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MILLIA´RE, MILLIA´RIUM, or MILLE PASSUUM (in Greek writers μίλιον), the Roman mile, consisted of 1000 paces (passus) of 5 ft. each, and was therefore=5000 ft. Taking (with Hultsch) the Roman foot at .2957 met.=.3234 yards, the Roman mile would be 1617 English yards, or 143 yards less than the English statute mile. This = .1996 German geographical mile. [MENSURA] The Roman mile contained 8 Attic stadia. The most common term for the mile is mille passuum, or only the initials M. P.; sometimes the word passuum is omitted (Cic. Att. 3.4; Sallust, Sal. Jug. 100.114): less frequently mille passus.

The mile-stones along the Roman roads were called milliaria. They were also called lapides; thus we have ad tertium lapidem (or without the word lapidem) for 3 miles from Rome, for Rome is to be understood as the starting-point when no other place is mentioned. Sometimes we have in full ab Urbe, or a Roma. (Plin. Nat. 33.159; Varro, R. R. 3.2.) The laying down of the mile-stones along the Roman roads is commonly ascribed to C. Gracchus, on the authority of a passage in Plutarch (Gracch. 6, 7). It is true that this only proves that Gracchus erected mile-stones on the roads which he made or repaired, without necessarily implying that the system had never been used before, and there are passages in the historians where mile-stones are spoken of as if they had existed much earlier; but such passages are not decisive; they may be anachronisms, in which lapis simply expresses the distance. (Liv. 5.4; Flor. 2.6; comp. Just. 22.6.9.) The passage of Polybius (3.39), which states that, in his time, that part of the high road from Spain to Italy, which lay in Gaul, was provided with mile-stones, is probably an interpolation.

The system was brought to perfection by Augustus, probably in connexion with that, measurement of the roads of the Empire which was set on foot by Julius Caesar, and the results of which are recorded in the so-called Antonine Itinerary (of the 4th century A.D., according to Teuffel, Rom. Lit. § 406). Augustus set up a, marble pillar with a gilt tablet in the forum, close to the flight of steps which lead up to the temple of Saturn, to mark the central point from which the great roads diverged to the several gates of Rome (D. C. 54.8; Plut. Galb. 24). It was called the Milliarium Aureum; and its position is defined as being in capite Romani Fori (Plin. Nat. 3.66), sub aedem Saturni (Tac. Hist. 1.97; Suet. Otho 6). Some remains still exist, close to the Arch of Septimius Severus, consisting of a round brickwork [p. 2.172]pedestal, which is by many assumed to have been the base of the Milliarium Aureum: a cylindrical piece of marble, found near it, may have been part of the mile-stone. (Burn, Rome and Campagna, p. 124.) Professor Middleton, however (Rome, p. 167), takes these remains (a cylinder of concrete faced with brick and lined with slabs of marble) to be work of the third century A.D., and believes them to be the base of the Umbilicus Romae, a gilt column marking the centre of Rome, which is mentioned in the Notitia and also in the anonymous author of the Einsiedeln Itinerary. This stands at the north end of the supposed Graecostasis, and Professor Middleton places the Milliarium Aureum at the opposite end. Mr. Burn and others make the Milliarium and the Umbilicus different names for the same thing, but against that is the evidence of the Notitia, which mentions both. It seems that the marble pillar was covered, on each of its faces, with tablets of gilt bronze. These tablets recorded the numbers of miles covered by the various trunk roads from Rome and the names of the chief stations. The stone is called Umbilicus Romae in the anonymous Einsiedeln Itinerary.

It must be observed that the miles on the Roman roads were measured, not from the Milliarium Aureum in the forum (which was set up long after the regular mile-stones were placed), but from the gates of the city. (Burn, op. cit. p. 49.)

The Milliarium Aureum at Byzantium, erected by Constantine in imitation of that of Augustus, was a large building in the forum Augusteum, near the Church of S. Sophia. (See Buchholz, in the Zeitschrift fiir Alterthumswissenschaft, 1845, No. 100, &c.)

London also had its Milliarium Aureum, a fragment of which still remains; namely, the celebrated London Stone, which may be seen affixed to the wall of St. Swithin‘s Church in Cannon Street.

From this example it may be inferred that the chief city of each province of the Empire had its Miliarium Aureum.

The ordinary milliaria along the roads were short marble columns inscribed with some or all of the following points of information:--(1) the distance, which was expressed by a number, with or without M. P. prefixed; (2) the places between which the road extended; (3) the name of the constructor of the road, and of the emperor to whose honour the work was dedicated. Several of these inscriptions remain, and are collected in the following works:--Gruter, C. I. pp. cli. &c.; Muratori, Thes. vol. i. pp. 447, &c.; Orelli, Inscr. Lat. Sel. Nos. 1067, 3330, 4877; and especially Bergier, Hist. des grands Chemins des Rom. vol. ii. pp. 757, &c., Bruxelles, 1728, 4to. An example may be seen in the first milestone of the Appian road, which has been placed in the Piazza of the Capitol, having been found one Roman mile from the Porta Capena.

On some of these mile-stones, which have been found in Gaul, the distances are marked, not only in Roman miles, but also in Gallic leugae, a measure of 1500 passus.

[P.S] [G.E.M]

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