HOME

TheInfoList




The pomerium or pomoerium was a religious boundary around the city of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
and cities controlled by Rome. In legal terms, Rome existed only within its ''pomerium''; everything beyond it was simply territory (''
ager Ager or AGER may refer to: *Ager (surname) *Ager (river), a river in Upper Austria *Àger, a municipality in Catalonia, Spain *Viscounty of Àger, a medieval Catalan jurisdiction that branched off the County of Urgell *Ager, California, unincorpor ...
'') belonging to Rome.


Name

The term ''pōmērium'' is a
classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
contraction of the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
phrase ', literally "behind/beyond the wall". The Roman historian
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a historian. He wrote a monumental history of and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional founding in 753 BC th ...
writes in his ''
Ab Urbe Condita 300px, Antoninianus of Pacatianus, Roman usurper, usurper of Roman emperor Philip the Arab, Philip in 248. It reads ''ROMAE AETERANMIL ESIMOET PRIMO'', 'To eternal Rome, in its one thousand and first year.' ''Ab urbe condita'' ( ...
'' that, although the etymology implies a meaning referring to a single side of the wall, the pomerium was originally an area of ground on both sides of city walls. He states that it was an
Etruscan__NOTOC__ Etruscan may refer to: Ancient civilisation *The Etruscan language, an extinct language in ancient Italy *Something derived from or related to the Etruscan civilization **Etruscan architecture **Etruscan art **Etruscan cities **Etruscan ...
tradition to consecrate this area by
augur An augur was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious ...

augur
y and that it was technically unlawful to inhabit or to farm the area of the pomerium, which in part had the purpose of preventing buildings from being erected close to the wall (although he writes that, in his time, houses were in fact built against the wall on the line). Other writers suggest a derivation from , "against the wall."


Location and extensions

Tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious ...

Tradition
maintained that the pomerium was the original line ploughed by
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary foundation of Rome, founder and King of Rome, first king of Ancient Rome, Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus ...
around the walls of the original city, and that it was inaugurated by
Servius Tullius Servius Tullius was the legendary sixth king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Historically, the two d ...
. The legendary date of its demarcation, 21 April, continued to be celebrated as the anniversary of the city's founding. The pomerium did not follow the line of the
Servian walls The Servian Wall ( la, Murus Servii Tullii; it, Mura Serviane) was an ancient Roman defensive barrier constructed around the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus ...
, and remained unchanged until the
Dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the c ...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history, and became the first man of Rom ...

Lucius Cornelius Sulla
, in a demonstration of his absolute power, expanded it in 80 BC. Several white marker stones (known as ''
cippi A (plural: ''cippi''; "pointed pole") is a low, round or rectangular pedestal set up by the Ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in ...
'') commissioned by
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
have been found ''in situ'' and several have been found away from their original location. These stones mark the boundaries and relative dimensions of the pomerium extension by Claudius. This extension is recorded in
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
and outlined by
Aulus Gellius Aulus Gellius (c. 125after 180 AD) was a Roman author and grammarian, who was probably born and certainly brought up in Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map ...
. The latest pomerial stone from the reign of Claudius has been discovered on 17 June 2021 in the vicinity of the
Mausoleum of Augustus Cinerary urn of Agrippina which now rests in the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Capitoline Museums near the Tabularium. The Mausoleum of Augustus ( it, Mausoleo di Augusto) is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC on the Cam ...

Mausoleum of Augustus
The pomerium was not a walled area (unlike the Chinese
Forbidden City The Forbidden City () is a Chinese palace, palace complex in Dongcheng District, Beijing, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, at the center of the Imperial City, Beijing, Imperial City of Beijing. It is surrounded by numerous opulent imperial g ...

Forbidden City
), but rather a legally and religiously defined one marked by ''
cippi A (plural: ''cippi''; "pointed pole") is a low, round or rectangular pedestal set up by the Ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in ...
''. It encompassed neither the entire metropolitan area nor even all the Seven Hills (the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the seven hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber ...

Palatine Hill
was within the ''pomerium'', but the
Capitoline and the Servian Wall The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Roman Forum, Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome, Seven Hills of Rome. The hill was earlier known ...
and Aventine Hills were not). The
Curia Hostilia The Curia Hostilia was one of the original senate houses or "curia Curia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ar ...
and the well of the
Comitium The Comitium ( it, Comizio) was the original open-air public meeting space of Ancient Rome, and had major religious and prophetic significance. The name comes from the Latin word for "assembly". The Comitium location at the northwest corner of the ...

Comitium
in the
Forum Romanum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throug ...

Forum Romanum
, two extremely important locations in the government of the
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
and its empire, were located within the pomerium. The Temple of Bellona was beyond the pomerium.


Associated restrictions

*The
magistrates The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In ancient Rome, a ''Roman magistrate, magistratus'' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and posse ...
who held
imperium In ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A histori ...

imperium
did not have full power inside the pomerium. They could have a citizen beaten, but not sentenced to death. This was symbolised by removing the axes from the
fasces Fasces ( ; ; a ', from the word ', meaning "bundle"; it, fascio littorio) is a bound bundle of wooden rods, sometimes including an axe (occasionally two axes) with its blade emerging. The fasces is an Italian symbol that had its origin in the a ...

fasces
carried by the magistrate's
lictor A lictor (possibly from la, ligare, "to bind") was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *'' ...

lictor
s. Only a dictator's lictors could carry fasces containing axes inside the pomerium. *It was forbidden to bury the dead inside the pomerium. During his life,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
received in advance the right to a tomb inside the pomerium, but his ashes were actually placed in his family tomb. However,
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Trajan
's ashes were interred after his death in AD 117 at the foot of his
Column A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression (physical), compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is ...

Column
,''
Epitome de Caesaribus The ''Epitome de Caesaribus'' is a Latin historical work written at the end of the 4th century. It is a brief account of the reigns of the Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Emp ...
'
13.11
Eutropiusbr>8.5
which was within the pomerium. *Provincial
promagistrates In ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roma ...
and generals were forbidden from entering the pomerium, and resigned their imperium immediately upon crossing it (as it was the superlative form of the ban on armies entering Italy). Ceremonies of triumph, in which an army would march through the city in celebration of a victory, were an exception to this rule, although a general could only enter the city on the very day of his triumph, and would be required to wait outside the pomerium with his troops until that moment. Under the Republic, soldiers also lost their status when entering, becoming citizens: thus soldiers at their general's triumph wore civilian dress. The ''Comitia Centuriata'', one of the
Roman assemblies The Roman Assemblies were institutions in ancient Rome. They functioned as the machinery of the Roman legislative branch, and thus (theoretically at least) passed all legislation. Since the assemblies operated on the basis of a direct democracy, ord ...
, consisting of
centuria ''Centuria'' (, plural ''centuriae'') is a Latin term (from the stem ''centum'' meaning one hundred) denoting military units originally consisting of 100 men. The size of the century changed over time, and from the first century BC through most o ...
e (voting units, but originally military formations within the legions), was required to meet on the
Campus Martius 300px, The Pantheon, a landmark of the Campus Martius since ancient Rome. The Campus Martius (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally ...

Campus Martius
outside the pomerium. Similarly to the triumph the roman
ovation The ovation ( la, ovatio from ''ovare'': to rejoice) was a form of the Roman triumph. Ovations were granted when war was not declared between enemies on the level of nations or states; when an enemy was considered basely inferior (e.g., slaves, p ...

ovation
also allowed a general to cross the pomerium without losing rank, but generally he could not bring his soldiers and had to enter on foot rather than on a chariot led by white horses *The
Theatre of Pompey The Theatre of Pompey ( la, Theatrum Pompeii, it, Teatro di Pompeo) was a structure in Ancient Rome built during the latter part of the Roman Republican era by Pompey the Great (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus). Completed in 55BC, it was the first perman ...
, where Julius Caesar was murdered, was outside the pomerium and included a chamber where the Senate could meet allowing the attendance of any senators who were forbidden to cross the pomerium and thus would not have been able to meet in the
Curia Hostilia The Curia Hostilia was one of the original senate houses or "curia Curia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ar ...
. *Weapons were prohibited inside the pomerium.
Praetorian guards The Praetorian Guard (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to b ...
were allowed in only in civilian dress (toga), and were then called collectively ''cohors togata''. But it was possible to sneak in daggers (the proverbial weapon for political violence; see ''
sica The sica was a short sword or large dagger of ancient Thracians, Dacians and Illyrians, used in Ancient Rome too, originating in the Halstatt culture. It was originally depicted as a curved sword (see the Zliten mosaic as well as numerous oil lam ...

sica
rius''). Since Julius Caesar's assassination occurred outside this boundary, the senatorial conspirators could not be charged with sacrilege for carrying weapons inside the sacred city.


See also

*
Roma quadrataRoma quadrata (Latin, "Square Rome") was an area, or perhaps a structure, within the original pomerium of the ancient city of Rome, probably the Palatine Hill with its Palatium and Cermalus peaks and its slopes. It apparently dated to the earliest ...


References


External links


Samuel Ball Platner, ''A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome''
Pomerium

Pomoerium

Alternate etymology: pro-murium {{Authority control Topography of the ancient city of Rome
Roman law {{CatAutoTOC, numerals=no Law in ancient history Ancient Rome, Law Indo-European law, Roman Law by former country ...
Ancient Roman architecture