Porta Nomentana

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The remains of Porta Nomentana

The Porta Nomentana was one of the gates in the Aurelian Walls of Rome, Italy. It is located along viale del Policlinico, around 70 m east of Porta Pia. It is now blocked and merely a boundary wall for the British Embassy.

History[edit]

It was built as a single-arch gate between 270 and 273 AD by the emperor Aurelian. Its original right-hand semicircular tower (on quadrato foundations) is still to be seen, while its left-hand one incorporated a tomb, presumed to belong to Quintus Aterius, a famous orator at the court of Tiberius, called by Tacitus "an old man made rotten by flattery" (senex foedissimae adulationis) and mentioned by him as the first to get up to refute Tiberius's feigned refusal of the imperial crown. Marble from that tomb was used to cover the gate in restorations by Honorius in 403, who at the same time blocked the two nearby posterns in the direction of Castra Praetoria and restored the porta Salaria.

It was turned into a two-arch gate by Pope Pius IV in 1564 (as told in a papal inscription on it), the same year as it was replaced by Porta Pia as the access route to the via Nomentana. This phase's brick arch, topped by the papal arms, and the original right-hand semicircular tower (with quadrato foundations) are still to be seen. Ten years later, the Porta Asinaria also closed to be replaced by the new Porta San Giovanni. The original 3rd-century left-hand tower was demolished in 1827 to excavate the 1st-century AD tomb built into it (previous to the gate the area had been outside the city centre and thinly populated, and thus ideal for a cemetery).


Sources[edit]

  • Quercioli, Mauro (2005). Le mura e le porte di Roma. Rome: Newton & Compton. 
  • Cozzi, Laura G. (1968). Le porte di Roma. Rome: F. Spinosi. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]