Ancient History & Civilisation

Glossary of Place Names in Rome

Aemilian quarter A poor residential district in the southern Campus Martius.

Amphitheatre An oval arena with banks of seats on all sides, used especially for gladiatorial performances. The first permanent amphitheatre in Rome was built by T. Statilius Taurus in 29 BC, probably in the southern Campus Martius; it burned down in the fire of AD 64. The Flavian Amphitheatre (18), better known as the Colosseum, was begun by Vespasian in the 70s and dedicated by Titus in AD 80.

Atrium of Liberty A building north of the Forum of Caesar, containing the offices of the censors; the original structure was rebuilt and enlarged by C. Asinius Pollio, who added a public library.

Aventine The southernmost hill of Rome.

Basilica Julia (6) A large colonnaded hall on the south side of the Forum, begun by Julius Caesar and rebuilt by Augustus, who dedicated it in the names of his adopted sons Gaius and Lucius in AD 12.

Baths of Nero (33) The second public baths in Rome, built in the early 60s AD on the Campus Martius; the first baths (31), built by Agrippa, were nearby.

Baths of Titus (19) Built near the Flavian Amphitheatre in AD 80.

Caelian One of the hills of Rome, on the south–eastern side of the city.

Campus Martius A large level area north–west of the Capitoline Hill, subject to flooding, and so relatively undeveloped until the mid first century BC.

Capitol (21) The great temple on the Capitoline Hill, dedicated to the chief patron deities of Rome, Jupiter Optimus Maximus (‘Best and Greatest’), Juno and Minerva; also known as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. The original archaic temple was burned down in the civil wars of 83 BC; its replacement was similarly burned down in the civil wars of AD 69, and again in a fire of AD 80.

Capitoline One of the hills of Rome, just east of the Forum.

Carinae A district on the south–western end of the Esquiline Hill, where many prominent citizens lived during the republic.

Circus An arena used for chariot races; Suetonius normally means the Circus Maximus, south of the Palatine.

Comitium (10) The chief place for political assemblies in Rome, off the western end of the Forum in front of the Senate House.

Curtian Lake A sacred site in the Forum; by the time of Augustus it was apparently a sort of pit.

Diribitorium (30) A large roofed building in the Campus Martius, at the south end of the Saepta, used for the sorting of votes; begun by Agrippa and completed by Augustus in 7 BC.

Esquiline One of the hills of Rome, on the eastern side of the city.

Forum The Forum Romanum, low ground between the Capitoline, Palatine and Quirinal hills; the traditional centre of public life.

Forum of Augustus (15) A colonnaded square centring on the Temple of Mars Ultor, north–east of the Forum of Caesar; begun probably in the mid 20s BC, and dedicated in 2 BC.

Forum of Caesar (14) A colonnaded square centring on the Temple of Venus Genetrix, just north of the Forum Romanum; dedicated by Caesar in 46 BC, but only completed by Augustus.

Forum of Nerva (13) A long rectangular colonnaded square, filling in the space between the Forum of Augustus and the Temple of Peace; built by Domitian, but dedicated by Nerva early in AD 97.

Gardens of Maecenas An estate on the Esquiline Hill laid out by Maecenas and bequeathed to the imperial family.

Gemonian Stairs A flight of steps on the Capitoline Hill on which the bodies of executed criminals were flung; the name was popularly connected with the Latin verb gemere, ‘to moan’.

Grove of Libitina A sacred grove containing the shrine of Libitina, the goddess of funerals, which served as a sort of funeral parlour for Rome; apparently on the Esquiline, although the exact location is unknown.

Island of Aesculapius (25) A shrine of the healing god on an island in the Tiber; it functioned as a quasi–hospital, where the ill or injured went for cures.

Janiculum A hill on the west bank of the Tiber.

Lamian Gardens An estate on the Esquiline Hill, imperial property since the reign of Tiberius.

Lesser Codeta A marshy region in the Campus Martius.

Mausoleum of Augustus A monumental tomb near the Via Flaminia, at the northern end of the Campus Martius; constructed by Augustus between 28 and 23 BC.

Odeum of Domitian (32) A theatre–like structure for musical performances, built by Domitian to the north of the Theatre of Pompey.

Palatine One of the hills of Rome, in the centre of the city; in the late republic it was a well–to–do residential neighbourhood, but over the course of the first century AD the steadily expanding imperial residences gradually took over. As a result, the name Palatium (whence the modern ‘palace’) came to denote the whole complex of buildings used by the emperors and their families.

Pincian A hill north of the city, east of the Via Flaminia.

Portico of Gaius and Lucius (2) A double arch on the eastern end of the Forum, connecting the Temple of Divus Julius with the Basilica Aemilia to the north.

Portico of Livia A colonnade on the Esquiline, dedicated in 7 BC

Portico of Octavia (26) A colonnaded square south of the Campus Martius, enclosing two earlier temples; dedicated sometime after 27 BC.

praetorian camp The barracks of the praetorian guard, built by Tiberius in AD 21–3 at the instigation of Sejanus; on the far northeastern edge of the city.

Quirinal One of the hills of Rome, on the northern side of the city.

Regia (1) The ‘Royal House’ at the eastern end of the Forum, which served as the official residence of the pontifex maximus.

Rostra (8) The speaker’s platform in the western end of the Forum, adjacent to the Comitium; a new speaker’s platform was later built in front of the temple of Divus Julius.

Sacred Way A street adjacent to the Forum.

Saepta (34) Literally, ‘Enclosures’; originally a structure in the Campus Martius where elections took place, but replaced by an elaborate rectangular portico planned by Caesar and completed by Agrippa in 26 BC.

Senate House (11) The usual meeting place of the Senate, north of the Forum.

Stadium of Domitian A racetrack on the Campus Martius.

Subura A low–lying region north–east of the Forum.

Tarpeian Rock A cliff on the Capitoline Hill.

Temple of Apollo (23) A temple south of the Campus Martius, built in the 430s BC.

Temple of Apollo Palatine (17) A temple built by Augustus adjacent to his home on the Palatine; dedicated in 28 BC.

Temple of Castor and Pollux (5) A temple on the south side of the Forum, originally built in the early fifth century BC and rebuilt by Tiberius in AD 6.

Temple of Concord (9) A temple on the north–west corner of the Forum; built originally in the mid fourth century BC, restored and rededicated by Tiberius in AD 10.

Temple of Diana An ancient temple on the Aventine Hill, restored under Augustus by L. Cornificius.

Temple of Divus Augustus A temple located somewhere on the northwest side of the Palatine Hill; begun by Tiberius, but left either uncompleted or undedicated.

Temple of Divus Claudius (20) A temple on the Caelian Hill; begun by Agrippina the younger and completed by Vespasian.

Temple of Divus Julius (3) A temple dedicated in 29 BC at the eastern end of the Forum, adjacent to the Regia.

Temple of the Flavians A structure on the Quirinal built by Domitian in the early 90s ad, apparently for use as a family tomb.

Temple of Hercules and the Muses (27) A temple south of the Campus Martius; originally built in the 180s BC, restored and surrounded with a portico by L. Marcius Philippus in 29 BC.

Temple of Janus Quirinus (12) An ancient temple north of the Forum, whose gates were closed as a sign that Rome was at peace.

Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus See ‘Capitol’.

Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus See ‘Capitol’.

Temple of Jupiter Tonans (22) A temple on the Capitoline Hill built by Augustus in honour of Jupiter ‘the Thunderer’ (see Aug. 29); dedicated in 22 BC.

Temple of Mars Ultor (15) A temple built by Augustus in honour of Mars ‘the Avenger’ and dedicated in 2 BC; the centrepiece of the Forum of Augustus.

Temple of Peace (16) A temple with an attached colonnade north–east of the Forum; built by Vespasian and dedicated in AD 75.

Temple of Saturn (7) An ancient temple on the south–west corner of the Forum, used as a public treasury; rebuilt in 42 BC by L. Munatius Plancus.

Temple of Venus Genetrix (14) A temple built by Julius Caesar in honour of Venus ‘the Ancestress’ (see Jul. 6 with the note) and dedicated in 46 BC; the centrepiece of the Forum of Caesar.

Temple of Vesta (4) A small round shrine of the goddess of the hearth fire at the eastern end of the Forum.

Theatre of Balbus (28) A theatre on the southern Campus Martius built by L. Cornelius Balbus the younger and dedicated in 13 BC. Theatre of Marcellus (24) A theatre built by Augustus in memory of his nephew Marcellus adjacent to the Capitoline Hill; dedicated in 13 BC

Theatre of Pompey (29) The first permanent theatre in Rome, constructed on the Campus Martius in 55 BC; a large colonnaded square was attached to its rear.

Triumphal Gate The gate through which generals celebrating triumphs entered Rome; its location is unknown, but it seems to have been in the vicinity of the Campus Martius.

Vatican quarter A region of Rome across the Tiber from the main part of the city, the site of a circus constructed by Gaius.

Velabrum A low–lying area between the Capitoline and Palatine hills.

Via Appia A road leading south–east from Rome to Capua, later extended to Brundisium.

Via Aurelia A road leading west from Rome and then north along the west coast of Italy.

Via Flaminia A road leading north from Rome to Ariminium on the Adriatic coast of Italy; within the city, it ran along the eastern edge of the Campus Martius.

Via Latina A road branching east off the Via Appia.

Via Nomentana A local road branching east off the Via Salaria.

Via Salaria A road leading north from Rome to Reate, and then on to the Adriatic coast.

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