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p533 Thermae Titi

Article on pp533‑534 of

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


Thermae Titi: built by Titus in great haste at the time of the dedication of the Colosseum, and opened with magnificent games (Suet. Tit. 7: amphitheatro dedicato thermisque iuxta celeriter extructis munus edidit apparatissimum; Cass. Dio LXVI.25.1: τὸ τε βαλανεῖον τὸ ἐπώνυμον αὐτοῦ; Chron. 146; Hier. a. Abr. 2105). These baths were in Region III (Not.), near the Colosseum and within the precinct of Nero's Domus Aurea (q.v.) (Mart. Spect. 2: hic ubi miramur velocia munera thermas abstulerat miseris tecta superbus ager), but no actual buildings of the domus seem to have been removed to make room for them. In 238 A.D. some restoration was evidently contemplated (Hist. Aug. Max. et Balb. 1), and incidental references to them occur in Martial (III.20.15; 36.6) and in later inscriptions (CIL VI.9797AL 29.4; IG xiv.956 B 15: παρὰ τὰς Τιτιανάς).

Early in the sixteenth century Julius II brought to the Vatican a large granite basin, which had been seen on the site of these thermae in 1450; it was buried in 1565 by Pius IV, but dug up again by Paul V,1 and still stands in the Cortile di Belvedere (PBS II.26; HJ 308; Jahrb. d. Inst. 1890, 59). Later on, a basin of porphyry was found here and given by Ascanio Colonna to Julius III. It is now in the Sala Rotonda of the Vatican. In the same century Palladio made a plan of the ruins then existing (Devonshire coll. portf. v.; BC 1895, 110‑113). These ruins were afterwards almost entirely destroyed, although some meagre remains have recently been found (BC 1895, 113‑115; cf. LS III.248), and until 1895 the name was generally applied to the thermae of Trajan, p534though the truth was detected by De Romanis and Piale in the 'twenties of last century (see Domus Aurea). The thermae were situated just west of the later thermae Traianae on the edge of the slope overhanging the Colosseum, with the same orientation as the domus Aurea, and occupied a nearly rectangular area, about 105 by 120 metres. The façade and principal entrance were on the north side. On the south side a wide flight of steps led down to the paved area around the Colosseum, 18 metres below, where there are traces of a porticus which may have belonged to the approach to the thermae or have surrounded a large part of the Colosseum area (BC 1895, 118‑121; NS 1895, 201, 226). The arrangement of apartments seems to have been somewhat like that of the Thermae Neronianae, q.v., with the main hall (the earliest example) in the centre of the north side flanked by colonnaded courts, and a caldarium projecting out from the south side (HJ 309‑310; LR 365‑367, fig. 138; ZA 132‑133; RA 97‑101; Mem. L. 5.xvii.520).2


The Authors' Notes:

1 Cf. Orbaan, Documenti sul Barocco, 302; the inscriptions set up by Paul V are given by De Angelis, S. Maria Maggiore, appendix, 6.

2 Cf. also Terme dei Romani, Vicenza, 1797 pls. VVI; and cf. our text fig. 7 (p535).


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