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‘New’ fragment of Forma Urbis Romae goes on display in Rome

A ‘new’ fragment of the Forma Urbis Romae which was found during recent works in the Palazzo Maffei Marescotti in Rome, a building which belongs to the Vatican, is to be displayed in the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome.

‘New’ fragment of Forma Urbis Romae goes on display in Rome
Part of the Forma Urbis Romae [Credit: Sebastià Giralt/Flickr]
The Forma Urbis Romae (or Forma Urbis Severiana/Severan Forma Urbis) is an ancient plan of the city of Rome, which is dated to AD 203-211.

About 200 fragments of the Forma are displayed on a map of ancient Rome at the Ara Pacis Museum.

The ‘new’ fragment has now been added to the map: it includes part of the plan of the Theatre of Marcellus and part of an inscription which completes the label for the Circus Flaminius.

The Forma Urbis Romae was commissioned by the emperor Septimius Severus and originally engraved on 150 marble slabs and fixed to a wall in the Temple of Peace (Forum of Vespasian) in Rome.

It would have been about 18 x 13 metres in size, or 235 square metres in area, and it represented over 13.5 million square metres of the city of ancient Rome, apparently at a scale of about 1:240, in plan.

‘New’ fragment of Forma Urbis Romae goes on display in Rome
The ‘new’ fragment, inscribed with the letters ‘CIR FLAMI’; The larger,
 joining fragment was one of those discovered in 1562
[Credit: Sovrintendenza Capitolina]
It would have been a detailed topographical record, showing public buildings, houses, shops and streets.

The first fragments of the Forma were discovered in 1562 and, since then, over a thousand further fragments have been recovered.

Of all the recovered fragments, only a couple of hundred have been identified and placed on the map of ancient Rome (about ten per cent of the original).

The surviving Forma is described as a unique view of ancient Rome. Read more about the Forma and a reconstruction project at:

The Circus Flaminius was a large open space in Rome where chariot races were presented, and not a structural arena like the Circus Maximus.

An incredible 3D video offers the chance to get a rare glimpse at one of the grandest city 
of the world at its peak (around AD 320). Speakers: Dr. Bernard Frischer 
and Dr. Steven Zucker [Credit: Khan Academy & Rome Reborn; 
Dr. Bernard Frischer]

It was established in 220 BC by public official C. Flaminius, to hold games for the entertainment of the plebeians of Rome.

The open space was gradually developed with temples and theatres.

The location of the Circus Flaminius within the city of Rome was only identified in 1960 by the rearranging of some of the fragments of the Forma!

There were five Roman circuses in Rome and a further two near Rome, ie the Circus Maximus, the Circus of Maxentius, the Circus Flaminius, the Vatican circus, and the circus near the Sessorian palace, with circuses at Arval and Bovillae outside the city.

Source: The Colchester Archaeologist [February 29, 2016]

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