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Bill Thayer

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Porta Pinciana

Article on p412 of

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

Black-and‑white images are from Platner;
any color photos are mine © William P. Thayer.

[image ALT: A rather complicated arrangement of old walls, archways and decorative marble facings. It is the Porta Pinciana, the gate in the Aurelian Walls in Rome.]
At the top of today's via Veneto, looking north, out of the City (1994).

Porta Pinciana: a gate in the Aurelian wall, famous for its defence by Belisarius. On the keystone is a Greek cross (Procop. B. G. I.19, 23, 24, 29; II.1, 2, 5, 9,º 10; seven times πυλίς, five times πύλη or πύλαι). It was still open in the eighth century, but was closed in the ninth century (DMH: porta Pinciana clausa; the addition of the last word must have been made at a later period, unless with Lanciani, we refuse to attribute the DMH to Honorius).

The name had already become corrupt in the seventh century (tertia porta Porciniana (Portitiana, al.) et via eodem modo appellata, sed cum pervenit ad Salariam nomen perdit; GMU 87; R. II.404).

It was closed in 1808 and re-opened in 1887. It was originally a postern, and was transformed into a gate by Honorius, who converted the square tower on the right into a semi-circular one, and added the round tower on the left. At one time it had three stories, as older views show. The arch is of travertine and so was the threshold; one of the slabs of the latter bore the fragmentary sepulchral inscription CIL VI.35170 (Jord. I.1.354; BC 1892, 102; 1917, 214‑216; T III.12; PBS III.10.11).

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Page updated: 25 Jul 20