacina (Plin. NH XV.119: traditur myrtea verbena Romanos Sabinosque, cum propter raptas virgines dimicare voluissent, depositis armis purgatos in eo loco qui nunc signa Veneris Cloacinae habet; cluere enim antiqui purgare dicebant; cf. Serv. Aen. I.720). The origin of the cult and the erection of the first shrine belong probably to the first period in the history of the Cloaca Maxima (q.v.), although tradition ascribed it to Titus Tatius (Lact. Inst. I.20.11). Coins struck during the second triumvirate (Babelon, II.242; Mussidia 6.7; WS 1902, 418‑424; BM Rep. I p574n, 4242‑54) represent a small round structure with a metal balustrade, the legend CLOACIN, and two female figures, one holding a flower, which evidently represent Venus Cloacina. There is no doubt that this is the shrine of which the foundations were discovered directly in front of the basilica Aemilia in 1899‑1901. The existing remains stand over the drain that flows under the basilica, near the point where it empties into the cloaca Maxima, and consist of a marble base, round except on the west side, where it has a rectangular projection, 2.40 metres in diameter, resting on a slab of travertine and eight courses of various kinds of stone. The character of these courses shows that the foundation was gradually raised as the basilica encroached upon it (Mitt. 1893, 284; 1902, 45; 1905, 62‑63; BC 1900, 61‑62; 1903, 97‑99; CR 1901, 138; HC 136‑138; Théd. 75, 257; RE IV.60‑61; WR 245; DR 182‑184; JRS 1922, 21; HFP 34; TF 74, on the other hand, assigns all the tufa courses to the period of Sulla).


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