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 p341  Mica Aurea

Articles on p341 of

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

Mica Aurea: a street, district or building on the Caelian in Region II (Not. Cur.). According to St. Jerome (Chron. ad a. Abr. 2105; Cassiod. Chron. (Chron. Min. II.140); cf. I.146, n. 4) a mica aurea was constructed by Domitian in 94‑95 A.D., and in Chron. (p146) micam auream is probably to be supplied in the list of Domitian's buildings. If these all refer to the same mica aurea, it was clearly a building. In Martial's epigram (II.59): Mica vocor: quid sim cernis, cenatio parva; / ex me Caesareum prospicis ecce tholum. / frange toros, pete vina, rosas cape, tingere nardo; / ipse iubet mortis te meminisse deus, the reference is to some kind of small pleasure-house or dining-hall, which might naturally be identified with the mica aurea of Domitian.​1 But the tholos can hardly be anything else than the mausoleum of Augustus in the northern part of the campus Martius, a building that could hardly be seen at all from such a cenatio on the Caelian, where the mica aurea of Not. was situated. Either Martial's mica was not the mica aurea of the chroniclers, or the tholos must refer to some other sepulchral monument that we cannot identify (HJ 252; Jord. II.32, 35; Friedländer ad Mart. II.59; Pr. Reg. 122), or to a dome in the imperial palace (Burn, Rome, 223).

Mica Aurea in Ianiculo: a locality on the slope of the Janiculum mentioned in Eins. (6.2; Jord. II.343, 653), and also indicated in the names of two early medieval churches — SS. Cosma e Damiano de mica aurea (Jord. I.1.69, 71; II.xv; Arm. 664‑66; HCh 240) and S. Iohannes in mica aurea (Jord. II.343; Arm. 691; Mél. 1914, 352‑356; HCh 273). It is probable that a mica aurea, something like that of Domitian (v. supra) had been built on the slope of the Janiculum between S. Cosimato and S. Pietro in Montorio, which gave its name to the immediate district and perhaps later simply to a street (Mon. L. I.482; HJ 650; RL 1909, 151). A sixth century inscription, containing the word micaurea, may be the earliest reference to this locality, but this is very uncertain (BC 1889, 392‑397, where Gatti explains mica aurea as referring to the yellow sand on the lower slope of thill, comparing mons aureusMontorio; Mitt. 1891, 148). Another reference is to be found on a fresco in the lower church of S. Crisogono, with the figure of one Romanus P. P. de Mica Aurea (a good deal previous to the tenth century) (BA 1914, Cr 41 sqq.; RAP II.165).

The Authors' Note:

1 This is rather doubtful; for the epigram would seem to have been composed in order to be actually inscribed on a tablet and set up on the building, which would then have been a private and not an imperial edifice.

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Page updated: 24 Feb 14