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Rome: Servian Wall


The so-called Servian Wall near Stazione Termini, Rome (Italy). Photo Jona Lendering. Servian Wall: the city wall of ancient Rome, dating back to the second quarter of the fourth century BCE.

Although the ancient sources state that this wall was built by king Servius Tullius in the sixth century BCE, it is more plausible that it was in fact constructed after 375 VC. The stones, tufa from Veii, can not have been obtained before this city was captured, which happened in 396 VC. The largest surviving part of the wall is near Stazione Termini, which can be seen in the background of the first photo.

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Fragment of the Servian wall under the Central Station of Rome. Photo Jona Lendering.
The second photo shows a small fragment of the Servian Wall, which can be seen below Stazione Termini. The building project was an enormous and expensive construction. According to the historian Livy, many people had to make debts. This aggravated an already existing conflict between the rich and the poor, and resulted in political changes: the aristocratic political elite had to make the consulship accessible for plebeians.
Fragment of the Servian wall. Piazza Magnanapoli. Photo Jona Lendering. The third photo shows another fragment of the Servian Wall; it can be seen at the Piazza Magnanapoli (satellite photo).
Fragment of the Servian wall near the Arch of Gallienus. Photo Jona Lendering. The fourth photo shows the fragment of the Servian Wall that can be seen near the Arch of Gallienus, which is, like the Arch of Dolabella and Porta Capena in fact a former gate of the Servian wall.
During the civil wars, the wall was improved with catapult batteries, but after the age of Julius Caesar, it fell into disrepair. The old gates, however, remained important landmarks.

The last photo shows a cross-section of the Servian Wall on the Aventine, along the Via Sant' Anselmo, close to the Piazza Albania.

A satellite photo of the part near Stazione Termini can be found here.
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2003
Revision: 13 Dec. 2008
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