Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

What went on at Rome's city limits

An EU study examined the ceremonial and social importance of Rome's ancient city limits. A newly discovered temple sanctuary on the threshold seems to have played an important religious and symbolic role in crossings.
What went on at Rome's city limits
Long before Rome was an empire, it was a city state. Historians are interested in the locations of the ancient city boundaries and how they were marked. The EU-funded project SASDAPPIA (Settlement and spatial dynamics along the Appian way, between the suburbium and the city of Rome) investigated.

The work examined the evolution of Roman residential areas, between Late Antique and Republican periods, with focus on the extra-mural passage of the Appian Way. The Appian Way was a road, one of Rome's first and most important, which connected Rome to other Italian cities. The study site was a point on the Appian Way that once conspicuously denoted the transition from urban to suburban areas of the city.

Project members aimed to reconstruct and analyse settlement and dynamics between the two zones. A further goal was examination of the spatial and functional relationships of ceremonial marker points within a broader social context.

A major result was discovery of a previously unknown sanctuary at the ancient city's limits. The find opened new perspectives on Appian Way topography, while also shedding light on social and religious markers of Rome's boundary. It seems that the sanctuary may have been such a marker. The complex would have faced outward, being the first structure that approaching visitors would have seen along the route.

Discovery of a temple on the Almo River fleshed out knowledge of religious architecture during the middle Republican period. The site also illustrated topography of the Roman suburbium, contributing to discussion of the religious value of boundary sites.

The project encouraged modern economic revival of the local district at the study site. The team used its website and outreach activities to foster among locals a sense of place and significance, based on architectural heritage. Researchers also helped local inhabitants to organise cultural initiatives in support of such goals.

SASDAPPIA progressed debate about Roman frontier sanctuaries, in context of the city's complete boundary. The newly discovered boundary temple will help develop the local area and foster archaeological awareness.

Related information


Rome, ancient city, temple sanctuary, Appian Way, suburbium, extra-mural passage
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top