Platner, Samuel Ball; Ashby, Thomas
A topographical dictionary of ancient Rome — Oxford: Univ. Press [u.a.], 1929

Page: 323
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MACELLUM MAGNUM—MAGNA MATER

323

indications ruins have been found just outside the porta Esquilina, north
of the road, which may well have been those of this macellum. They
consist of an open court, 80 by 25 metres, built of brick and opus reticu-
latum, and parallel with the line of the Servian wall. This was sur-
rounded with porticus and shops for various kinds of wares. The southern
part of this area seems to have been encroached upon by private dwellings
as early as the third century (BC 1874, 36, 212-219 ; 1914, 363 ; Mon. L.
i. 531 ; HJ 344 ; LS iii. 167).
Macellum Magnum : the market house on the Caelian (Not. Reg. II; CIL
vi. 1648, 9183) which Nero built and dedicated in 59 a.d. (Cass. Dio lxii.
18), perhaps on the site of the present church of S. Stefano Rotondo.
It is represented on coins of the period (Cohen, Nero 126-130 ; BM. Nero
191-197, 335-337) as a circular building of two stories, with a central
tholos or domed structure surrounded by colonnades. This is generally
thought to have been destroyed at some later date and rebuilt at the
end of the fourth century for public use, perhaps again as a market.1
It was transformed into the church of S. Stefano by Bope Simplicius
(468-482), and restored with various changes by Theodore I (642-649) and
Nicolas V (1453). Of the building of Nero the only remaining portions
are the travertine foundations, part of the enclosure wall, and eight
pilasters of the outer colonnade, but the fourth century structure was
built on the original foundations and appears to have preserved in general
the form of the original. It consisted of a two-storied circular colonnade,
of twenty-two columns, which supported a domed roof. This was
surrounded by an outer concentric colonnade of thirty-six columns, also
two stories high. Outside of this was an ambulatory 10 metres wide,
divided into eight segments by rows of columns (JRS 1919, 179). The
alternate segments had no outer wall and therefore resembled open
courts. The original circular building of Nero was enclosed by a rect-
angular porticus,2 containing shops, of which remains were perhaps still
to be seen in the sixteenth century (Mon. d. Lin. i. 503-507 ; Mitt. 1892,
297-299; HJ 237-238; HCI1474; DAB 2. ix. 412-414 ; BC 1914, 358;
Altm. 75-76; LR 355-359).
Magna Mater, sacellum (?) : annually, on 27th March, the sacred black
stone of the Magna Mater was brought from her temple on the Palatine
(q.v.) to the brook Almo, the modern Acquataccio, where this crossed
the via Appia south of the porta Capena, for the ceremony of lavatio.
Although there are numerous references to this ceremony, there is no
evidence for the existence of any kind of sacred edifice, and there was
1 Lugli (ZA 147) follows Profumo’s idea (Incendio Neroniano, 673-694) that the original
circular building was the famous coenatio rotunda of the Domus Aurea (q.v.) ; but this
has nothing to recommend it. Rivoira (RA 79-81) was unable to see anything above
ground that showed the remotest indication of work of the time of Nero.
2 The discovery of remains of the Castra Peregrina only 15 metres from the outer circle
renders this supposition somewhat difficult (JRS 1923, 162-163).
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