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Article

Nicholas Purcell

The Romans, ‘the most city-proud people known’, in *Procopius' late description (Goth. 8. 22. 7), founded their city-policy and urban ideology principally on their own city. Already in the 6th cent. extensive in surface-area, imposing in its public buildings and private houses, and complex in its management of space, Rome both resembled the cities of the *Etruscans and Latins (*Latini) in many respects, and functioned as a show-case and pioneer of urban form.In the 4th cent. Rome's urban functions were transformed, through the economic and prestige gains of military success, the organization of a huge territory with the expanding tribal system, and new types of relations with neighbouring cities which foreshadowed the incorporative and co-operative citizenship strategies on which a large urban population ultimately depended: the future megalopolis was conceived.It is only from the perspective of the super-city that the long-lasting tradition of Roman urban policy can be understood. Other ancient cities produced offshoot communities which were essentially new cities. Rome alone deployed its population resources, citizen or Latin, in planned locations, maintaining a superior position in terms of status, and a continuing political and governmental relationship which went far beyond any Greek or Carthaginian *mētropolis–*apoikia tie (cf.

Article

Utica  

William Nassau Weech, Brian Herbert Warmington, and R. J. A. Wilson

Utica, by tradition the oldest Phoenician settlement on the north African coast, in Tunisia, 33 km. (21 mi.) north-east of *Tunis. The traditional foundation date of 1101 bce (Plin.HN 16. 216; Vell. Pat. 1. 2. 4; Sil. 3. 241) is not borne out by the archaeological evidence: Utica's earliest traces are burials of the later 8th cent. bce. Although it now lies 11 km. (7 mi.) inland because of coastline changes as a result of silting, Utica was in antiquity an important port at the mouth of the river Bagradas. Within the empire of *Carthage it always retained a position of importance (Polyb. 3. 24. 2; 7. 9. 5). Utica was conquered by *Agathocles (1) of Syracuse in 308 (Diod. Sic. 20. 54) and besieged by P. *Cornelius Scipio Africanus in 204 (Livy 30. 10. 3). A supporter of *Masinissa against Carthage in 149, Utica was rewarded by Rome with lands of the defeated city, and was made a civitas libera (see free cities) and the capital of the new Roman province of *Africa in 146.

Article

Vatican  

Bryan Ward-Perkins

Vatican, an extramural area of the city of Rome, on the right bank of the *Tiber around the mons Vaticanus. In the early empire the Vatican was the site of an imperial park (the horti Agrippinae); and of entertainment structures, the Naumachiae (see naumachia), where mock sea-battles were exhibited, and the Vatican *circus, where *Gaius(1) set up a great obelisk from Heliopolis and which was traditionally the site of the martyrdom of St Peter. There was also an important shrine of *Cybele (or the Magna Mater) attested in inscriptions; and along the two roads that crossed the area, the via Cornelia and the via Triumphalis, were cemeteries. A group of mausolea on the foot-slopes of the mons Vaticanus were excavated under St Peter's in the 1940s, and within this cemetery (directly under the high altar of St Peter's) was found a small 2nd-cent. shrine, marking the probable burial-site of Peter, apostle and first bishop of Rome.

Article

Ian Archibald Richmond and John Patterson

Velabrum, according to *Varro (Ling. 5. 43), the landing-place of an ancient ferry connecting the Aventine with the Palatine in Rome; more generally, an area of low ground between the Capitol and Palatine. Originally open to seasonal floods of the Tiber, it was drained by the *Cloaca Maxima, and eventually became one of the busiest commercial centres of the city; the vicus Tuscus and vicus Iugarius, which carried traffic between the *forum Romanum and the Tiber, passed through.

Article

Nicholas Purcell

‘Hunts’, involving the slaughter of *animals, especially fierce ones, by other animals or human bestiarii (fighters of wild beasts)—and sometimes of criminals by animals, see below—were a major spectacle at Rome from 186 bce. They displayed the ingenuity and generosity of the sponsoring politician, and the reach of Rome, and its power over nature, in procuring exotic species (lions, panthers, bears, bulls, crocodiles, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, elephants): they admitted a privileged city-audience to the glories of traditional aristocratic hunting. Along with gladiatorial fights, they were a principal reason for building *amphitheatres. The emperors gave especially sumptuous displays: 5,000 wild and 4,000 tame animals died at the inauguration of Titus'*Colosseum in 80, and 11,000 at *Trajan's Dacian *triumph (see dacia). Especially in the later 1st cent. ce, criminals might be forced to re-enact gruesome myths (e.g. the killing of *Orpheus by a bear). See gladiators; hunting.

Article

D. W. R. Ridgway

Vetulonia (Etr. Vetluna), in the hills to the west of the bay that is now the Grosseto plain, was one of the twelve cities of Etruria (see etruscans). Excavation has been mainly confined to the extensive cemeteries. The earliest material is Protovillanovan (see villanovan culture); the most notable comes from a series of wealthy orientalizing ‘circle tombs’, consisting of trenches surrounded by stones and covered by a tumulus. The Circolo dei Lebeti contained bronze cauldrons with siren heads and griffin protomes that have Greek and oriental parallels respectively. The Pietrera tumulus contained a single chamber in which a central pillar supports a corbelled dome: here as elsewhere in northern Etruria, the suggestion of affinities with Sardinian building techniques gains credit from the presence of nuragic imports in a number of other graves (see sardinia). According to *Silius Italicus (8. 484–8) the Romans assumed the Etruscan royal insignia of fasces, sella curulis, etc.

Article

Brian Campbell

Vexillum, a military standard consisting of a square-shaped piece of cloth attached to a crossbar, borne on a pole. In the republic this served as the standard of the legionary cavalry, and in imperial times usually was carried by cavalry units, notably by alae, under the charge of the senior standard-bearer (vexillarius).

Article

Ian Archibald Richmond and John Patterson

Via Sacra, the ‘sacred way’, street connecting the *forum Romanum with the *Velia, affording access to the *Palatine. According to *Varro and *Pompeius Festus, the stretch of road popularly known as via Sacra lay between the *Regia and the house of the rex sacrorum, which was at a location known as Summa Sacra Via; as properly defined, however, the road led from the Sacellum Streniae (cf. strenae) on the Carinae to the Arx (Varro, Ling. 5. 47; Festus, 372 Lindsay). The position of Summa Sacra Via is, however, disputed by modern scholars, who variously locate it close to the Basilica of *Maxentius or near the arch of *Titus. Following the fire of ce 64, the street became a noble avenue, leading from the forum to the entrance to the *Domus Aurea, which was flanked by shops for jewellers, and other luxury-traders.

Article

vicus  

Nicholas Purcell

Vicus, ‘village’, one of a series of Roman terms for settlements of lower status than towns (such as *pagus). In administrative law the term was used for places with recognizably independent institutions in the territory of a city or on a private estate. Like pagi, these communities and their magistrates were relatively important in the less urbanized parts of the Italian countryside in the late republic, and are quite well represented in the epigraphic record. The term was also used of local subdivisions of the city, cf. Greek amphoda, named after a street, local cult, or other landmark, and are found notably at Rome (though they are also attested in other cities). *Pliny(1) gives the number of vici at Rome as 265 (HN 3. 5. 66); they too had an independent institutional existence, and appointed officials known as *vicomagistri.

Article

villa  

Michael L. Thomas

Villa was the Latin word for a rural dwelling associated with an estate, and villas ranged in character from functional farmhouses to luxurious country seats for the élite (Varro, Rust. 1.11.1–1.12.4; 3.2.1–18).1 Most of the literary evidence for villas relates to Italy and primarily describes farms run for the benefit of urban-based proprietors (e.g., Vitr. De arch. 6.6.1), though the most opulent seaside villas of the Roman aristocracy were sometimes built solely for pleasure. Aristocratic enjoyment of rural retreats and pride in creating architectural splendours there are well attested (e.g., Plin. Ep. 2.17), but the classic Italian villa, comprising not only a luxurious dwelling for the use of the owner on visits to the estate (pars urbana) but also working farm buildings (pars rustica) and storage buildings and barns (pars fructuaria), is perfectly illustrated by the excavations at Settefinestre, which have uncovered an aristocratic domus (mansion), baths, slave quarters, wine and olive presses, a piggery, a substantial granary, and formal gardens (cf.

Article

D. W. R. Ridgway

Villanovan culture takes its name from the Bolognese estate owned by G. Gozzadini, who in 1853 excavated nearby the first of many iron age cemeteries in the modern provinces of Bologna, Faenza, Forli, and Ravenna. The term is applied not only to these cemeteries of the 9th cent. bce onwards, but also to their contemporaries south of the Apennines, around the previously uninhabited iron age centres destined for continuing greatness as *Etruscan cities. Further south still, the Villanovan phenomenon is represented at *Capua, *Pontecagnano, and Sala Consilina in Campania; and there is also an isolated Villanovan cemetery at Fermo in the Marche.Both north and south of the *Apennines, the Villanovan culture is characterized in its original form by cremation burials in biconical ossuaries with incised decoration. There were no such people as ‘the Villanovans’, in spite of the fact that this unjustified ethnic extrapolation from the modern toponym of an archaeological site has often been used in juxtaposition with the historical Etruscans to imply the substitution, or even invasion, of the former by the latter. In fact, the indigenous possessors of the Villanovan culture of the 9th and 8th cents. in Etruria may confidently be defined as *Etruscans at the iron age stage of their ethnic formation and already in receipt of the influences that reached the Tyrrhenian seaboard from the outside world.

Article

Viminal  

One of the *Seven hills of Rome. It lay between the *Esquiline and the *Quirinal.

Article

J. David Thomas

During the 1970s and 1980s several hundred wooden writing-tablets were discovered at the Roman fort of Vindolanda near Hadrian's Wall (see wall of hadrian); a further 400 turned up in 1993, and a few more were found post 2000. Of the earlier finds, some were of the well-known stylus type, but the vast majority were made of thin, wooden leaves, written in ink with a pen. Only a handful of tablets of this type was previously known, and the concentration of such numbers at one site is unique. They date between c.ce 90 and 120, when the fort was occupied first by Cohors I Tungrorum and later by Cohors IX Batavorum (see cohors).The Vindolanda material includes the largest group of Latin letters ever discovered (see letters, latin). There are also literary fragments, shorthand texts, military reports, applications for leave, and accounts. The letters often bear on the official and private concerns of the officers, their families, and slaves, while the military documents tell us much about the way the Romans organized a newly acquired frontier area. In addition the tablets provide valuable information on *palaeography and the *Latin language.

Article

Richard Allan Tomlinson and J. T. Vallance

Vitruvius (Pol(l)io) (See mamurra), a Roman architect and military engineer, in which capacity he served *Caesar. He built a basilica at *Fanum Fortunae; but his fame rests chiefly on a treatise, De architectura, on architecture and engineering, compiled partly from his own experience, partly from work by *Hermogenes(1) (to whom he is heavily indebted) and other Greek authors to which his own experiences have been added, sometimes in a disjointed fashion. It is hardly a handbook for *architects: rather a book for people who need to understand architecture. Perhaps its main function was place-seeking from Octavian (see augustus), to whom it is addressed. His outlook is essentially Hellenistic, and there is a marked absence of reference to important buildings of *Augustus' reign, though he knows of Roman technical developments, such as concrete construction (which he mistrusts). De architectura, the only work of its kind which has survived, is divided into ten books. Book 1 treats of town-planning, architecture in general, and of the qualifications proper in an architect; 2 of building-materials; 3 and 4 of temples and of the ‘orders’ (see orders, architectural; 5 of other civic buildings; 6 of domestic buildings; 7 of pavements and decorative plaster-work; 8 of water-supplies; 9 of geometry, mensuration, *astronomy, etc.

Article

Vulci  

D. W. R. Ridgway

Vulci (Etr. Velχ-), 20 km. (12½ mi.) north-west of *Tarquinii in central Italy, situated on a plateau overlooking the river Fiora and with a commanding view of Monte Argentario and Cosa, was one of the twelve cities of Etruria (see etruscans). It was an important centre by the late 8th cent. bce, rich in painted pottery and bronze; its *orientalizing period has much in common with that of *Vetulonia. From the late 7th cent., Vulci was the centre of schools of stone-carving, vase-painting, and of the manufacture of bronze utensils that were widely exported. Official and clandestine attention has been mainly concentrated on the tombs, dating from the Villanovan period onwards (see villanovan culture), several thousands of which had been emptied by the mid-19th cent.: Vulci was the principal importer to Etruria of Attic black- and red-figure vases (see pottery, greek).

Article

Ian Archibald Richmond, Sheppard S. Frere, and Martin Millett

Wall of Antoninus, a Roman frontier-wall 59 km. (37 mi.) long, running from Bridgeness on the Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the Clyde, built for *Antoninus Pius (SHAAnt. Pius 5. 4) in ce 139–42 by Q. *Lollius Urbicus. The wall was of turf, standing upon a cobbled foundation 4.5–5 m. (c. 15–16 ft.) wide and systematically built in long sectors by Legions II, VI, and XX (see legion), who marked their work by inscribed slabs (RIB 2139, 2173, 2184–6, 2193–4, 2196–200, 2203–6, 2207–8, 2199, 3507). Seven metres (23 ft.) or more in front of the wall lay a ditch, approaching 12 m. (39 ft.) wide and not less than 3.6 m. (11½ ft.) deep. Forts occur at Carriden (1.7 ha.), Inveravon, Mumrills (2.9 ha.), Falkirk, Rough Castle (0.6 ha.), Castlecary (1.5 ha.), Westerwood (0.9 ha.), Croy Hill (0.8 ha.), Bar Hill (1.4 ha.), Auchendavy (1.2 ha.), Kirkintilloch (1.3 ha.), Cadder (1.1 ha.), Balmuildy (1.7 ha.), Bearsden (1.2 ha.), Castlehill (1.4 ha.), Duntocher (0.2 ha.), and Old Kilpatrick (1.8 ha.). Minor structures are signalling platforms, occurring at high points, and fortlets (0.04 ha.), one of them at the passage of the northward road at Watling Lodge, near Falkirk. Thus, the Antonine wall is structurally an advance upon Hadrian's turf wall (see wall of hadrian) in its economy of material and rubble foundation, allowing better drainage, while its garrison was distributed in small close-spaced forts instead of large forts and milecastles.

Article

Ian Archibald Richmond and Janet DeLaine

The city wall of Rome, constructed by *Aurelian in 271–5 ce in anticipation of a sudden barbarian inroad (SHA Aure. 21. 9, 39. 2; Aurel. Vict.Caes.35; Malalas, Chron. 12. 299), and completed by Probus (Zos. 1. 49). The original wall, about 6.5 m. (21 ft.) high to the battlements, extended for 18.8 km. (11½ mi.) with 381 projecting rectangular towers at intervals of 100 Roman ft. (29.6 m.; 32.4 yds.), except along the river. The wall was usually solid but in places had an internal gallery or was treated as a revetment. It frequently incorporated earlier structures, such as the terrace wall of the horti Aciliani (muro torto), the Castra Praetoria, the Amphitheatrum Castrense, private houses and tenements, and the tomb of *Cestius Epulo. It enclosed most of the fourteen regions (see regio) but only a relatively small part of Trastevere. The gates, mostly named from the principal roads, were portae Flaminia, Pinciana, Salaria, Nomentana, ‘Chiusa’, Tiburtina, Praenestina-Labicana, Asinaria, Metrobia, Latina, Appia, Ardeatina, Ostiensis, Portuensis, Aurelia-Pancraziana, Septimiana, Aurelia-Sancti Petri.

Article

Ian Archibald Richmond, Sheppard S. Frere, and Martin Millett

Wall of Hadrian, a frontier-wall (see limes) of Roman *Britain, running for 80 Roman miles (118 km.; 73 mi.) from Wallsend-on-Tyne to Bowness-on-Solway. The frontier then followed the Cumbrian coast south to St Bees Head. Erected under the governor A. *Platorius Nepos in c. ce 122–6, it was first designed to start at Pons Aelius, Newcastle upon Tyne, the eastern 67 km. (42 mi.) being in stone (3 m. (10 ft.) thick and perhaps 4.2 m. (13½ ft.) high) and the western 46 km. (31 mi.) in turf (6 m. (19½ ft.) broad at the base and some 4.2 m. (13½ ft.) high). Six metres (19½ ft.) in front of the wall ran a V-shaped ditch (generally 8.2 m. (26½ ft.) wide and 3 m. (10 ft.) deep). Recent work at various locations suggests that the berm between wall and ditch was fortified with a forest of sharpened stakes set in the ground. Fortified gateways (milecastles), with towered gates to the north, occurred every Roman mile (1,481 m.; 1,620 yds.) and there were intermediate turrets (observation towers) every third of a mile (494 m.; 540 yds.). North of the barrier were three outpost forts at Bewcastle, Netherby, and Birrens. As construction progressed, changes came. The stone wall was reduced to 2.5 m. (7½ ft.) in width, and extended 6 km. (4 mi.) eastwards to Wallsend, and 6 km. westward (replacing the Turf Wall).

Article

Ian Archibald Richmond and Tim Cornell

Wall of Servius, the city-wall of republican Rome, traditionally assigned to King Servius *Tullius, actually belongs to 378 bce. It is of Grotta Oscura tufa, built in headers and stretchers, 4.5 m. (15 ft.) thick and at least 8.5 m. (28 ft.) high, retaining an earth bank or terrace, and is comparable to the contemporary wall of *Pompeii II. The masons' marks, with Hellenistic affinities, suggest Greek contractors. The wall was some 11 km. (7 mi.) long and its course, dictated by contours, enclosed an irregular area, estimated at 426 ha. (Beloch, Röm. Gesch.208), and embracing the *Quirinal, *Viminal, Oppian, Caelian (see caelius mons), *Aventine, and fortified Capitoline hills (see capitol). There is dispute about the course between the last two points (Coarelli, 13 ff.), and about the relation of the wall to the *Palatine fortification. The names of the gates are well known, but the location of some is debated and their structure is uncertain. In the 2nd cent. bce the wall was heightened to some 16 m.

Article

Richard Allan Tomlinson

The preferred source of water in Classical Greece is a natural perennial spring. Failing this, rainwater has to be conserved in cisterns, or raised from wells.Improvement of natural water supplies leads to the construction of fountain houses where water is fed through spouts (normally decorated in the form of a lion's head) into drawbasins; such constructions are usually placed behind architectural façades with a roof to shade (and keep cool) the drawbasins. These already existed in the 6th cent. bce (Enneakrounos at Athens, built by *Pisistratus). Pirene at Corinth was successively improved from Archaic to Roman times. The use of terracotta pipes and built or rock-cut conduits to lead water from a spring to a locality where it was needed develops from the Archaic period (see aqueduct).Cisterns may be rock-cut, but generally have to be lined with cement to retain water. They may be fed from rainwater trapped on roofs, or on the ground surface, led into settling tanks for cleaning before storage. Cisterns under the courtyards of houses in *Delos are reached by well heads, hollowed cylinders of marble, usually decorated (see puteal).