The Leonine City (Latin: Civitas Leonina) is the part of the city of Rome which, during the Middle Ages, was enclosed with the Leonine Wall, built by order of Pope Leo IV in the 9th century.
This area was located on the opposite side of the Tiber from the seven hills of Rome, and had not been enclosed within the ancient city's Aurelian Walls, built between 271 and 275. After Christianity had risen to prominence and the Roman Empire had collapsed, the area had to be defended through the construction of a new wall, since it housed St. Peter's Basilica.
Nowadays, the territory of the former Leonine City is made up of the State of Vatican City and the Roman rione of Borgo.
The Leonine Wall, which defines Leonine City, was constructed by Pope Leo IV following the sacking by Muslim raiders of Old St. Peter's Basilica in 846.Built from 848 to 852 as the only extension ever made to the walls of Rome, this three-kilometre wall completely encircled the Vatican Hill for the first time in its history. An abortive start had been made by Leo III, but disturbances in the city had suspended work, and the Romans dismantled the sections that had been begun and used them in private constructions. Pope Leo IV used his estate workers, inhabitants from the surrounding countryside, Saracens captured after the sea battle of Ostia in 849 and funding from an imperial Frankish donation, to construct the wall, which ran in an enclosing U-shape from the riverbank at Hadrian's Mausoleum, soon to be known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, up the slopes of the Vatican Hill encircling the basilica and descending again to the river. The walling was constructed of tuff and tiling, forty feet high, with 44 strong towers at bowshot intervals. The massive round corner tower that still crowns the Vatican hill has its origins in this construction campaign.
Three new gates gave access to the newly enclosed Borgo. Two were in the stretch of wall that led back from the Castel Sant'Angelo: a small postern gate behind the fortified Mausoleum, called the Posterula S. Angeli and later, from its proximity to the Castello, the Porta Castelli, and a larger one, the principal gate through which emperors passed, near the church of St. Peregrino, called the Porta Peregrini, later the Porta S. Petri.A third gate opened the Leonine City to the rione of Trastevere. A festival celebrated the official completion of the walling, 27 June 852.
In addition, chain towers were built along the Tiber river to repel Saracen assaults by water.
In 1083, after refusing to crown Henry IV as the next Holy Roman Emperor, Pope Gregory VII found himself under siege within the Leonine City. After Henry took the city, Gregory fled to Castel Sant'Angelo. Gregory attributed the loss of the Leonine City to famine and negligence and not so much to "the courage of Henry's men".
Later, more extensive circumvallation was effected under Pope Pius IV (reigned 1559 — 1565), when Leo's walling was broken in places. Three further gates had been opened in the walls.
In 1870, when the military forces of the Kingdom of Italy captured Rome, overthrowing what was left of the Papal States, the Italian government intended to allow the pope to keep the Leonine City as a small remnant Papal State. However, Pope Pius IX would not agree to that arrangement, and thus there was a 59-year standoff, when the Popes were a "prisoner in the Vatican",settled in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, which recognized the sovereignty and independence of Vatican City.
Year 848 (DCCCXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar.
Pope Leo IV was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 10 April 847 to his death. He is remembered for repairing Roman churches that had been damaged during Arab raids on Rome, and for building the Leonine Wall around Vatican Hill. Pope Leo organized a league of Italian cities who fought and won the sea Battle of Ostia against the Saracens.
A prisoner in the Vatican or prisoner of the Vatican is how Pope Pius IX was described following the capture of Rome by the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy on 20 September 1870. Part of the process of Italian unification, the city's capture ended the millennial temporal rule of the popes over central Italy and allowed Rome to be designated the capital of the new nation. The appellation is also applied to Pius' successors through to Pope Pius XI.
St. Peter's Square is a large plaza located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave inside Rome, directly west of the neighbourhood or rione of Borgo. Both the square and the basilica are named after Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus considered by Catholics to be the first Pope.
The Passetto di Borgo, or simply Passetto, is an elevated passage that links the Vatican City with the Castel Sant'Angelo. It is an approximately 800 metres (2,600 ft) long corridor, located in the rione of Borgo. It was erected in 1277 by Pope Nicholas III, but parts of the wall were built by Totila during the Gothic War.
Borgo is the 14th rione of Rome, Italy. It is identified by the initials R. XIV and is included within Municipio I.
The Cortile del Belvedere was a major architectural work of the High Renaissance at the Vatican Palace in Rome. Designed by Donato Bramante from 1505 onward, its concept and details reverberated in courtyard design, formalized piazzas and garden plans throughout Western Europe for centuries. Conceived as a single enclosed space, the long Belvedere court connected the Vatican Palace with the Villa Belvedere in a series of terraces connected by stairs, and was contained on its sides by narrow wings.
The Arab raid against Rome took place in 846. Muslim raiders plundered the outskirts of the city of Rome, sacking the basilicas of Old St Peter's and St Paul's-Outside-the-Walls, but were prevented from entering the city itself by the Aurelian Walls.
This is an index of Vatican City–related topics.
The Gardens of Vatican City, also informally known as the Vatican Gardens in Vatican City, are private urban gardens and parks which cover more than half of the country, located in the west of the territory and owned by the Pope. There are some buildings, such as Radio Vatican and the Governor's Palace, within the gardens.
The Church of Our Lady of Mercy in the Teutonic Cemetery is a Roman Catholic church in the rione Borgo of Rome, Italy. The building lies near the Vatican City, is attached and adjacent to the Collegio Teutonico, and the German Teutonic Cemetery in the Vatican City. The site belonged to the Schola Francorum, a hospice for German pilgrims which was the oldest German institution in Rome. The church, lying in piazza Protomartiri Romani, is in the area of the Palazzo del Sant'Uffizo, which belongs to Italy but according to the Lateran treaty has an extraterritorial status in favour of the Holy See.
The Church of San Pellegrino in Vaticano is an ancient Roman Catholic oratory in the Vatican City, located on the Via dei Pellegrini. The church is dedicated to Saint Peregrine of Auxerre, a Roman priest appointed by Pope Sixtus II who had suffered martyrdom in Gaul in the third century. It is one of the oldest churches in the Vatican City.
Porta Santo Spirito is one of the gates of the Leonine walls in Rome (Italy). It rises on the back side of the Hospital of the same name, in Via dei Penitenzieri, close to the crossing with Piazza della Rovere.
Porta Angelica was a gate of the Leonine Wall in Rome (Italy).
Porta Cavalleggeri was one of the gates of the Leonine Wall in Rome (Italy).
Porta Pertusa is one of the gates of the Leonine Wall in Rome (Italy).
The Porta Aurelia-Sancti Petri was one of the gates of the Aurelian walls in Rome (Italy). It was originally called the Porta Cornelia.
Borgo Nuovo, originally known as via Alessandrina, also named via Recta or via Pontificum, was a road in the city of Rome, Italy, important for historical and architectural reasons. Built by Pope Alexander VI Borgia for the holy year of 1500, the road became one of the main centers of the high Renaissance in Rome. Borgo Nuovo was demolished together with the surrounding quarter in 1936-37 due to the construction of Via della Conciliazione.
Borgo Vecchio, also named in the Middle Ages Via Sancta, Carriera Sancta or Carriera Martyrum was a road in the city of Rome, Italy, important for historical and architectural reasons. The road was destroyed together with the surrounding quartier in 1936-37 due to the construction of Via della Conciliazione.
San Michele Arcangelo ai Corridori di Borgo was a church in Rome dedicated to St. Michael, the Archangel, important for historical and artistic reasons.
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