Model by André Caron, Maquettes Historiques

Welcome to the Viminal Hill[edit | edit source]

The Viminal (Collis Viminalis) was the smallest of the seven hills and was one of the last added to the city of Rome according to Eutropius' Compendius of Roman History. Both Eutropius and Livy indicate that Servius Tullius (the sixth king of Rome) was responsible for adding the Viminal to the City of Rome. In early times, it was a flat-topped, steep, and weathered spur which once served as a site for a Servian fortress.

Viminus is a cult title of Jupiter and some sources indicate that the Viminal was named for the presence of Jupiter Viminus on the hill. However, other sources state that it was called the Viminal because of the osiers (vimina) growing there. The majority of those who lived on the Viminal resided in insulae with various shops and the working space of artisans located at ground level with the upper floors reserved for apartments.

The baths of Diocletian were built at the foot of the hill, in an area traversed by the Vicus Patricius. When the Servian wall was built, the Viminal seems to have been regarded as reaching across the plateau as far as the line of the wall and the Porta Viminalis. Later, this district was included in the sixth region of Augustus. The Viminal was always the least important of the hills of the city and contained few monuments. For the most part, traffic passed on either side of it.

In the valley which lay between the Imperial Fora and the Quirinal, abutting on the Viminal, was the celebrated Subura [sometimes written Suburra]-- the quarter of shops, markets, and artificers,--a busy, noisy, vulgar section, not beautiful, but full of life and enterprise and wickedness.

If you want to experience the Subura, find an insula (apartment block) among some of its great streets - the Via Collis Viminalis; the Via Labicana, the Prata Flaminia (near the Flaminian Gate), or the Clivus Suburanus; watch out, though, the landlords here are the greediest in Rome! Then move in and become a Roman among Romans.

The origin of the name "Subura" is as hazy as the exact boundaries of the area, but this neighborhood lay to the east of the Forum Romanum in the hollow between the Oppian spur of the Esquiline Mount and the Viminal Hill. It was connected with the Forum by the famous street Argiletum and continued eastward between the Oppius and the Cispius by way of the Clivus Suburanus. The boundaries of the Subura ended near the Porta Esquilina or Esquiline Gate.

Another natural depression extended from the Subura northward between the Viminal and the Quirinal, and a third northeast between the Cispius and the Viminal that was marked by the vicus Patricius. The beginning of the Subura was called primae fauces and was situated perhaps near the Praefectura Urbana, just northeast of the Forum.

By the time of Julius Caesar or earlier, the Subura was one of the most characterful districts in Rome, notorious by references in Latin literature and in inscriptions. It was seething, noisy, dirty, and wet, a resort of harlots, of dealers in provisions and delicacies and finery, and of tradesmen of various sorts. Crowded, noisy, dirty, smelly, it was also full of little shops where the poorer people went for their eggs, cabbages, bread and the few bare necessities of life, which was all they could afford. There were also to be found many barbers, cobblers, ironmongers, and shops selling cheaper fabrics, all thronged by a jostling motley crowd among which were many slaves on errands for their masters and mistresses. There were also dwellings of more distinguished persons. Julius Caesar once lived there and the consul L. Arruntius Stella. But in general, it was low on the 'class' list for would-be social climbers. It is said that Caesar's contemporary, Marcus Licinius Crassus, used to wait for the inevitable fires in the Subura, race to the scene with his slaves, and bargain to buy the house while it still burned - and when he did so, had his slaves promptly put out the blaze! (for many centuries, Rome had no firefighting forces).

The Subura, the Sub Velia, and the Velabrum, built in the valleys, were choked up with tall houses in insulae (multi-story apartment blocks) sometimes as much as 70 feet high.

In the late Republic, as dispossed and ambitious Italians poured into the great city, the wealthy became increasingly attracted to the high, fresher air of the Roman hills. In particular, the Palatine and the Esquiline became the home of the wealthy, while the Subura remained for those who could afford no better.

Community Streets for Residents[edit | edit source]

01 - Clivus Cosconius
02 - Via Labicana
03 - Via Lata
04 - Vicus Aesculeti
05 - Vicus Bellonae
06 - Vicus Collis Viminalis
07 - Vicus Fanni
08 - Vicus Ianuclensis
09 - Vicus Longus
10 - Vicus Panispernae
11 - Vicus Patricius

Sites of Interest[edit | edit source]

  • Castra Praetoria Principia ~ This is the Military Command list for the Sodalitas Militarium of Nova Roma. It is a restricted list, open only to the officers of the Sodalitas Militarium.
  • Add an historic Roma site in this community or update an unfinished link above

Community Administration[edit | edit source]

Praefectus: vacant

The position of Praefectus (Prefect) of this community is currently vacant. The Praefectus position is a community administrator, responsible for updating, maintaining and overseeing of this community. Interested in becoming the Prefect of this community?

Contact: lucius_vitellius_triarius@yahoo. com


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