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 p269  Horti Maecenatis

Article on p269 of

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

Horti Maecenatis: gardens which Maecenas laid out on the Esquiline, on the Servian agger and the adjacent necropolis, thus transforming this unsavoury region into a beautiful promenade (Hor. Sat. I.8.14; Acro, Porphyrio, and Comm. Cruq. ad loc.). They became imperial property after the death of Maecenas, and Tiberius lived here after his return to Rome in 2 A.D. (Suet. Tib. 15). Nero connected them with the Palatine by his Domus Transitoria (q.v.) (Tac. Ann. XV.39), and viewed the burning of that from the turris Maecenatiana (Suet. Nero 38). This turris was probably the molem propinquam nubibus arduis of Horace (Carm. III.29.10). These gardens were near those of Lamia, but it is not easy to reconcile the indications of the ancient literature or to determine their exact location. Topographers are not agreed as to whether they lay on both sides of the agger and both north and south of the porta Esquilina. Maecenas is said to have been the first to construct a swimming bath of hot water in Rome (Cass. Dio LV.7), which may have been in the gardens. Whether the horti Maecenatiani of Fronto (Ep. I.8) were the former gardens of Maecenas, or called so for some other reason, is unknown. The domus Frontoniana mentioned in the twelfth century by Magister Gregorius may refer to them (JRS 1919, 35, 53).​1 For the description of a building, often thought to be within these horti, see Auditorium Maecenatis. Many of the puticuli of the ancient necropolis have been found near the north-west corner of the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, that is, outside the porta Esquilina and agger, and north of the via Tiburtina vetus, and probably the horti extended north from this gate and road on both sides of the agger (HJ 345‑7; BC 1874, 166‑171; Richter, 313; LR 411‑413; Cons. 155 ff. for works of art found here).

The Authors' Note:

1 Hülsen suggests that it is probably an invention, like the Domus Aquilea (ib.).

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Page updated: 4 Feb 09