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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of
The Roman Forum — Its History and Its Monuments

by Christian Hülsen

published by Ermanno Loescher & Co
Publishers to H. M. the Queen of Italy

Text, maps, and black-and‑white images
are in the public domain.
Color photos are © William P. Thayer.


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 p79  VII. The Milliarium Aureum

Near the Rostra and below the temple of Saturn stood the 'Golden Milestone' (milliarium aureum) erected by Augustus in B.C. 20. It was a marble shaft, covered with gilded bronze, on which were inscribed the distances from Rome to all the important cities of Italy and the provinces. Distances on the Roman military roads were however in the time of the empire reckoned from the gates of the Servian wall: for example the Via Appia from the Porta Capena, the Via Salaria and the Via Nomentana from the Porta Collina; these gates were almost a Roman mile distant from the Forum. In the excavations of 1835 there were found two fragments of a great marble cylinder (diameter about 4 ft.), the surface of which had been left rough and still showed traces of having been covered with metal: these pieces, which are lying at present in front of the temple of Saturn, belonged in all probability to the Milliarium. A bit of a richly decorated cornice was found at the same time, and since the measurements agree, it probably belonged to the same structure. The exact situation of the mile-stone cannot be ascertained because the foundations were destroyed in connection with the building of the modern street (1835).

See: Pliny, N. H. III.66; Tac. Hist. I.27; Sueton. Otho 6; Plutarch, Galba 24; Cassius Dio LIV.8; Notitia reg. VIII.

Jordan I, 2, 245; Richter, Röm. Rednerbühne 35‑37; Lanciani 281.

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Page updated: 13 Dec 08