Phases of the Porta Maggiore

The Porta Maggiore is familiar today to many visitors to Rome from the view of its thick expressive plane from the elevated tracks of Stazione Termini. Constructed in the middle decades of the first century, the immediate context of the monument has changed many times, as the line of the aqueduct was fortified, its supply channels demolished, and even a new aqueduct cut through it under Sixtus V. This process culminated in its liberation by archaeologists in 1838, and the rediscovery of the Tomb of Eurysaces, with its elemental articulation of cylindrical shafts and circular openings. Constructed to carry a branch of the Claudian aqueduct and spanning the Via Prenestina and the Via Labicana as they approached the city, the Porta Maggiore creates a robust image of Roman architecture. Below the lengthy supplemented dedicatory inscription its architectural articulation is far from utilitarian, the exaggerated forms speaking both of the great engineering feat and a certain form of imperial beneficence. Massive rusticated arches span the roadways, while three aedicules with rusticated columns puncture through the massive piers.

The site prior to the building of the Claudian aqueduct with the Tomb of Eurysaces.
First century with the Claudian aqueduct.
C5 with the aqueduct forming part of the city wall and the building of a new gate.
C15 with the refortification of the gate.
C16 with the construction of the new aqueduct
C19/20 with the liberation of the monuments and the construction of tram tracks.

Archaeological reconstructions of the Porta Maggiore, Rome from Robert Coates-Stephens “Porta Maggiore: Monument and Landscape – Archaeology and topography of the southern Esquiline from the Late Republican period to the present” published by ³L¹ Erma² di Bretschneider Rome 2004

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