Via Cornelia

Via Cornelia is an ancient Roman Road that supposedly ran east–west along the northern wall of the Circus of Nero on land now covered by the southern wall of St. Peter's Basilica. The location is closely associated with the Via Aurelia and the Via Triumphalis.[1]


There is some belief amongst archeologists that the Via Cornelia did not exist and that the name is a mutilation of the name, Via Aurelia. This conjecture stems from the fact that the Via Cornelia is only mentioned in the itineraries and witnesses of the seventh and eighth centuries; for in those centuries the population of Rome decreased from approximately one and a half million to sixty thousand and, the people were impoverished and could hardly speak Latin well. These citizens also would have had no idea of the topography of the Imperial period. Contrary to these likely unfounded notations, well-authenticated documents from the fourth century state that Saint Peter was buried along the Via Triumphalis.[2]

An excavation in 1924 at the site of Pisidian Antioch discovered an inscribed stone dating from approximately 93 AD that offers strong evidence that the Via Cornelia had existed prior to the reign of Constantine. The inscription on the stone mentions a commander of the eighth Augustinian legion under Vespasian and Titus who had been a supervisor of the Via Aurelia and the Via Cornelia.[3]


Former generally accepted plan of Vatican topography, now the locations of Via Cornelia and Nero's Circus on this plan are known to be inaccurate

Formerly, it was erroneously, but generally accepted, that the southern walls of St. Peter's Basilica rested on the northern walls of Nero’s Circus, and that a street ran north of the circus under the basilica (see figure). Excavations of the basilica and surrounding area, however, have shown that this was not entirely correct. An excavation in 1936 in the Piazza San Pietro discovered traces of a road that may be the post-Constantinian Via Cornelia. A fragment of pre-Constantinian paved road along the same alignment also was found at the southwest corner of the basilica.

It is now believed that the Via Cornelia came from the east and ran west, gently rising near the present southernmost fountain in Saint Peter's Square. Slightly before this point the Via Aurelia forked off from it and headed southwest, while the Via Cornelia continued westward just south of façade of the basilica and eventual on toward Caere.

Via Triumphalis is believed to have come from Pons Neronis toward Saint Peter's Square, and then to have veered northwest toward the business section of Vatican City. The present day Via della Conciliazione follows approximately the same path as the Via Cornelia did.[4] In recent years the Vatican authorities reopened excavations of the Via Triumphalis necropolis that was first partially uncovered during the 1950s. The excavations have revealed an extensive ancient Roman cemetery.


It is possible that the Via Cornelia may have been built by Caligula to improve the approach to the imperial gardens, the Horti Agrippinae. Therefore, it may have formed the northern boundary of the gardens in Nero’s time. It also would have connected the Circus of Nero to the basilica and to a double row of mausoleums.[5]


  1. ^ O'Callaghan, Roger T. "Recent Excavations under the Vatican Crypts." The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 12, No.1.(Feb., 1949)
  2. ^ L. E. Hudec "Recent Excavations under St. Peter's Basilica in Rome." Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. 20, No. 1. (Jan., 1952)
  3. ^ Robinson, David M. "A New Latin Economic Edict from Pisidian Antioch" Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 55. (1924)
  4. ^ Townend, Gavind "Archaeological Notes: The Circus of Nero and the Vatican Excavations" American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 62, No. 2. (Apr., 1958)
  5. ^ J. M. C. Toynbee "The Shrine of St. Peter and Its Setting" Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 43. (1953)
Borgo (rione of Rome)

Borgo (sometimes called also I Borghi), is the 14th historic district (rione) of Rome, Italy. It lies on the west bank of the Tiber, within Municipio I, and it has a trapezoidal shape. Its coat of arms shows a lion (after the name "Leonine City", which was also given to the district), lying in front of three mounts and a star. These - together with a lion rampant - are also part of the coat of arms of Pope Sixtus V, who annexed Borgo as the 14th rione of Rome.

Borgo is bordered by Vatican City (Saint Peter's Square) to the west, the Tiber to the east, Prati to the north, the quartiere Aurelio to the southwest and Trastevere to the south.

The territory of the quarter includes a level part, which is made up of the Tiber's alluvial deposits, and a hilly zone, which coincides with the clay-laden slopes of the Vatican hill.

In administrative terms, the Borgo district became part of the Center (I Municipio) following city decree n.11 issued on 11 March 2013. Before then, it was part of the XVII Municipio, together with the rione of Prati (also moved to the I Municipio in March 2013) and the quartieri Trionfale and Della Vittoria (around Piazza Mazzini).

The main roads run east-west and are named Borghi rather than Vie (the noteworthy exception being the modern Via della Conciliazione).

Although heavily transformed during the first half of the 20th century, Borgo maintains its historical importance as a forecourt to Saint Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Palace.

Circus of Nero

Not to be confused with the older and larger Circus Maximus.

The Circus of Nero or Circus of Caligula was a circus in ancient Rome, located mostly in the present-day Vatican City.

Gaius Popilius Carus Pedo

Gaius Popilius Carus Pedo was a Roman senator who held several offices in the emperor's service during the second century. He was suffect consul in succession to Tiberius Licinius Cassius Cassianus as colleague of Sextus Cocceius Severianus Honorinus until the end of 147.His cognomen has been interpreted as indicating that Carus Pedo originated in one of the Western provinces of the Empire, although some experts favor an Italian origin. Ronald Syme counted 21 examples of the cognomen "Pedo" in the region of the western Alps, although his membership in the tribe "Quirina" precludes Gallia Narbonensis; however, Syme also counted 16 examples of the gentilicum Popilius in the Spanish provinces.

July 10 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

July 9 - Eastern Orthodox Church calendar - July 11

All fixed commemorations below are celebrated on July 23 by Old Calendar.For July 10th, Orthodox Churches on the Old Calendar commemorate the Saints listed on June 27.

List of ancient monuments in Rome

This is a list of ancient monuments from republican and imperial periods in the city of Rome, Italy.

Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum

Saints Marius, Martha, Audifax, and Abachum (died 270) were, according to their largely legendary passio of the 6th century, four saints of the same family (a husband, his wife, and their two sons). They came from Persia to Rome, and were martyred in 270 for sympathizing with Christian martyrs and burying their bodies. Some ancient martyrologies place the date of their death between 268 and 270, during the reign of Claudius II, although there was no persecution of Christians during this time.Their story relates how the family's assistance to Christians exposed them to persecution. They were seized and delivered to the judge Muscianus or Marcianus, who, unable to persuade them to abjure their faith, condemned them to various tortures. Despite the torture, the saints refused to abjure. Marius and his two sons were thus beheaded on the Via Cornelia, and their bodies were burnt. Martha meanwhile was killed at a place called in Nimpha or Nymphae Catabassi (later called Santa Ninfa), thirteen miles from Rome. Tradition states that Martha was cast into a well.

Pons Neronianus

The Pons Neronianus or Bridge of Nero was an ancient bridge in Rome built during the reign of the emperors Caligula or Nero to connect the western part of the Campus Martius with the Campus Vaticanus ("Vatican Fields"), where the Imperial Family owned land along the Via Cornelia.

Rufina and Secunda

Rufina and Secunda (died 257) were Roman virgin-martyrs and Christian saints. Their feast day is celebrated on 10 July.

Saint Peter's tomb

Saint Peter's tomb is a site under St. Peter's Basilica that includes several graves and a structure said by Vatican authorities to have been built to memorialize the location of Saint Peter's grave. St. Peter's tomb is near the west end of a complex of mausoleums that date between about AD 130 and AD 300. The complex was partially torn down and filled with earth to provide a foundation for the building of the first St. Peter's Basilica during the reign of Constantine I in about AD 330. Though many bones have been found at the site of the 2nd-century shrine, as the result of two campaigns of archaeological excavation, Pope Pius XII stated in December 1950 that none could be confirmed to be Saint Peter's with absolute certainty. Following the discovery of bones that had been transferred from a second tomb under the monument, on June 26, 1968, Pope Paul VI claimed that the relics of Saint Peter had been identified in a manner considered convincing.The grave claimed by the Church to be that of Saint Peter lies at the foot of the aedicula beneath the floor. The remains of four individuals and several farm animals were found in this grave. In 1953, after the initial archeological efforts had been completed, another set of bones were found that were said to have been removed without the archeologists' knowledge from a niche (loculus) in the north side of a wall (the graffiti wall) that abuts the red wall on the right of the aedicula. Subsequent testing indicated that these were the bones of a 60-70-year-old man. Margherita Guarducci argued that these were the remains of Saint Peter and that they had been moved into a niche in the graffiti wall from the grave under the aedicula "at the time of Constantine, after the peace of the church" (313). Antonio Ferrua, the archaeologist who headed the excavation that uncovered what is known as Saint Peter's Tomb, said that he wasn't convinced that the bones that were found were those of Saint Peter.The upper image shows the area of the lower floor of St. Peter's Basilica that lies above the site of Saint Peter's tomb. A portion of the aedicula that was part of Peter's tomb rose above level of this floor and was made into the Niche of the Pallium which can be seen in the center of the image.

St. Peter's Basilica

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), or simply St. Peter's Basilica (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom".Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, chief among Jesus's Apostles and also the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter's tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period, and there has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica, which would replace Old St. Peter's Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.St. Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage and for its liturgical functions. The Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's has many historical associations, with the Early Christian Church, the Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-reformation and numerous artists, especially Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. St. Peter's is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica, all four of which are in Rome. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral because it is not the seat of a bishop; the Cathedra of the Pope as Bishop of Rome is in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

Vatican City

Vatican City ( (listen)), officially Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano; Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae), is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty (1929), it is distinct from yet under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes). With an area of 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of about 1,000, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population.

The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the pope who is, religiously speaking, the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.

The Holy See dates back to early Christianity, and is the primate episcopal see of the Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion Catholics around the world distributed in the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. The independent Vatican City-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 11 February 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy.

Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs, fees for admission to museums, and sales of publications.

Vatican Necropolis

The Vatican Necropolis lies under the Vatican City, at depths varying between 5–12 metres below Saint Peter's Basilica. The Vatican sponsored archeological excavations (also known by their Italian name scavi) under Saint Peter's in the years 1940–1949 which revealed parts of a necropolis dating to Imperial times. The work was undertaken at the request of Pope Pius XI who wished to be buried as close as possible to Peter the Apostle. It is also home to the Tomb of the Julii, which has been dated to the third or fourth century. The necropolis was not originally one of the underground Catacombs of Rome, but an open air cemetery with tombs and mausolea.

The Vatican Necropolis is not to be confused with the Vatican grottoes, the latter of which resulted from the construction of St. Peter's Church and is located on the ground level of the old Constantinian basilica.

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