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wall of Servius


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The city‐wall of republican Rome, traditionally assigned to Servius Tullius (see rex), actually belongs to 378 bc. It is of tufa, 4.5 m. (15 ft.) thick and at least 8.5 m. (28 ft.) high. The masons' marks, with Hellenistic affinities, suggest Greek contractors. The wall was some 11 km. (7 mi.) long, and its course, dictated by contours, enclosed an irregular area, estimated at 426 ha. (1,052 acres), and embracing the Quirinal, Viminal, Oppian, Caelian (see caelius mons), Aventine, and fortified Capitoline hills (see capitol). The names of the gates are well known, but the location of some is debated and their structure is uncertain. In the 2nd cent. the wall was heightened to some 16 m. (52 ft.), and was also supplied with casemates for ballistae (see artillery), covering approaches to the gates. During the 1st cent. bc neglect and encroachment made the course hard to find in places even by Augustus' time, though elsewhere it remained visible, and one or two substantial sections are still standing.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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