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Bill Thayer

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p465 Scalae Caci

Article on pp465‑466 of

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

Scalae Caci: an ancient stairway on the south side of the Palatine, leading down to the valley of the circus Maximus. The top of it (supercilium) is named as the end of Roma Quadrata (1) and as the site of the Casa Romuli (q.v.) (Solin. I.18; Plut. Rom. 20, where βαθμοὺς καλὴς ἀκτῆς of the MSS. has been emended into Σκάλης Κακίας, Bull. d. Inst. 1852, 40; Diodor. IV.21). What the Atrium Caci (q.v.) has to do with it is uncertain. Probably the steps originally served as a short cut to the bottom of the clivus Victoriae, and the porta Romanula stood at their junction with it, rather than farther north (CQ 1908, 145), v. supra 376.

Tradition connected this corner with the story of the robber Cacus (Liv. I.7), but both he and his sister Caca were in reality ancient Italic fire deities (Mitt. 1895, 163 ff.; RE II.1164, 1166; WR 161). Of the steps themselves nothing certain is left. At the top the travertine foundations of a gate of the imperial period are in situ, together with a small piece of road pavement; a little lower down they turned at right angles and ran to the south-west corner of the hill; but here they have been built over by a house of the imperial period, and survive only in the form of an internal staircase. (See BPW 1903, 605‑606; CQ 1908, 145‑147; HJ 39‑42; Pl. 133‑134; DAP 2.vi.254‑255.)

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Page updated: 21 Aug 12