More on the Septizodium

The fragmentary map of ancient Rome does show a portion of the Septizodium, an expensive facade designed to impress people arriving at the foot of the Palatine hill up the Appian Way.  Here is the fragment.

The photo has East at the top.  To the right is one end of the Circus Maximus.  The Palatine hill is at the bottom.  The Septizodium is the two semi-circles, with pillars in front of them, to the left of the Circus Maximus.

What I do not quite understand, tho, is why people say that this records the form of the name “Septizodium” rather than “Septizonium”.  Surely the crucial letter is lost?

The Septizodium on the marble map of Rome
The Septizodium on the marble map of Rome

5 thoughts on “More on the Septizodium

  1. Typically publications of this nature will include a prose argument that gives the reasoning behind such reconstructions, or more clearly indicates (un)certainty. Luckily in this case (since the accompanying text for PM 1960 is hard to obtain), looking at the specific fragments involved (http://formaurbis.stanford.edu/fragment.php?plateindex=16&record=8) tells what the thinking is: “This particular fragment might also shed light on whether there was any meaningful difference between the two spellings of the monument found in the ancient sources, “Septizodium” or “Septizonium” (PM 1960, p. 67; LTUR I, p. 271). The lower curve of a D before the I is clearly visible on the color photograph above, showing that “Septizodium” was the version used on the Plan.”

  2. There is some bug with that website – the first time I click on it, it always takes me to a useless index page rather than to the actual page I wanted; but if I ignore that and click on the link again, I get another window, this time with the right stuff.

    But looking at it, can you see a colour photo there? With part of the D clearly visible? I can’t.

  3. I think it needs some cookie set, as if I clear mine from the site I get the same behavior. Perhaps this link will work for the photo? http://formaurbis.stanford.edu/fragments/color_fullres/008bde_MOS.jpg

    I’m not sure if I would say “clearly visible” but I do see something which could possibly be the lower curve of a D with surface characteristics that could possibly classify it as an incision rather than a rough break. You can also in this case download the 3D PLY file and view it in a program like MeshLab, and the feature in question seems to have approximately the same angle as the nearby clear letter incisions: https://ryanfb.s3.amazonaws.com/images/formaurbisromae-008bdeSnap00.png

  4. Thank you very much for this – yes, the link works. I agree; we can see what does look a bit like the downstroke of the D; and certainly not an N. But is it really too close to the I, to be a letter? If we look at the V, parallel to it, shouldn’t there be the other side of the stroke? I’ll have to try playing with the PLY!

  5. It looks as though in this case the other side of the stroke is lost to the break but everything down to the valley of the incision has survived. You can see a similar phenomenon for example on the top right of the surviving part of the M (more clearly in 3D); the side of the incision connected to the surviving slab is preserved, but the side which would be orthogonal to the nearby break’s curvature has worn down or broken off.

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