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Bill Thayer

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 p404  Porta Aurelia

Article on pp404‑405 of

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

Porta Aurelia (1): the modern Porta S. Pancrazio, a gate in the Aurelian wall on the summit of the Janiculum, through which the Via Aurelia (q.v.) issued. The original name occurs in DMH and later documents (Eins. 7.1; Mirab. 4), but by the sixth century it was also called Pancratiana and Transtiberina (Procop. B. G. I.18.35; 23.12;a 28.19) from the neighbouring church of S. Pancratius (Porta Aurelia, quae modo porta Sancti Pancratii dictum, GMU 88, R. II.408). The original structure1 was replaced by Urban VIII in 1644 (Jord. I.1.375; T IX.465‑466) and this, after being damaged in the siege of 1849,b was removed, and the modern gate erected.

Porta Aurelia (2): mentioned by Procopius (B. G. I.19; cf. 22,º 28) as being known in his time as Porta S. Petri; τὴν Αὐρηλίαν (πύλην) ἢ νῦν Πέτρου . . . ἄτε που πλησίον κειμένοθ, ἐπώνυμος ἐστι. It is mentioned under this name in DMH (403 A.D.) and also in Eins. 1.1; 2.1; 8.1; 13.1. It is now commonly (contrast De Rossi, Inscr. Christ. II.38; 99.7; 324.6) placed at the east end of the pons Aelius, on the left bank of the river (Richter 72; HF III); and Jord. (I.1.378‑390), who shares this view, further identifies it with the porta Cornelia, holding that the passage through the fortifications of the Mausoleum Hadriani (q.v.) was not viewed as a city gate at all; but in this he has not been generally followed. He is, however, right in pointing out that it is incorrect, as Richter and Lanciani (Mon. L. I.447) still do, to call it Porta S. Petri in Hadrianeo (DMH) and that the two phrases should be divided. If, however, there was only one Porta S. Petri, the inscriptions published by De Rossi would have belonged to the gate on the left bank of the river. It occurs in the form Porta Aurea in Magister Gregorius (JRS 1919, 19, 46), in the Mirabilia and in LPD I.152. See also T IX.472; JRS 1925, 81, n2.

The Authors' Note:

1 This is, of course, shown in all the plans and bird's-eye views of the city previous to 1644, but no detailed drawing of it is known.

Thayer's Notes:

a Sic; apparently a garbled citation to the only mention of the Transtiburtine Gate in Procopius, I.19.4.

b For an interesting sidelight, see this page on the Monument to Colomba Antonietti in Bastia Umbra.

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Page updated: 23 May 20