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Discovering Roman Roads

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GLOSSARY

 

acropolis

A fortified part of the Grek city in ancient time.

aedicula

An alcove girded by columns, pillars and a gable.

age of the Bourbons

Historical period of the Kingdom of Naples under the rule of the French Bourbons family (1735-1860).

amphitheatre

An elliptical building with rising tiers of seats ranged about an open space used especially for contests and spectacles.

augustan age

Roman historical period that started on 16 January 27 b.c with the raising as imperator with the title of Augustus of Octavian (63 BC - AD 14) (Julius Cesar's nephew Octavius).

aurunca

Of the Aurunci, ancient population of the Southern Latium at war with Romans from VIth century BC and defeated for good in 340 BC.

badlands

A barren area in which soft rock layers have eroded into unusual forms.

bossage front

External surface of a wall built with square blocks of stone projecting from the wall in which they are inserted (see Palazzo Pitti in Florence).

bocage (F)

Agricultural land very fragmented into small fields, woods, marshes but always enclosed by hedges.

bossage front

External surface of a wall built with square blocks of stone projecting from the wall in which they are inserted (see Palazzo Pitti in Florence).

capitolium

Type of etruscan-roman temple with three cells gods dedicated.

cardo maximus

Main street, oriented North-South (orthogonal to the decumanus maximus) in a roman town or fort.

Carolingian times

Historical period of the Europe under the rule of the French Carolingian family (751-1002).

castelliere

Small proto-historic fortified borough (bronze age and iron age) usually built in high position and easily defendable.

Caudini

Campania ancient population based on Caudium, today Montesarchio.

centuriation (1)

Agrarian subdivision system undertaken by land surveyors with a view to distribute land to Roman citizens when they were sent as settlers to conquered territories or allotted to them without the establishment of a new autonomous community. This subdivision occurred through tracing a series of alignments called limites, perpendicular to each other, which depending on their orientation with respect to the land surveyor responsible for the subdivision, were called "cardines".

Church State or Pontifical State

Territories governed directly by a Pope (732-1870) prior to Italian Unity.

cippus

A boundary-stone or tombstone.

civitas

Urban roman built up area of medium size.

columbarium

Burial room with niches arranged in the walls.

concrete

Building material made by mixing cement with sand, grave, etc.

crepidine

Pavement.

cryptoportico

A vaulted, generally closed underground corridor. Romans built vaulted cryptoporticus in particular at the side of gardens to create a sheltered passage with constant temperature between various parts of a building.

decennovius

19 Roman miles long segment (28 Km) of the via Appia between Borgo Faiti and Terracina and of the adjacent roman drainage canal.

decumanus maximus

Main street oriented East-West (orthogonal to the cardo maximus) in a roman town or fort.

embankment

Wall or mound of earth, stone, etc. to support a raised road.

epitaph

Monumental inscription.

exedra

A semicircular enlargement of basilicas, fora and spaces girded with colonnades.

forum

Large monumental square surrounded by public buildings, centre of the roman civil life.

gravina (canyon)

Deep ravine with steep inner sides.

itineraries

Diagrammatic maps listing stations on routes (Antonine Itinerary, Vicarello vessels).

Kingdom of Naples

Ancient State before the Unity of Italy (1282-1860).

limes

A road borderland. Originally the military road running along the border, later on, the continental frontier of the Empire.

mansio (1)

An inn also offering accomodation generally located at intervals equal to day’s journey. The inn served food, provided accommodation and public mail service; it could vary in size and sometimes provide spacious courtyards, thermal spaces, stables and small worship buildings.

mausoleum

A monumental sepulchral edifice following eastern burial customs. Originally, the sepulchral monument of Mausolo, the satrap of Halicarnassos and his wife, Artemisia.

messapic

Derived from the ancient population from Puglia which immigrated from Illiria around 1000 BC and finally became Roman in 88 BC.

middle age

Historical period from the 5th century to XVIth century.

milestone (1)

Stone setup at the side of a road showing distances from Rome; at the time of the Republic the stone would also carry the names of the consuls or of the high ranking judges in charge of the construction and maintenance of the road whereas at the time of the Empire it the name and title of the Emperors builders of the roads that is reported.

motta

Terrapieno artificiale a forma tronco-conica adatto a sorvegliare militarmente un territorio in epoca medievale.

mutatio (1)

A horse-changing station usually located every 5 to 9 roman miles (12 to 22 Km). It was used as support to the mansio and was considered its subordinate with a ratio of 6 to 8 mutationes for every stretch of road included between two mansiones. It served in particular to change horses and could also include stables (stabula), shops (horrea) and inns for passers-by.

niche

Hole in a walls' depth, generally of half cylindrical shape, vertical and ending at the top with a quarter sphere meant to carry a statue.

opus

In Roman architecture the collective noun designating masonry and stone-work types:

- opus incertum

  A randomly built, irregular stone wall with polygonal blocks of stones fitting close together by the
  angles (from ancient Palasgians technics - people who occupied Greece in pre-hellenic time).

- opus reticulatum (1)

  "opus caementicium" masonry (mural nucleus of broken stone slabs, sand and lime) made of small
  blocks of stones of uniform pattern of pyramidal shape (cubilia) with square stone base in the
  frontage; the sides of the cubilia are directed diagonally by 45 compared with the horizontal
  plane. This type of wall was common from the half of the first century BC until the time of the
  Antonini emperors.

- opus signinum (1)

  Concrete floor with crushed brick or stone finish, generally of reddish colour; being waterproof it
  was used in particular for baths and tanks.

- opus spicatum (1)

  A herringbone wall made of small bricks arranged edgewise; it was particularly used for courtyards,
  terraces and warehouses.

Paladin

Brave and honest protector at the court of Charlemagne, giving rise to the legend of the Paladins protectors of the faith against the unfaithful of Spain (the most famous was Orlando).

passus

Length measurement unit equal to 5 foot (5 x 0,296 = 1,482 m).

peucetics

From the ancient Peucezia population, an area of the Puglia region located between the towns of Bari and Brindisi which migrated from Illiria.

Peutinger Map.

It is a medieval copy of a pictorial map depicting the Roman road network in the Imperial period that the scholar Konrad Peutinger inherited in the 15th century.

It looks like a roll of 680 x 42 cm on which are drawn the stretches and distances between the cities; it is kept in the Hofbibliothek in Vienna.

pillar

An upright support for a superstructure.

pretoria gate

Door to the Pretorians’ camp.

portico

Covered colonnade.

republican age

Historical period starting in 510 BC and ending with the proclamation of Octavian as first imperator, on 16 January 27 BC.

Roman Empire age

Historical roman period starting on 16 January 27 BC with the proclamation of Octavian as first imperator and Augustus, ending in AD 476 in the West and in AD 1453 in the East.

roman mile

Roman measure of distance equal to 1000 roman passus (1482 m); changes in the course of time and throughout the territories of the Roman Empire.

roman foot

Roman length measurement unit equal to the Attic foot of 0,296 m. The model was kept in Giunone Moneta's Temple.

quadriporticus

An inner four-sided portico, covered with arches supported by pillars and columns.

Samnites

Population of warriors originally from the Sabine which lived in the Sannio area (inner mountainous areas of central Italy). After three wars with the Romans from IV century b.c they were defeated for good in the year 82 BC.

Sanctuary

The most important hallowed space of temples.

side-line

Side track which branches off from the main road.

substruction

Underground structure to uphold an overhanging building. Used in particular to create an horizontal level in case of gradient ground.

statio (1)

Generic term meaning a place to stop.

theatrum

An open semicircular building with rising tiers of seats used especially for music or prose. Greek and Roman theatres were in open air, with semicircular tier of seats.

towingpath

Towing of a boat parallel to the embankment. River transport system used when moving against the stream.

tumulus

Little mount of artificial soil of conical shape put over a tomb.

vocable

Name given to a country area with few or no inhabitants.


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Note 1

Free translated from : L. Gambaro, Glossario, in Vie romane in Liguria, a c. di R. Luccardini, Genova, 2001, pp.219-224.


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