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Bill Thayer

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A 1929 Topography of Ancient Rome
(on this website, part of Topographia Vrbis Romæ)

Samuel Ball Platner:
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

This large volume of over 600 pages was for many years the standard reference work, in the English-speaking world at least, on the city of Rome, its hills, its streets, its walls and monuments.

Since 1929, research has progressed immensely, hundreds of scholars having opened new excavations in Rome, or analyzed old ones, as well as inscriptions, coins and literary evidence. For scholar­ly purposes the work is therefore dated; and superseded, to some extent by A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome by L. Richardson, jr, published in 1992, and unquestionably by E. M. Steinby's Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, 5 vols. (1993‑ ); as well as by the results of recent and current archaeology, among which in particular the major excavations of Trajan's Forum and the surrounding area.

But in view of the paucity of solid material (and the relatively large amount of nonsense) on the Web, caviling with Platner & Ashby is just that: the work remains extremely useful; and since the Topographical Dictionary is now in the public domain, and the others are not, I'm therefore putting the entire work online — almost done.

I've tried to link the references to Latin texts or other sites on the Web, as appropriate; and have sometimes illustrated the text with my own photographs. In the best medieval manner, I occasionally comment the text in a footnote, or when I manage to express myself succinctly, as Javascript annotations that you can read by placing your cursor over the ºlittle bullets of various colors, or sometimes over the images.

The full text is already online, mind you, at the University of Chicago Library:​a yet as grateful as we should be for it, that Web edition has one major flaw. It is not searchable text, but rather a series of scanned images, page by page. That, and the opportunity to link to the work's sources or other material, is why I felt it useful to put the work online myself: the LacusCurtius pages of Platner are fully searchable.

For citation purposes, the pagination of the original is indicated in the sourcecode as local links.

I've also taken the opportunity to fold into the body of the text any addenda and corrigenda from pp601 ff. They are indicated in slightly different type.

My own photographs, and technically my notes, are not in the public domain, of course. If you have copyright questions, just ask.

Articles transcribed on my site (major articles are in boldface):

My transcription of the dictionary is nearing completion; soon you will be able to browse all of it letter by letter. For now, just the letters not greyed out:

A • B C D E F G H IJ • K • L M
N O P Q R • S • T U V X Z

General Topic Areas


curiae, etc.

curiae (and a number of lesser curiae not listed below) • Chalcidicum Curia Calabra Curia Hostilia (The first Senate House) • Curia Julia (The later Senate House) • Curia Pompei Senaculum

leisure facilities
government offices, etc.

Atrium Libertatis (offices of the censors) • Comitium Diribitorium (vote counting office) • Graecostasis Ovile (voting area) • Porticus Minucia (welfare office) • Praefectura Urbana Regia Saepta Julia Septizonium (or Septizodium) • Sessorium Tabularium Villa Publica













Aedes Aesculapii (temples of Aesculapius) • Aedes Dianae (temples of Diana) • Aedes Divorum Aedes Fortunae (Shrines of Fortune) • Aedes Isidis (Temple of Isis) • Aedes Lunae (Shrine of the Moon) • Aedes Pietatis Aedes Solis (Shrine of the Sun) • Aedes Volcani Aedes Vortumni Altar of Aius Locutius Antoninus and Faustina Apollo in the Campus Martius Apollo Palatine Ara Consi (Altar of Consus) • Ara Gentis Juliae (Altar of the Julian Gens) • Arae Incendii Neronis (Altars of the Fire of Nero) • Ara Maxima Herculis (Great Altar of Hercules) • Ara Pacis shrines of the Argei Atrium Vestae (House of the Vestals) • temple of Augustus temples and shrine of Bellona temple of the Bona Dea, Subsaxana Capitolium Vetus Castor and Pollux (2 temples) • temple of Claudius Cloacina Temple of Concord (6 shrines and temples, actually) Aedes Consi Aedes Fauni (Temple of Faunus) • Carmentis Deae Suriae (Temple of the Syrian goddess) • Divi Julii (Temple of Julius Caesar in the Forum) • Fausta Felicitas Febris (Temple of Fever) • Felicitas (several sanctuaries) • Fides (two shrines) • Fors Fortuna Fortuna huiusce Diei (Temples of the Day's Fortune) • Genius Populi Romani Hadrianeum Hercules Custos Hercules Invictus Hercules Pompeianus Hercules Victor (2 temples) • Hercules and the Muses Honos et Virtus (Honor and Virtue) • shrines of Isis Janus Janus Geminus Juno Lucina Juno Moneta Juno Regina Juno Sospita Jupiter Capitolinus Jupiter Heliopolitanus Jupiter Libertas Jupiter Stator (2 temples) • Jupiter Tonans Juturna Aedes Juventatis (Temples of Youth) • Lares (several temples) • Libertas (several temples) • Mars (several temples) • Matidia Aedes Matris Deum (Temples of Cybele, Mother of the Gods) • Mens Aedes Mercurii Aedes Minervae Minerva Chalcidica Minerva Capta Minerva Medica Templum Minervae Mundus Murcia Nymphaeum Ops Pantheon Di Penates Portunium Sacellum et Aedes Quirini Ara et Aedes Salutis Semo Sancus Serapis Sacella Silvani Spes Spes Vetus Summanus Tellus Templum Divorum Templum Pacis (Temple of Peace) • Templum Solis (Temple of the Sun) • tres Aedes Fortunae Venus (several temples) • Venus & Rome temple of Vespasian Sacella Vestae Vica Pota Victoria Volcanal • see also groves, springs.

Carcer (Carcer Tullianum, Mamertine Prison) • Graecostadium Insulae Scholae Tabula Valeria

Molinae (mills)

castra (and a number of lesser camps not listed below) • Castra Peregrina Castra Praetoria

columns & rostra
tombs & cemeteries

Sepulcra (and a number of lesser tombs not listed below) • Doliola Mausoleum of Augustus Mausoleum of Hadrian Puticuli (the graves of the poor) • Sepulcrum Bibuli (Tomb of Bibulus) • Sepulcrum C. Cestii (Pyramid of Cestius) • Sepulcrum Eurysacis (Tomb of the baker Eurysaces) • Sepulcrum Romuli ("Tomb of Romulus") • Sepulcrum Scipionum (Tomb of the Scipios) • Sepulcretum (the proto­historic graves in the Forum) • Tumulus Iuliae ad Ursum Pileatum Ustrinum Antoninorum

Rivers, Springs and Lakes
Roads, Streets & Bridges


a In January 2001, the Perseus Project also put the entire work online here as a searchable text, thus beating me to it by more than a decade, although I started first! This can only be to everyone's benefit of course, since their approach and mine differ — especially our linking schemes — and since servers, theirs or mine, do go down from time to time: another useful bookmark then. (I do like to think though that my version is better proofread, especially the Greek.)

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Site updated: 22 Jan 18