in its primary sense, is synonymous with ARCUS
90), but more commonly implies an arched vault, constituting both roof and
ceiling to the apartment which it encloses (Cic.
, § 22).
From the roof alone, the same word came to signify the chamber itself, in
which sense it designates a long narrow vault, covered by an arch of brick
or masonry (tectum fornicatum),
those which occupy the ground-floors of some modern Roman palaces. Three
such cells are represented in the annexed woodcut, from the remains of a
villa at Mola di Gaeta, which [p. 1.874]
passes for the
Formian Villa of Cicero. They are covered internally with a coating of
Fornices, vaults. (From a villa at Mola di Gaeta.)
tastily ornamented, and painted in streaks of azure, pink, and
Being small and dark, and situated upon the level of the street, these vaults
were occupied by prostitutes (Hor. Sat.
30; Juv. Sat.
3.156, 10.239, 11.171; compare
Suet. Jul. 49
), whence comes the meaning
of the word fornicatio
in the ecclesiastical
writers, and its English derivative.
A detached triumphal arch, like those of Titus, Sept. Severus, and
Constantine, is never called fornix,
but the former name is
applied to ornamental or honorary arches spanning a street, and connected
with the adjacent buildings. The two oldest were erected, one in the Forum
Boarium and the other in the Circus Maximus, and adorned with trophies by L.
Stertinius, who did not even ask for a triumph, B.C. 196 (Liv. 33.27
); the next on the slope of the Capitol
by Scipio Africanus, B.C. 190 (Liv. 37.3
most frequently mentioned is the fornix
on the Sacra Via
just where it begins to ascend towards the Arch of Titus (Cic. de Or. 2.6. 6
§ 267; Act. i. in Verr.
7.17); on some slight remains of it discovered in modern
times, cf. Middleton, Anc. Rome in
1885, p. 207. The fine
arch pierced in the wall of the Forum of Augustus (Middleton, p. 258), and
now called Arco de' Pantani,
is of this description, as is
also the archway which forms one of the entrances to the Forum at Pompeii. A
street in Rome which led to the Campus Martius was called Via Fornicata
), probably on account of the
ornamental arches built across it.
Fornix is also a sallyport in the walls (Liv.
; cf. 44.11); one of the towers of Pompeii, figured by Rich, s.
v. Fornix, has such an arch at the foot of it.