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p544 Umbilicus Romae

Article on p544 of

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

Umbilicus Romae: a monument erected not earlier than the time of Severus (AJA 1909, 186) on the north end of the hemicycle of the Rostra (q.v.), and mentioned only in later literature (Not. Reg. VIII; Eins. 1.5; 7.7; 8.8; DAP 2.ix.389). It is now a cylindrical brick-faced core, rising in three stages, with a diameter of 4.60 metres at the bottom and 3 at the top, but originally it was covered with marble. It represented the central point of city and empire, probably in imitation of the ὀμφαλός in Delphi and other Greek cities, and may have corresponded architecturally to the Milliarium Aureum (q.v.) at the south end of the hemicycle (Jord. I.2.245; HC 80; Thédenat 134, 233).a


Thayer's Note:

a Platner cites the 1908 edition of Thédenat, which I haven't found online. Online at Gallica, however, is the 1898 edition; in it, the passages on the Umbilicus are on pp154‑155 and 268.


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Page updated: 1 Jul 11