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AD SAXA RUBRA (Prima Porta) Italy.

A station on the Via Flaminia on the right bank of the Tiber 14.4 km from Rome. Here the Via Tiberina detaches itself from the Flaminia, and another road led off along the Cremera to Veii. The cliffs of red tufa, coming close to the river at this point, give the road passage strategic importance and this was the scene of Constantine's victory over the army of Maxentius in A.D. 312 (Aur. Vict. Caes. 40.23), shown in the frieze of the Arch of Constantine in Rome. Nearby, the villa of Livia called Ad Gallinas, famous for its breed of white chickens and for its laurel grove (Plin. HN 15.136), was discovered and explored as early as 1596. In 1867 was found the heroic cuirass statue of Augustus now in the Vatican (Braccio Nuovo). The villa occupied the height dominating the view down the Tiber valley to Rome, and its lands seem eventually to have extended even across the Tiber to Fidenae (NSc [1909] 434). Except for works of terracing, all that can be seen today are three vaulted subterranean rooms with reticulate and quasi-reticulate facing, from the largest of which (11.7 x 5.9 m) a fine decoration showing an illusionary garden was removed and is now in the Museo delle Terme. The vault above was covered with stucco reliefs of which only poor remains survive.

The name Prima Porta comes from an arch, thought to be of the time of Honorius, one of the brick-faced piers of which is built into the corner of the modern church.


G. Tomassetti, La campagna romana 3 (1913) 253-59; G. Lugli, BullComm 51 (1923) 26-46; T. Ashby, The Roman Campagna in Classical Times (1927) 248; M. M. Gabriel, Livia's Garden Room at Prima Porta (1955)I; H. Ingholt, “The Prima Porta Statue of Augustus,” Archaeology 22 (1969) 176-87, 304-18.


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