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Welcome to the Aventine Hill
Welcome to Regio XIII Roma, Mons Aventinus, the online community of the Plebs of Nova Roma. The Aventine was one of 14 wards or urbs of Rome, consisting of the Aventine and the district south of it, between the boundaries of XII and XI, the Aurelian wall, and the Tiber. Founded by Remus, it was the historical community of the Plebs, consisting of the Aventine Hill, the Minor Aventine, and the sub-aventine plain. Take a walk through the Aventine, and experience what our community has to offer.
Sites and Residents of the Aventine
While most of our Pleb cives live in provinciae outside of Rome itself, many maintain a domus in the urb to use when visiting the city for our virtual Ludi events, meetings of different collegiae, conducting business at the Macellum, attending elections, etc. Stop in and visit a particular site or one of our residents ~ go to the Port Tibernius to get started. You may even take up residence on one of our streets!
About the Aventine
- The Aventine Hill:
The Aventine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome, was only a small height. It consists actually of two peaks shared by a small gully, the first peak is close to the Tiber and the second, the minor Aventine (and a part of it belonging to the XII Region of Rome, called Piscina Publica) is more south. During the Republic, it has always been a popular district, and became under the Empire a more residential area. King Servius Tullius let build a temple of Diana which became the federal sanctuary of the Latins. Another old religious building was there as well, the temple of Minerva. In addition to the Baths of Decius, which are the most impressive, one of Emperor Trajan’s friends let build private baths, the Baths of Sura. (The Aventine in the opposite angle ). At last the sub-aventine plain which spreads down to the Tiber
Certainly the biggest construction on the Aventine height, the Baths of Decius were built in 242.
The private Baths of Licinius Sura are built along the Clivus Publicius on the top of the slope which leads to the Circus Maximus. The view over the Circus and the Palatine should be splendid.
This view shows in the centre left of the picture, with two immense porticoes on the sides, the temple of Diana , built in the VIth century BC. The temple of Minerva is just right of the temple of Diana . At the bottom of the picture the Temple of Vortumnus.
The Clivus Publicius , this important way that goes through the Aventine, went down to the Circus (in the centre of the picture). Close to the way stood the Temple of the Moon , which had to compensate the angle of the slope with long stairs.
The Vicus Portæ Trigeminæ was another important way that linked the Forum Boarium to the Emporium. The old gate of the Servian Wall that opened the way, the Porta Trigemina is one of the most mentioned in History. It seems that the gate had three openings to make the traffic easier. In the centre of the picture, the Temple of Ceres (templum Cereris). A little further down, on the right, you notice the temple of the Moon, seen from the back side.
Left, the Vicus Portæ Trigeminæ. Under this angle, you can notice two triumphal arches that line the Vicus Portæ Trigeminæ. The Arch of Lentulus in the middle distance, and the Arch of Germanicus in the foreground. Many warehouses were built between the Tiber and the Vicus Portæ Trigeminæ.
By climbing the slope of the Aventine, at the level of the Probus bridge, we find a remarkable group of temples and porticoes, the temple of Juno Queen is the great temple almost in the middle of the picture . Next to the temple of Juno Queen stood a tiny temple, the temple of Libertas, which is supposed to be the first public library of Rome, thanks to Asinius Pollio’s initiative. The great square surrounded by a portico on the left of the picture could be the Armilustrium, dedicated to the feast of the God Mars, on October 19th each year (feast of purification of weapons). A small altar dedicated to Mars stood in the centre of the square. Trajan may have had his private residence close to the Armilustrium at the bottom of the picture (global identification).
Here another view angle of the Temple of Juno Queen. This temple was erected by the Roman General Camillus, and rebuilt later by Augustus. The Cassius Stairs, next to the temple allowed to go down to the embankments.
- The Minor Aventine:
The old Servian Wall, that included both peaks of the Aventine in the Roman enclosure, even before the building of the Aurelian Wall, is visible on this picture, as, on the south point, left of the picture, appears the promontory which was used to build the private House of Hadrian. In the foreground, the Aurelian Wall.
Identified as the " Private House of Hadrian " ( Privata Hadriani ), this splendid building built on several levels on the south point of the minor Aventine, must have been impressive. More than a house, it can be considered as a palace with gardens. This builder emperor may have let this house been built as a private residence in Rome, but surely hasn’t much been living in it.
The House of Cornificia on the left side of the picture. This could have been the house of the sister of Marcus-Aurelius who married M. Ummidius Quadratus. This house, like that of Hadrian, was a rich mansion with an impregnable sight onto the Aventine. A bird’s eye view on the left the House of Cornificia, and on the right Hadrian’s private House.
This huge property with gardens was the House of Ummidia Quadratilla, probably Cornificia’s daughter. She was actually a rich merchant, who lived very old and was quite wealthy. At the top of the picture, next to the house, are three family trade warehouses. The vast gardens went until the Servian Wall.
- The Sub-Aventine Plain:
At the bottom of the picture you get a general view of the sub-aventine plain and the Testaceus mount. At the bottom on the left, the bent of the Tiber that will flow down to the harbour of Ostia. An area densely built with warehouses, Insulæ and mansions, that’s how the sub-aventine plain looks like.
It’s only after going around the Baths of Decius that the Aventine hill begins to go slowly down to the plain. In the centre of the picture you can guess the Vicus Platanonis that links the top of the hill to the plain in a long gentle slope, and the Vicus Amilustri that runs along the west side of the Aventine. Magnificent Domus have been built in this particularly attractive region, due to its spectacular sites. Close to the Baths and to the sacred wood of Stimula a ,stood Flavius Iulius Quartus domus b; and the Pactumei’s Domus c a true palace, which surely had a spectacular view over the whole plain, but had nevertheless to make do with a great section of the Servian wall m which was intact at this point and ran along the edge of the cliff. On the other side of the Platanonis d, a grove of short trees that gave its name to the Vicus, stood close to it another patrician mansion, the Suærii House e.
The southern part of the Sub-Aventine housed as well splendid mansions, among which the most important seemed to be that of Valérius Potitus a, who was probably one the numerous consuls of the Valerii family during the imperial period. The second domus to be noted is the Æmilii House b. The Æmilii, or Gens Æmilia, constitute one of the most important families of the Roman history. Next to the Æmilii House here is the Suetrius Sabrinus’ House, c, consul in 214. The old Servian wall that ran around the Aventine at the time of its building let see under Constantine whole sections still standing or half collapsed, among which the porta Laverna , d (porta Lavernalis) with only one intact gate that still mounts guard on the slope of the Vicus Platanonis. Going across the Vicus Portæ Raudusculanæ, the gate Porta Raudusculana e (Porta Raudusculana), of which the adjacent walls are fairly damaged.
The Sub-Aventine plain was crossed by the Via Ostiensis that linked the banks of the Tiber with the Ostiensis Gate. That was therefore an important way of communication. For the contemporaries, the Via Ostiensis surely seemed humming with activity due to all these nearby warehouses since these certainly generated a permanent traffic. Nevertheless some insulæ (they were everywhere in Rome) stood close to these warehouses, as well as an important Domus, the House and gardens of Aurelius Cotta on the right side of the via Ostiensis. Was he the Consul who in 75 was one of most brilliant speakers of his time according to Cicero (Brutus § 202-210)? We are not sure, but if it was him, he would then be Cæsar’s maternal uncle. Left of the Via Ostiensis and half-way to the Testaceus Mount, two funeral steles lightened the heaviness of the buildings. The pomœrial stele of Claudius and that of Vespasian (which is out of the range of the model).
Close to the great warehouse porticoes and the Tiber stood a hillock called Testaceus, that would have been artificially formed during the Empire by piling up the splinters of amphoras coming from the harbours along the river. This mound appears at the bottom of the picture, in the bend of the Tiber.
The quadrilateral between the Tiber, left, the Testaceus Mount, right, and the Porticus Æmelia at the top of the picture, was practically entirely covered with warehouses (a) in order to store all the goods that arrived through the harbour of Ostia. The best identified warehouses are those of Lollius (c) ( Horrea Lolliana ) and those of Seius (d) ( Horrea Seiana ). Last, some baths (b), as they were so many in Rome, were to be found even in this commercial district.