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Bill Thayer

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Area Splenis

 p51  Article on p51 of

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

Area Splenis: * in the Regionary Catalogue (Reg. I) et Splenis occurs after aream Apollinis, but whether this is a corruption due to dittography from Apollinis, or conceals some genuine reading, was thought to be uncertain (Jord. II.23, 542). The doubt as to the reading is, however, it would seem, unnecessary. As Hülsen has pointed out, we must take into consideration a hitherto unnoticed mediaeval legend quoted by Torrigio (Historia della veneranda Imagine . . . nella chiesa . . . di SS. Domenico e Sisto (Rome, 1641), 5) and Martinelli (Imago B. Mariae Virginis, quae apud moniales SS. Dominici et Sixti asservatur (Rome, 1642), 6 sqq.), according to which, under Pope Sergius I (687‑701), some robbers who had seized the picture were frightened by thunder and lightning when on their way from S. Sisto Vecchio (on the via Appia) to the Lateran they had come ad locum qui dicitur Spleni, which must therefore be sought somewhere near the Porta Metrovia (q.v.). This is demonstrated by Engström in Göteborgs Högskolas Kurs i Rom 1909, 8, where splen is connected with splenium, a bandage (from σπλὴν), and with the titulus fasciolae (SS. Nereus and Achilleus, on the opposite side of the Via Appia to S. Sisto Vecchio: cf. HCh 388; Hülsen in BC 1926, 49‑53).

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