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Bill Thayer

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Testaceus Mons

 p512  Article on pp512‑513 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

Testaceus Mons: Monte Testaccio, the modern name for the artificial hill, south of the Aventine and the horrea Galbiana in Region XIII, which rises to a height of 50 metres above sea-level, and is about a kilometre in circumference. It is composed entirely of fragments of earthen jarsa (amphorae, dolia) in which corn, wine, and produce of various kinds had been brought to the horrea from Africa, Spain, and Gaul. Many of these jars were inscribed on the neck or handle, and a large number of these inscriptions have been recovered (CIL XV pp. 491‑659). They date from 140 to 251 A.D., but it is certain that the dumping of debris on this spot began as early as the time of Augustus, and that the hill had reached its present height by the middle of the second century. The distribution of the debris shows that the hill rose in the midst of the horrea. Under one of its sides the tomb of the Rusticelii (q.v.) was found (HJ 177‑178; Ann. d. Inst. 1878, 118‑192; 1885, 232‑234; CIL XV pp491‑492, 560‑565; BC 1911, 246‑260; 1915, 41‑46, 279, 291; 1914, 241‑250; 1915, 41‑46, 279‑290; Mem. Soc. Nat. Ant. France,  p513 1915, 153; D. Orano, Il Testaccio; il monte ed il quartiere dalle origini al 1910, Pescara, 1910).

Thayer's Note:

a composed entirely of pottery fragments:

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A winding road surrounds most of Monte Testaccio.

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This is not a hill whose surface is strewn with broken crockery;
as Platner says, it is entirely composed of the stuff.

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Notice among other things the amphora handles.

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Page updated: 4 Feb 03