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ARIMINUM (Rimini) Forli, Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

On the Adriatic coast half way between Ancona and Ravenna and between the Ariminus (Marecchia) and the Aprusa (Ausa) rivers. According to Strabo it was first an Umbrian colony, then in 268 B.C. a Latin colony, recolonized under Augustus. In the 3d c. B.C. Ariminum, with Arretium, was a stronghold in the line of defense against the Gauls in the Padana plain. It was the terminal point of the Via Flaminia, and later also of the Via Aemilia and the Via Popilia, making the city a port of notable size at the mouth of the Ariminus. Ariminum followed the party of Marians, and as a consequence was damaged and depressed by the Sullans. The site was of great strategic importance in the 2d c. B.C., and later was Caesar's point of departure for the civil war. It was the temporary headquarters of Augustus during the Illyrian wars, and was later variously involved in the events of the 3d-4th c. A.D., and in the Gothic war at the time of Justinian. Ariminum was a component of the Adriatic pentarchy. It was the seat of a bishopric at least from the 4th c., and in A.D. 359 was also the seat of a council.

The principal monuments are an arch of Augustus, a bridge of Tiberius, and an amphitheater. At either side of the arch stretches of the walls remain and bases of towers contemporary with the first colonization, both in polygonal work of local stone. Of the new circuit wall constructed in the time of Sulla in opera quadrata, there remains the S gate with two arches, which has since been reconstructed in another position. Several funerary monuments found along the Via Flaminia complete the Republican remains at Ariminum, made more understandable today by the discovery of ceramic workshops contemporary with the first colonial city plan. The arch, which dates from 27 B.C., was substituted for the E gate, and is the monument commemorating the roadbuilding policies of Augustus. It is a single span framed by the Corinthian order in Classical style, and is the oldest preserved monument of this type. It bears four shields with images of divinities inspired by the ideology of the period after the battle of Actium. The bridge of Tiberius, from A.D. 14, is an imposing work with decoratibn and inscription which indicate its sacred nature. The amphitheater, probably Hadrianic, in the NE part of the city near the large ancient port, has a single row of arches. It was in rubble concrete revetted with brick, and with pilasters in the Tuscan order.

The city was orthogonal in plan except in the SE sector, but the outline of the walls was semicircular, conforming to the concavity of the land. The grid of streets is almost entirely preserved in the modern streets, with the forum at the intersection of the principal axes. In the Imperial age a block adjacent to the forum held the theater. The cardo led to the port and was originally the principal road of the city. Later, following the junction of the Via Flaminia with the Via Aemilia, the most heavily used artery became and remained the decumanus. The port was gradually moved as the course of the river changed with time, and as a consequence a second forum was built to the W in late antiquity in the area that became the center of life in the mediaeval period.

Excavations in the last ten years have documented the life and activity of the urban center during the first colonial age and have also brought to light an important phase of late antiquity. The latter is linked with a period of impressive rebuilding, especially in the private sector. Large homes contained polychrome mosaic pavements featuring geometric and figured designs of great variety and size, and showing a notable level of artistic achievement. The plans of private buildings from the late and middle Imperial age are also shown by recent excavation to be outstanding and complex. Evidence is scarce concerning the city's economic life, with the exception of the ceramic workshops located in the S and W suburbs and a private horreum mentioned in an inscription and perhaps located near the ancient port. The entrance to this is now buried and unrecognizable. A suburb beyond the Marecchia, and included within the mediaeval walls, is perhaps of ancient origin. Necropoleis have been recognized to the S and E, but little is known of them. In the E burial area the first Christian ecclesiastical building was constructed. The territory to the NW shows traces of a centuriation oriented secundum caelum, and considered to be very ancient. There were numerous inhabited centers in the territory around Ariminum, and from mediaeval documents it appears that the land was farmed throughout the entire ancient period.


Tonini, Storia civile e sacra riminese, I-IV (1848); Aurigemma, Guida ai più notevoli monumenti romani e al Museo archeologico di Rimini (1934)MPI; G. A. Mansuelli, Ariminum (1941)MPI; id., “L'arco di Augusto a Rimini” Emilia Romana II (1944) 109-91; id., “Additamenta ariminensia,” Studi in onore di C. Lucchesi (1952) 113-28; id., “Il monumento augusteo del 27 a.C.,” Arte antica e moderna 8 (1959) 363-91; 11 (1960) 16-35; Arias, “Mosaico romano policromo di Rimini,” Studi in onore di C. Luechesi (1952) 1-10; Zuffa, “Nuove scoperte di archeologia e storia riminese,” Studi archeologici riminesi (Studi Romagnoli 13) (1964) 47-94MPI.


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