A book describing the ceiling of the vanished Septizonium in Rome

A couple of weeks ago Ste. Trombetti posted on Twitter another couple of finds about the Septizonium.  This was a facade in front of the Palatine hill in Rome, erected at the end of the Appian Way as a kind of formal entrance to the palaces, by Septimius Severus.  It was pulled down in the 16th century, at which time only one end was still standing, and the materials used for various building projects.

The first of these is a guidebook to the wonders of Rome, Francesco Albertini (1469-1530?), Mirabilia Romae, 1520.[1]

albertini_mirabilia_romaeA rough translation: “About the Septizonium, and some epitaphs.  The Septizonium is between the palace and the church of St. Gregory, of which there are standing three orders of columns high, not far from the Circus Maximus.  Near this they say is the place of the tomb of the emperor Severus the African: concerning whom see Julius Capitolinus writes in the life …. (?) … Spartianus says the same” (not sure about the rest).

Another item by Sebastiano Serlio, “Il Terzo Libro delle Antichità di Roma”, 1544, p.82.[2]  This has a diagram of the vaulted inside of the roof of the Septizonium, and measurements of the extent of the building then standing, made by the author, so is very valuable indeed.  The south end is at the top:

serlio_terzo_libroFinally – and nothing to do with the Septizonium – here on Twitter is a drawing of the Meta Sudans fountain, also now vanished, by  Giacomo Lauro, “Splendore dell’antica e moderna Roma”, 1641:

giacomo_lauro_meta_sudans_1641I think we may all be grateful to Mr. Trombetti for the time spent in these online archives, locating these.

  1. [1]Online as a scan of a microfilm at the BNF here, and as a properly scanned book at the BSB here.
  2. [2]Online at BNF here.

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