Tombs of Via Latina

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The Roman road through the Tombs of Via Latina Road through Roman Tombs Via Latina.jpg
The Roman road through the Tombs of Via Latina

The Tombs of the Via Latina (Italian : Tombe di Via Latina) are Roman tombs, mainly from the 2nd century AD, that are found along a short stretch of the Via Latina, an ancient Roman road close to Rome, Italy. They are now part of an archaeological park and can be visited.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Tomb burial place

A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes. Placing a corpse into a tomb can be called immurement, and is a method of final disposition, as an alternative to for example cremation or burial.

Contents

History

The tombs were discovered in 1857–58 by Lorenzo Fortunati, a teacher who dabbled in archaeology and made money by selling some of the items he found. [1] A series of excavations supported by Pope Pius IX subsequently uncovered various tombs along a short stretch of the road about 6 km southeast of the center of Rome. The area was subsequently expropriated from the Barberini family by the Italian State in 1879. [2] In 1900, further excavations were initiated under the supervision of Rodolfo Lanciani.

Pope Pius IX 255th Pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti, was head of the Catholic Church from 16 June 1846 to his death on 7 February 1878. He was the longest-reigning elected pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving for over 31 years. During his pontificate, Pius IX convened the First Vatican Council (1869–70), which decreed papal infallibility, but the council was cut short owing to the loss of the Papal States.

Barberini family noble family prominent in 17th century Rome

The Barberini are a family of the Italian nobility that rose to prominence in 17th century Rome. Their influence peaked with the election of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini to the papal throne in 1623, as Pope Urban VIII. Their urban palace, the Palazzo Barberini,, today houses Italy's Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica.

Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani was an Italian archaeologist, a pioneering student of ancient Roman topography, and among his many excavations was that of the House of the Vestals in the Roman Forum.

The Archaeological Park

Tomb of the Valerii Parco Tombe della Via Latina 11.JPG
Tomb of the Valerii

The park extends for a short distance of 450 meters. In addition to the tombs, part of the original basalt surface of the Via Latina is also visible.

The tombs are very well preserved. Among the most notable is the Barberini tomb (Italian : Sepolcro Barberini), named after the former landowners. It has two floors above an underground burial chamber, and is constructed in red and yellow bricks, typical of Roman construction in the area in the mid 2nd century AD. The Barberini sarcophagus with reliefs representing the myths of Protesilaus and Laodamia was discovered here, and is now on display in the Vatican Museum. The tomb was used as a barn in the 8th century, when part of the roof was demolished.

Opus latericium An ancient Roman form of construction in which coarse-laid brickwork is used to face a core of opus caementicium

Opus latericium is an ancient Roman form of construction in which coarse-laid brickwork is used to face a core of opus caementicium.

Sarcophagus Box-like funeral receptacle

A sarcophagus is a box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σάρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγεῖν phagein meaning "to eat"; hence sarcophagus means "flesh-eating", from the phrase lithos sarkophagos, "flesh-eating stone". The word also came to refer to a particular kind of limestone that was thought to rapidly facilitate the decomposition of the flesh of corpses contained within it due to the chemical properties of the limestone itself.

Protesilaus mythological hero

In Greek mythology, Protesilaus was a hero in the Iliad who was venerated at cult sites in Thessaly and Thrace. Protesilaus was the son of Iphiclus, a "lord of many sheep"; as grandson of the eponymous Phylacos, he was the leader of the Phylaceans. Hyginus surmised that he was originally known as Iolaus—not to be confused with Iolaus, the nephew of Heracles—but was referred to as "Protesilaus" after being the first to leap ashore at Troy, and thus the first to die in the war.

The Tomb of the Valerii (Italian : Sepolcro dei Valeri), which dates from the second half of the 2nd century AD, is a notable two-story brick structure. Its name is arbitrary and does not relate to the original occupants of the tomb. The part above ground has been almost entirely reconstructed and is noteworthy for a portico with two columns at the front. Beyond the entrance there is an area open to the sky from where two symmetrical staircases lead to the two underground burial chambers, which were originally richly decorated with slabs of marble.

Portico Type of porch

A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. This idea was widely used in ancient Greece and has influenced many cultures, including most Western cultures.

Column structural element sustaining the weight of a building

A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. The term column applies especially to a large round support with a capital and a base or pedestal which is made of stone, or appearing to be so. A small wooden or metal support is typically called a post, and supports with a rectangular or other non-round section are usually called piers. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces. Other compression members are often termed "columns" because of the similar stress conditions. Columns are frequently used to support beams or arches on which the upper parts of walls or ceilings rest. In architecture, "column" refers to such a structural element that also has certain proportional and decorative features. A column might also be a decorative element not needed for structural purposes; many columns are "engaged", that is to say form part of a wall.

Only the underground part of the Tomb of the Pancratii (Italian : Sepolcro dei Pancrazi) survives, and the tomb is now covered with a modern building. The name comes from an inscription referring to the funerary collegium of the Pancratii, inscribed on a large marble sarcophagus that remains in situ; seven other sarcophagi found here are now in the Vatican Museum. The tomb, dated to the reign of Hadrian (AD 117–138), contains good examples of stucco work and frescoes. The fresco decoration of the underground vault include Jupiter in flight with the eagle, the Judgement of Paris. [2]

Collegium (ancient Rome) any association in ancient Rome with a legal personality. Such associations had various functions.

A collegium was any association in ancient Rome with a legal personality. Such associations had various functions.

Hadrian 2nd-century Roman Emperor

Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus in Italica, Hispania Baetica, into a Hispano-Italic family that settled in Spain from the Italian city of Atri in Picenum. His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. He married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career, before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death.

Stucco material made of aggregates, a binder, and water

Stucco or render is a construction material made of aggregates, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture. Stucco may be used to cover less visually appealing construction materials, such as metal, concrete, cinder block, or clay brick and adobe.

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References

  1. "Il Parco archeologico delle tombe romane di via Latina – Roma". Il Pinolo B&B (in Italian). 25 March 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  2. 1 2 "Itinerario 5" (PDF). Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica (in Italian). p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2011.

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Coordinates: 41°51′45″N12°32′03″E / 41.8625937°N 12.5341988°E / 41.8625937; 12.5341988