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p128 Cohortium Vigilum Stationes

Article on pp128‑130 of

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


Cohortium Vigilum Stationes: the seven barracks of the seven cohorts of police and firemen, established by Augustus when he reorganised the city in fourteen regions. Besides the stationes, there were fourteen smaller posts, excubitoria (Baillie Reynolds, The Vigiles of Imperial Rome (Oxford, 1926), 43‑63). From actual remains and inscriptions found in situ, the location of four stationes is determined:

I on the east side of the via Lata, directly opposite the Saepta (Not. Reg. VI; p129CIL VI.233, 1056, 1092, 1144, 1157, 1180, 1181, 1226; ib. (not in situ) 2959‑61). The plan of this statio is certainly preserved on a fragment (36) of the Marble Plan, and represents a rectangular building with its main axis extending due north and south at an angle of 18 degrees with the via Lata, and divided into three parts, each of which consisted of a central court surrounded by a porticus and rows of chambers. Extensive remains brought to light by the excavations of the seventeenth century showed, however, that many changes had been made in the barracks after the time of Severus (HJ 461, and literature there cited; NS 1912, 337).

II on the Esquiline (Not. Reg. V), at the south end of the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele (CIL VI.414, 1059; ib. (not in situ) 2962‑68, 32752; LS III.162).

IV on the Aventine (Not. Reg. XII), just north of the church of S. Saba (CIL VI.219, 220, 643, 1055; ib. (not in situ) 2972‑76; Ann. d. Inst. 1858, 285‑289; BC 1902, 204‑206; NS 1901, 10; 1902, 270, 357, 465; 1925, 382‑387; HJ 187; PT 140).

V on the Caelian (Not. Reg. II), just west of the Macellum magnum, the present church of S. Stefano Rotondo (CIL VI.221, 222, 1057, 1058; ib. (not in situ) 2977‑83). Besides the inscriptions, some traces of the building were found in the sixteenth century (LS II.132) and in 1820 (LR 340).

The location of the other three barracks is uncertain:

III in Region VI (Not.). The epigraphic evidence is indeterminate (CIL VI.2969‑71, 3761 = 31320, 32753‑6), but the statio was probably just inside the porta Viminalis, near the east corner of the baths of Diocletian (HJ 374; BC 1872‑3, 250; 1876, 107, 174; Jord. I.1.309; ii.122; CIL XV.7245 — this pipe may have been found near this site, but in any case appears to refer to the first cohort).

VI in Region VIII (Not.), but the inscriptions (CIL VI.2984‑92; 32757) are without topographical value. For a supposed excubitorium in the forum, see NS 1902, 96; BC 1902, 31; Atti 570: CIL VI.3909.

VII in Region XIV (Not.). No traces of the statio of this cohort have been found, but considerable remains of one of the excubitoria were discovered in 1866 at the monte de' Fiori, near the church of S. Crisogono. The building, which appears to have been originally a large private house, belongs to the second century with later additions, and on its walls are many graffiti (CIL VI.2998‑3091), dating from 215 to 245 A.D. and containing much information in regard to the organisation of the corps. The portion excavated consists of a central atrium with mosaic pavement and a hexagonal fountain, and adjacent apartments, among them a lararium and a balneum (Bull. d. Inst. 1867, 8‑30; Ann. d. Inst. 1874, 111‑163; cf. BC 1886, 266‑269; LR 549; CIL VI.2993‑2997, 32751; Mau, Gesch. d. Wandmalerei, 461). Some authorities place the other excubitorium in the ninth region, because in one of the graffiti (CIL VI. p1303052) the seventh cohort is referred to as Cohor(s) vigul(um) Neron(ianis (?)), i.e. at the Thermae Neronianae (Ann. d. Inst. 1874, 117; CIL in loc.; LR 547; SJ 269, 270). But Baillie Reynolds (op. cit. 55‑58) brings strong arguments in favour of the view that the eleventh and fourteenth regions were in the charge of the seventh cohort.


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