Friday, May 15, 2015



2 BC for Augustus (27 BC/14) near the Horti of Caesar (Gardens of Julius Caesar)

The area covered was 552 x 355 m (1,800 x 1,200 feet), about three times larger than the Colosseum
It was used for performances of naval battles that are commonly believed to have taken place in the Colosseum

If naval battles really took place in the Colosseum as reported by Martial and Cassius Dio, and suggested by some archaeological evidence, they must have lasted only for the few years before the construction of the large underground level under the floor of the arena

The main building where these shows would regularly take place was this one and, about 100 years later, the Vatican Naumachia, which maybe took the place of Augustus' Naumachia

No trace remains but the exact location is shown by the Forma Urbis (monumental map of Rome of the beginning of the third century AD) and by the discovery of a section of the aqueduct that used to fed the Naumachia, the Alsietino Aqueduct coming with underground conduits from the lakes of Bracciano and Martignano at a distance of 33 km (20.5 miles)

It was probably built just to fill up the Naumachia with water because water was not drinkable
In the Naumachia there was room for thirty ships among triremes and biremes (in the Colosseum three at the most) plus other smaller ships with 3,000 soldiers, not to mention thousands of rowers
At the center of the lake there was an artificial island

Here it was celebrated with naval battles the inauguration of the Temple of Mars Ultor in the Forum of Augustus

It is mind-blowing for our mentality today to think that 2,000 years ago the Romans had built a giant stadium and a 33 km aqueduct to fill it with water just because they loved to see men killing each other on boats

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