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Bill Thayer

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 p564  Via Latina

Article on pp564‑565 of

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

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The Via Latina today: about halfway between the Porta Capena and the Porta Latina, looking E.

Via Latina: a road which branched off to the left from the via Appia 830 metres from the porta Capena, and after 500 metres more passed through the Porta Latina of the Aurelian wall. The whole triangle between the two roads was occupied by tombs (T. II.19; LR 321‑337; LF 46; HJ 209‑212; cf. Sepulcrum Pomponii Hylae, Sepulcrum Scipionum), which continued for a long way along both sides of the road (Iuv. I.170: experiar quid concedatur in illos quorum Flaminia tegitur cinis atque Latina), which, like the via Appia, ran in a straight line for the first 11 miles. Liv. II.39 uses it, in speaking of Coriolanus, only as a geographical description; for it was not in existence so early. Its history is unknown, but its straightness of line shows that it was not a primitive road but an artificial military highway; and it was probably constructed after the pass of Algidus had been secured in 389 B.C.; and it must have run at least as early as 334 B.C. as far as Cales (Liv. X.36).

It was joined at three different points by the via Labicana or by branches. Strabo V.3.9, p237, shows that the via Latina was in his time regarded as the principal road, and indeed he classes it with the Appia and Valeria as among the most famous; but in later times the easier line taken by the via Labicana may have commended it to travellers, though the Latina was kept up also (for a milestone of Maxentius, see PBS I.278). The distance being identical, the milestones will agree with the numeration along either road (PBS IV.7, 8). In any case the independent existence of both ceased at Casilinum, where they joined the via Appia.

At the beginning of the third century A.D. the viae Labicana and Latina vetus were under one curator (CIL III.6154; x.5394; EE IV. p223 name both roads — the via Latina is qualified as vetus in the first  p565 of these — ii.1929; iii.1455; vi.1337, 1450; x.3732; xi.2106; xiv.2942, 3595; BCH 1879, 272; Rev. Arch. 1889, ii.126; and Stat. Silv. IV.4.60, only the Latina; vi.332; x.1259, only the Labicana), while there was a separate official for the via Latina Nova (x.5398; see BC 1891, 112‑121). What this last road was, we do not know — nor the significance of the inscription 'Viae Latinae Gr' under a recumbent female figure holding a wheel, a personification of the road (MD 4101; T. II.5; CIL VI.29811). For mention of it at a later period, see Not. app.; Eins. 10.3. See Jord. I.1.359; T. II.1‑318; XI; PBS IV.1‑159; V.213‑432.

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Page updated: 22 May 20