Gamucci’s images of the Septizonium; the Temple of the Sun; the Arch of Claudius; and the obelisk and Vatican Rotunda

Ste. Trombetti has continued to search through early books and prints for images of vanished Rome.  Here is another example, from the 1565 work Dell’Antichita di Roma by Bernardo Gamucci.[1]  It depicts the remains of the monumental facade that Septimius Severus built across the end of the Palatine hill facing the Appian Way.  Behind it we can see the Arch of Constantine, behind which stands the Colosseum.  Known as the Septizonium, it was clearly falling down, and was shortly afterwards taken down for its materials.
Septizonium_b_gammuci_1565_p82

Further on in the same volume, on p.123, we find a depiction of part of the “Temple of the Sun” or “House of Nero” on the Quirinal, which was most probably actually a temple of Serapis:

temple_of_sun_house_nero_gamucci_1565

On p.151 is an image of the “Arch of Domitian”, which the text says may be the Arch of Claudius.  This is also a long-demolished item, of which I have never seen any drawings.  Does anybody know?

Arch of Domitian (or Claudius). Gamucci, 1565.
Arch of Domitian (or Claudius). Gamucci, 1565.

On page 195 there is a marvellous drawing made of the south side of St Peter’s; mostly Old St Peter’s, but with the new church rising in the distance.  In front of us is the obelisk that now stands in St Peter’s square, but then stood, still, in its original position.  Behind it stands a circular 3rd century tomb, the Vatican Rotunda, long since converted into a chapel of St Andrew.

Obelisk and Vatican Rotunda, on the south side of Old St Peter's in Rome. Gamucci, 1565.
Obelisk and Vatican Rotunda, on the south side of Old St Peter’s in Rome. Gamucci, 1565.

  1. [1]B. Gamucci, Libri quattro dell’antichità della Citta di Roma: raccolte sotto breuita da diversi antichi et moderni scrittori, Venice: G. Varisco &c, 1565. Online at Google books here, or in better quality at Heidelberg here.

2 thoughts on “Gamucci’s images of the Septizonium; the Temple of the Sun; the Arch of Claudius; and the obelisk and Vatican Rotunda

  1. The arch of Claudius is in reality what became known as the Arch of Portugal which was demolished in the XVII century and was across via del Corso, attached to Palazzo Fiano, then the residence of the Portugal ambassador. There are some other drawings, one of them by Piranesi, which are very similar to the drawing by Dosio. The position of the arch in the image by Dosio, across a straight roAd like the Corso, reinforces the identification. It is not definitely known who built the arch, but Piranesi attribute it to Marcus Aurelius. One of the two bas reliefs, the one on the right of the gate, and representing Hadrian and his wife Sabina, is now in the Capitoline Museum in Rome.
    Luca Fusi.

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