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Monumental inscription and rare mosaic found at Roman Baths of Aquinum


A monumental inscription and a mosaic of a rhinoceros were discovered during the 8th excavation season carried out by the University of Salento at the bath-complex (thermae) of the Roman colony of Aquinum (Castrocielo) in Italy's central Lazio region where more than 70 rooms (ambienti) have already been excavated.

Monumental inscription and rare mosaic found at Roman Baths of Aquinum
The inscription of Marcus Veccius [Credit Antonio Mariozzi]
The monumental inscription, more than 9 metres in length and written in two lines, celebrates Marcus Veccius, a supreme magistrate of Aquinum, who built the entire bath-complex at his own expense in the 1st century AD.

The text of the inscription:

M VECCIVS M F IIVIR QVINQ ITER BALNEVM VIRILE ET MVLIEBR CRYPTAM PALAESTR ORNAMENTA DE SUA PECVNIA FACIVNDA CVRAVIT

Translation:

M Veccius (M.F. = MARCI FILIUS : "son of Marcus") as supreme magistrate (IIVIR= Duumvir) five times (QUINQ) the baths for men and women (BALNEUM VIRILE ET MULIEBR), the vaults (CRYPTA) and the ornaments (ORNAMENTA) of the gymnasium (PALAESTR) built at his own expense (SUA PECVNIA FACIVNDA CVRAVIT).

Monumental inscription and rare mosaic found at Roman Baths of Aquinum
Mosaic of Rhinoceros [Credit: Paola Giglio]
Along with the inscription a precious and rare mosaic depicting a rhinoceros was also discovered, one of only a few found in Italy to date.

Monumental inscription and rare mosaic found at Roman Baths of Aquinum
Head of Germanicus in situ [Credit: Paola Giglio]
A marble head believed to depict Germanicus, the adopted son of Tiberius, was also unearthed, along with many impressive columns belonging to the bath-complex and a marble 'trapezophorum' or table support carved with a lion's head.

Monumental inscription and rare mosaic found at Roman Baths of Aquinum
Columns belonging to the bath-complex [Credit: Massimo Dieciorsi Meridio]
Monumental inscription and rare mosaic found at Roman Baths of Aquinum
Marble trapezophorum (table support) with lion head and paw (missing) 
[Credit: Massimo Dieciorsi Meridio]
According to professor Giuseppe Ceraudo of the University of Salento the ‘thermae’ of the flourishing Roman colony of Aquinum, described by Cicero in his Second Philippic as ‘frequens municipium’ for its nearly 40,000 inhabitants, is the second most extensive Roman thermal complex found in Italy to date, second only to the baths of Rome. The complex covers a huge archaeological area that has still not been completely excavated.

Monumental inscription and rare mosaic found at Roman Baths of Aquinum
General view of the thermai at Aquinum [Credit: Massimo Dieciorsi Meridio]
The Roman town of Aquinum, rich in opulent buildings and temples, where the poet Juvenal (known for his ‘Satires’) was born, was devastated and looted by the Lombards at the end of 6th century AD, and lay abandoned during the Medieval Age.

For more information see the Aquinum Facebook Page

Source: Il Corriere [October 06, 2016]
TANN

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