Some early engravings of the Septizonium

I have blogged before about the Septizonium, a monumental facade constructed by Septimus Severus at the foot of the Palatine where it faced the end of the Appian Way.  It seems to have had no function other than to impress the visitor.  The last remains of it were demolished to provide materials for new St. Peters.

Here are three early 17th c. engravings of the monument, prior to demolition, which I found today on Flickr; by Du Perac, Sadeler, and Schenk.


8 thoughts on “Some early engravings of the Septizonium

  1. Apparently 38 columns from the Septizonium are in St. Peter’s, but I don’t see any pages showing which ones are the pillars used. I guess you could just wander around (in real life or digitally) until you find 38 pillars of the correct size and shape.

    It also seems that those four Trevi fountains representing great river were built out of some of the travertine from the Septizonium. So I guess the song’s really “Three coins in the Septizonium.”

  2. Apparently there’s bits in S. Maria Maggiore/St. Mary Major (the marble facting for its Sistine Chapel, aka Blessed Sacrament Chapel) and S. Girolamo degli Schiavoni. Stone was also used for the restoration of Marcus Aurelius’ column, a nice new pedestal for the obelisk in Piazza del Popolo at the old Flaminian Gate, and the double staircase in front of the Church of Trinita dei Monti.

    So apparently the Septizonium is pretty much everywhere!

  3. Oh, and it’s S. Girolamo dei Croati now, but sometimes it’s been “dei Illyrici”. It turns out that Pope Sixtus V’s dad was from Illyria/Croatia, which is why he went big time on a church for a small immigrant community. No pictures of Septizonium parts, though apparently they were used decoratively in it.

  4. Hooboy, there’s a long list of places where the stone was used on the Italian Wikipedia article. It really is everywhere in Rome!

  5. It was more than just a screen.. many feel it was a fountain complex on a grand scale… a super-nymphaeum..

  6. Aha! I was wondering how you knew all this! It’s very useful, all the same; how very interesting! It would be nice to see some of the bits, I agree.

    Christopher, I had forgotten the nymphaeum theory. Mea culpa! It was also a gateway, I know.

  7. Actually, I started by wondering how stuff got used in St Peter’s, started searching for “pillars Septizonium St Peters,” and found a bunch of miscellaneous webpages and papers and PD books (some of which contradicted each other).

    And then I did the obvious and consulted Italian Wikipedia. Which also contradicted some of the other bits, but seemed to have more material. But that guy with the Trevi Fountain webpage seemed awfully sure about the travertine, so I dunno.

    It sure seems like there’s tons more up than last time you brought up the Septizonium, when there was barely anything. Did somebody put it into a movie or something?

  8. That search brought up quite a number of early 19th century guidebooks! It was quite interesting. But the value of the data in all the results was low, I agree.

    The Italian Wikipedia page is certainly better than the pathetic English page. The Lanciani quote I have read in the English. The notes of the pope’s architect, Domenico Fontana, are extant and that is probably Lanciani’s source.

    Stuff appears (and disappears!) from the web constantly. Perhaps someone in Italy has done a program or something!

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