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TIBUR ( Τιβουρίνων or Τιβουρήνων πόλις, Plb. 6.14; τὰ Τιβουρα, Strab. v. p.238; τὸ Τιβούρ, Ptol. 3.1.58; Τιβυρις, Steph. B. sub voce p. 564: Eth. Tiburs, Liv. 7.9; Verg. A. 11.757; Hor. S. 1.6. 108; Tac. Ann. 14.22, &c.; Tiburtinus, Cic. Phil. 5.7; Prop. 4.7. 85; Plin. Ep. 7.29, &c.; Tiburnus, Stat. Silv. 1.3. 74; Prop. 3.22, 23: now Tivoli), an ancient and celebrated town of Latium, seated on the Anio, to the NE. of Rome, from which it was distant 20 Roman miles (Itin. Ant. p. 309; cf. Mart. 4.57; Procop. B. G. 2.4). Tibur lies on an offshoot or spur thrown out from the northern side of what is now called Monte Ripoli, at a level of between 800 and 900 feet above the sea. This ledge extends across the bed of the Anio to Monte Catillo on its north bank, thus forming a natural barrier over which the river leaps into the valley below, from a height of about 80 feet, and forms the celebrated waterfall so frequently mentioned by the ancient writers (Strab. l.c.; Dionys. H. 5.37; Hor. Od. 1.7. 13, &c.). The town lay principally on the cliff on the left or southern bank, where it is half encircled by the Anio. It is probable that at a remote period the waterfall was lower down the river than it is at present, since there are tokens that the stream once washed the substructions of the terrace on which the round temple is built; especially a broken wheel embedded in the cliff at a height of 150 feet above the abyss called the Grotto of Neptune. The awful catastrophe in A.D. 105 recorded by the younger Pliny (Plin. Ep. 8.17), when the Anio burst its banks and carried away whole masses of rock--montes he calls them--with the groves and buildings upon them, must have produced a remarkable change in the character of the fall. We may gather, from some descriptions in Properties (3.16. 4) and Statius (Stat. Silv. 1.3. 73), that previously to that event the Anio leaped indeed from a high rock, but that its fall was broken towards its lower part by projecting ledges, which caused it to form small lakes or pools. From the time of Pliny the cataract probably remained much in the same state down to the year 1826, when the river again swept away a number of houses on the left bank, and threatened so much danger to the rest that it was found necessary to divert its course by forming a tunnel for its waters through Monte Catillo on the right bank. This alteration spoiled the romantic points of view on the side of the grottoes of Neptune and the Sirens; but the fall is still a very fine one. Scarcely inferior to it in picturesque beauty are the numerous small cascades, called Cascatelle, on the western side of the town. These are formed by water diverted from the Anio for the supply of various manufactories, which, after passing through the town, seeks its former channel by precipitating itself over the rock in several small streams near what is commonly called the villa of Maecenas. Nothing can be finer than the view of these cascades from the declivities of Monte Peschiavatore, whence the eye ranges over the whole of the Campagna, with Rome in the distant background.

The country around Tibur was not very fertile in grain; but it was celebrated for its fruit-trees and orchards ( “pomosi Tiburis arva,” Col. R. R. x. p. 347, ed. Lugd 1548; cf. Propert. 4.7. 81: “Pomosis Anio qua spumifer incubat arvis” ), and especially for its grapes and figs (Plin. Nat. 14.4. s. 7, 15.19). Its stone, now called travertino, was much used at Rome for building, whither it was easily conveyed by means of the Anio, which became navigable at Tibur (Strab. l.c.). Vast remains of ancient quarries may still be seen on the banks of that river (Nibby, Viaggio Ant. 1.112). Of this material were constructed two of the largest edifices in the world, the Colosseum and the Basilica of St. Peter. The air of Tibur was healthy and bracing, and this was one of the recommendations, together with its beautiful scenery, which made it a favourite retirement of the wealthy Romans. Besides its salubrity, the air was said to possess the peculiar property of bleaching ivory (Sil. It. 12.229; Mart. 8.28. 12). Tibur was also famed for its pottery (Sen. Ep. 119).

The foundation of Tibur was long anterior to that of Rome (Plin. Nat. 16.87). According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1.16), it was one of the cities founded by the Siculi when they had possession of Italy; in proof of which statement he adduces the fact that in his own time part of the town was still called Sicelion; a name which would also indicate its having been one of the chief cities of that people. Another legend affirmed that the Siculi were expelled by Tiburtus, Coras and Catillus II., sons of Catillus I. The last was the son of Amphiaraus, the celebrated Theban king and prophet, who flourished about a century before the Trojan War. Catillus migrated to Italy in consequence of a ver sacrum. Tiburtus, or Tiburnus, the eldest of his three sons, became the eponymous hero of the newly founded city; for such it may be called, since the Siculi dwelt only in unwalled towns, which were subsequently fortified by the Greek colonists of Italy. According to Cato's version of the legend, Tibur was founded by Catillus, an officer of Evander (Solin. 1.2). From these accounts we may at all events infer the high antiquity of Tibur. The story of its Greek origin was very generally adopted by the Roman poets, whence we find it designated as the “moenia Catili” by Horace (Od. 1.18. 2; cf. Ib. 2.6. 5; Verg. A. 7.670; Ov. Fast. 4.71, Amor. 3.6. 45; Stat. Silv. 1.3. 74: Sil. It. 4.225, 8.364). Tibur possessed a small surrounding territory, the limits of which, however, we are unable to fix, all that we know respecting it being that the towns of Empulum and Sassula, besides one or two others, at one time belonged to it. Both these places lay in what is called the (Valle di Siciliano, to the NE. of the town, the name of which is probably connected with the Sicelion of Dionysius. Empulum is identified with the present Ampiglione, a place about 4 miles distant from Tibur. Sassula probably lay 2 or 3 miles beyond Empulum, in the same direction. The boundary between the Tiburtine territory and that of the Sabines was very uncertain. Augustus adopted the Anio as the limit; yet considerable uncertainty seems to have prevailed even subsequently to the assumption of that boundary. Thus according to Tacitus (Tac. Ann. 14.22), the territory of Tibur extended beyond the Anio, and included Sublaqueum, the modern Subiaco, which is commonly assigned to the Aequi. Originally Tibur with its territory seems to have belonged to the Sabines. Pliny enumerates Tibur among the Sabine towns (3.12. s. 17). [p. 2.1201]

We know nothing of the history of Tibur except in connection with that of Rome. The first occasion on which we find it mentioned is in the time of the decemvirate, B.C. 446, when M. Claudius, the infamous tool of the decemvir Appius, went into exile there (Liv. 3.58). It does not appear, however, as taking any active part in affairs till B.C. 357; in which year the Tiburtines shut their gates against the Roman consuls C. Sulpicius and C. Licinius Calvus, who were returning from a successful expedition against the Hernici, There appear to have been previous disputes and complaints between the Tiburtines and Romans, and the latter seized the opportunity to declare war (Liv. 7.9). But hostilities were suspended for a time by an incursion of the Gauls, who crossed the Anio and advanced to within 3 miles of Rome. This invasion of the Gauls was assisted, by the Tiburtines; and therefore after the barbarians had been repulsed by the prodigious valour of Manlius Torquatus, the consul C. Poetelius was sent against them with an army in the following year. But the Gauls returned to the assistance of the Tiburtines; and, to meet this emergency, Q. Servilius Ahala was named dictator. The Gauls again advanced close to the walls of Rome, and a great battle was fought just outside the Porta Collina, in the sight of all the citizens. After a desperate conflict, the barbarians were defeated and fled to Tibur for refuge. Here they were intercepted by the consul Poetelius, who drove them into the city, as well as the Tiburtines who had come to their aid. For this achievement a triumph was awarded to Poetelius, which we find recorded in the Fasti Capitolini as well as by Livy. This triumph, however, excited the ridicule of the Tiburtines, who denied that the Romans had ever met them in a fair and open field: and in order to wipe out this affront, they made, in the following year, a nocturnal attempt upon Rome itself. But when day dawned and two armies, led by the two consuls, marched out against them from different gates, they were scarcely able to sustain the first charge of the Romans (Liv. 7.11, 12). Yet the war continued for several years. In B.C. 350, the consul M. Popilius Laenas devastated their territory (ib. 17), and in the following year Valerius Poplicola took Empulum, one of their dependent cities (ib. 18; cf. EMPULUM). Sassula also yielded in 348 to the arms of M. Fabius Ambustus; and the Tiburtines would have lost all the rest of their territory had they not laid down their arms and submitted to the Roman consul. The triumph of Fabius is recorded in the Fasti and by Livy (ib. 19). Yet a few years later we find the Tiburtines joining the Latin league against the Romans; and even after the overthrow of the Latins they allied themselves with the Praenestini and Veliterni to defend Pedum (Id. 8.12). In B.C. 335, the consul L. Furious Camillus, attacked and completely defeated them under, the walls of that place, in spite of a sortie of the inhabitants, and then took the town by escalade. All Latium was now subdued, and we do not again hear of the Tiburtines taking up arms against Rome (ib. 13). For this exploit Camillus not only obtained a triumph, but also an equestrian statue in the forum, a rare honour in that age. In the Senatusconsultum subsequently drawn up for the settlement of Latium, Tibur and Praeneste were treated with more severity than the other cities, except Velitrae. They were deprived of part of their territory, and were not admitted to the Roman franchise like the rest. The cause of this severity was not their recent insurrection, the guilt of which they shared with the rest of the Latin cities, but their having formerly joined their arms with those of the Gauls (ib. 14). Thus Tibur remained nominally free and independent, so that Roman exiles might resort to it (Plb. 6.14). Hence we find the tibicines taking refuge there when they fled from. the rigour of the censors (B.C. 310), who had deprived them of the good dinners which they were accustomed to enjoy in the temple of Jupiter; an event more important than at first sight it might seem to be, since, without the tibicines, neither sacrifices, nor several other important ceremonies, could be performed at Rome. On this occasion the rights of the Tiburtines were respected. The senators sent ambassadors to them as to an independent city, to request their assistance in procuring the return of the fugitives. The Tiburtines, like able diplomatists, took the pipers by their weak side. They invited them to dinner and made them drunk, and during the night carted them in waggons to Rome, so that when they awoke in the morning sober, they found themselves in the Forum (Liv. 9.30). The story is also told by Ovid with his usual felicity (Fast. 6.665, sqq.). Other instances might be adduced in which Tibur enjoyed the privilege of affording an asylum. That of M. Claudius, before alluded to, was of course previous to the conquest of Latium by the Romans; but we find Cinna taking refuge at Tibur after the murder of Caesar (App. BC 1.65): and Ovid (ex Ponto, 1.3, 81, sq.) notes it as the most distant land of exile among the ancient Romans.

It was at Tibur that Syphax, king of Numidia, expired, in B.C. 201, two years after being captured in Africa. He had been brought thither from Alba, and was destined to adorn the triumph of Scipio; a humiliation which he escaped by his death (Liv. 30.45). Some centuries later Tibur received a more interesting captive, the beautiful and accomplished Zenobia. The former queen of the East resided near the villa of Hadrian, in the unostentatious manner of a Roman matron; and at the time when Trebellius Pollio wrote her history, the estate still bore her name. (Poll. XXX. Tyr. 26.)

In the Barberini palace at Rome is preserved a bronze tablet on which is engraved the following fragment of a Senatusconsultum: Propterea . quod . scibamus . ea . vos . merito . nostro . facere . non . potuisse . neque . vos . dignos . esse . quei . faceretis . neque . id . vobeis . neque . rei . poplicae . vostrae . oitile . esse . facere. This monument, first acquired by Fulvio Orsini, and left by him to Cardinal Farnese, is published by Gruter (Inscr. ccccxcix. 12). The tenour seems to show that the Tiburtines had been accused of some grave offence from which they succeeded in exculpating themselves; but, as there is nothing to fix the date of the inscription, various opinions have been entertained respecting the occasion of it. As the style seems to belong to about the middle of the 7th century of Rome, Nibby (Dintorni, iii. p. 172) is of opinion that the document refers to the social war; that the Tiburtines had cleared themselves from the charge of taking part in that league, and were in consequence admitted to the Roman franchise, at the same time with many other Latin and Etruscan cities. This conjecture is by no means improbable. If, however, Tibur received the franchise before the civil wars of Marius and Sulla, the latter must have taken [p. 2.1202]it away when he deprived the rest of the municipal cities of it, with the exception of Anagnia (Cic. pro Dom. 30), but it was probably regained on the abdication of the dictator. The treasure deposited at Tibur in the temple of Hercules was appropriated by Octavian during his war against Lucius Antonius, when so many other temples were plundered at Rome and in its neighbourhood. (App. BC 5.24.) From this period we have no notices of Tibur till the time of the Gothic war in the 6th century of our era. During the siege of Rome by Vitiges, Belisarius placed 500 men in it, and afterwards garrisoned it with Isaurians. (Procop. B. G. 2.4.) But under his successor Totila a party of the Tiburtines having introduced the Goths by night into the city, the Isaurians fled, and the Goths murdered many of the inhabitants with circumstances of great cruelty (Ib. 3.10.) Great part of the city must have been destroyed on this occasion, since it appears further on (100.24) that Totila having retired to Tivoli, after a vain attempt upon Rome, rebuilt the fortress.

At present there are but few traces of the boundaries of the ancient city; yet there are certain points which, according to Nibby (Dintorni, iii. p. 186, seq.), enable us to determine the course of the walls with some degree of accuracy, and thus to estimate its circumference, at all events during the time of its subjection to the Romans. These points are determined partly by the nature of the ground, partly by existing remains, and partly by positive testimony. The nature of the ledge upon which the town is built shows that the walls must have traversed the edge of it towards the N. and E.; and this assumption is confirmed by some remains. The two temples commonly known as those of the Sibyl and of Drusilla in the quarter called Castro Vetere, and the evident pains taken to isolate this part, indicate it to have been the ancient acropolis or arx, and probably the Sicelion of Dionysius. On the W. the boundary is marked by some remains of the walls and of the gate opening on the road to Rome. On investigating this track, we find that it inclined inwards towards the church of the Annunziata, leaving out all that part now occupied by the Villa d'Este and its appurtenances. From that church it proceeded towards the modern gate of Santa Croce and the citadel built by Pope Pius II. on the site of the ancient amphitheatre. Thence to the Anio two points serve to fix the direction of the walls: first, the church of S. Clemente, which was certainly outside of them, since. according to the testimony of Marzi, some sepulchral stones were discovered there; second, the church of S. Vincenzo, which was certainly within them, as vestiges of ancient baths may still be seen at that spot. From the fortress of Pius II. the wall seems to have proceeded in an almost direct line to the Anio between the church of S. Bartolommeo and the modern gate of S. Giovanni. It did not extend to the opposite bank, as a small sepulchre of the imperial times has recently been discovered there, at the spot where the tunnel for diverting the Anio was opened; where also were found remains of an ancient bridge. Thus the plan of the city, with the abatement of some irregularities, formed two trapeziums joined together at their smallest sides. The arx also formed a trapezium completely isolated, and was connected with the town by a bridge on the same site as the present one of S. Martino. The circumference of the city, including the arx, was about 8000 Roman feet, or 1 1/2 miles. The remains of the wall which still exist are of three different epochs. The rarest and most ancient consist of trapezoidal masses. Others, near the Porta Romana or del Colle, are of opus incertum, and belong to the time of Sulla. The gate itself, though composed of quadrilateral masses, is of the style of the gates of Rome of the age of Justinian. From the nature of the place and the direction of the ancient roads, Tibur must have had five gates; namely, three towards the W., one towards the S., and one towards the E., without counting that which communicated with the citadel; but with the exception of the Reatina, where the aqueduct called Anio Vetus began, their names are unknown, and even with regard to that the reading is doubtful. (Front. Aq. p. 30.)

The ancient remains existing at Tivoli, to call them by the names under which they commonly pass, are, the temple and portico of Hercules, the temples of Vesta and Sibylla, the thermae or baths, the two bridges and the little tomb recently discovered, the temple of Tussis, the villas of Maecenas, of Varus, &c.

Tibur was famed for the worship of Hercules, and hence the epithet of Herculean, so frequently applied to it by the Roman poets (Prop. 2.32. 5; Sil. It. 4.224; Mart. 1.13. 1, &c.; cf. Stat. Silv. 3.1. 183.) The temple of that demigod at Tibur was, with the exception of the vast temple of Fortune at Praeneste, the most remarkable presented by any city in the neigbourhood of Rome. Thus Strabo (l.c.) mentions the Heracleum and the waterfall as the distinguishing features of Tibur, just as he alludes to the temple of Fortune as the principal object at Praeneste. And Juvenal (14.86, seq.) censures the extravagance of Cetronius in building by saying that his villas at Tibur and Praeneste outdid the fanes of Hercules and Fortune at those places. The name of Heracleum used by Strabo of the former, as well as the term τέμενος applied to it by Stephanus Byzantinus, show that it embraced a large tract of ground, and as Augustus is said to have frequently administered justice in its porticoes (Suet. Oct. 72), they must have been of considerable size. It possessed a library, which, however, in the time of the Antonines appears to have fallen into decay. (A. Gell. N. A. 19.5.) We have already seen that it had a treasury. There was also an oracle, which, like that at Praeneste, gave responses by means of sortes. (Stat. Silv. 1.3. 79.) Some antiquaries seek this vast temple behind the tribune of the present cathedral, where there are some remains of a circular cella composed of materials of a rhomboidal shape, thus marking the transition in the mode of building which took place about the age of Augustus from the opus incertum to the opus reticulatum. But it would be difficult to regard these vestiges as forming part of a temple 150 feet in circumference; nor was it usual to erect the principal Christian church on the foundations of a heathen temple. Nibby therefore (Dintorni, iii. p. 193), after a careful investigation, and a comparison of the remains at Palestrina with those of the socalled villa of Maecenas at Tivoli, is inclined to regard the latter, which will be described further on, as belonging to the celebrated temple of Hercules. It is probable, however, that there were several temples to that deity at Tibur, just as there were at Rome. The principal one was doubtless that dedicated to Hercules Victor Tiburs; but there was also one of Hercules Saxanus, which will be described by [p. 2.1203]and by; and the remains at the cathedral may have belonged to a third. It is pretty certain, however, that the Forum of Tibur was near the cathedral, and occupied the site of the present Piazza dell' Ormo and its environs, as appears from a Bull of Pope Benedict VII. in the year 978, referred to by Ughelli in his Italia Sacra (t. i. p. 1306), and copied by Marini (Papiri Diplomatici, p. 316). In this Bull, the object of which was to determine the rights and jurisdiction of the bishop of Tivoli, many places in the town are mentioned by their ancient names; as the Forum, the Vicus Patricius, the Euripus, the Porta Major, the Porta Obscura, the walls, the postern of Vesta, the district of Castrum Vetus, &c. The round temple at the cathedral belonged therefore to the Forum, as well as the crypto-porticus, now called Porto di Ercole in the street del Poggio. The exterior of this presents ten closed arches about 200 feet in length, which still retain traces of the red plaster with which they were covered. Each arch has three loopholes to serve as windows. The interior is divided into two apartments or halls, by a row of twenty-eight slender pillars. Traces of arabesque painting on a black ground may still be seen. The mode of building shows it to be of the same period as the circular remains.

In that part of the city called Castro Vetere, which Nibby identifies with the arx, are two temples, one round, the other oblong, both of which have been variously identified. The round one, a charming relic of antiquity, is commonly regarded as the temple of the Sibyl. We know that the tenth and last of the Sibyls, whose name was Albunea, was worshipped at Tibur (Varro, ap. Lactant. de Falsa Rel. 1.6; cf. δεκάτη Τιβουρτία ὀνόματι Ἀλβουναία, Suid. p. 3302 Gaisf.); and Horace evidently alludes to her when he speaks of the “domus Albuneae resonantis” at that place. (Od. 1.7. 12.) It can scarcely be doubted therefore that she had a fane at Tibur. But Nibby is of opinion that the epithet of “resonantis,” which alludes to the noise of the waterfall, is inapplicable to the situation of the round temple on the cliff; for though it immediately overhung the fall, before the recent diversion of the stream, the cataract, as before shown, must in the time of Horace have been lower down the river. This objection however, may perhaps be considered as pressing a poetical epithet rather too closely; nor is there anything to show how far the fall may have been removed by the catastrophe described by the younger Pliny. Some writers have ascribed the temple to Vesta, an opinion which has two circumstances in its favour: first, we know that Vesta was worshipped at Tibur, from inscriptions recording the Vestal virgins of the Tiburtini; secondly, the temples of Vesta were round, like the celebrated one near the Roman forum. Unfortunately, however, for this hypothesis, the Bull of Pope Benedict before referred to shows that the district of Vesta was on the opposite side of the river. Hence Nibby (Dintorni, iii. p. 205) regards the building in question as the temple of Hercules Saxanus. We know that round temples were sometimes erected to that deity, as in the Forum Boarium at Rome; and the epithet of Saxanus is applicable to the one in question, from its being seated on a rock. It may be observed, however, that Saxanus is not a usual derivative form from Saxum; and on the whole it may perhaps be as satisfactory to follow the ancient tradition which ascribes the temple to the Sibyl. It is of the style called peripteral, or having columns all round. These were originally eighteen in number, but only ten now remain, of which seven are isolated and three are built into the wall of a modern structure; but in such a manner that the sides towards the cell are visible. The columns are of travertino, of the Corinthian order, and channelled: hence the temple bears considerable resemblance to that in the Forum Boarium at Rome. According to the Bull before quoted, it was, in the 10th century, a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The same was the case with the adjoining temple, which was dedicated to S. George. This building is also principally of travertine. It has four columns in front, now hidden by modern houses, and six at each side, five of which are built into the walls of the cella to the extent of two-thirds of their circumference. Hence it was of the style called prostylos tetrastylos pseudo-peripteros. The columns are of the Ionic order. From an inscription found near it, some writers have inferred that the temple was dedicated to the worship of Drusilla, the sister of Caligula: but the style of building is considerably earlier, and belongs to the age of Sulla. Others have called it the temple of the Sibyl. Professor Nibby (Dintorni, iii. p. 210) started a novel hypothesis, and regarded it as the temple of Tiburtus, or Tiburnus. It is certain that the eponymous founder of the city enjoyed divine honours in it, as we see from Horace ( “Tiburni lucus,” Od. 1.7. 13) and Statius ( “illa recubat Tiburnus in umbra,” Silv. 1.3. 74). But these expressions refer to a sacred grove or τέμενος, probably with a shrine, or perhaps merely an altar, and therefore situated, in all likelihood, in the outskirts of the town, and not in a narrow crowded place like the arx. And we must here point out a little inconsistency into which the learned professor has fallen: for whilst lie objects to the round temple being called that of Vesta, on the ground that it was not within hearing of the waterfall, when that was in its ancient state, yet he regards the square one, which immediately adjoins it, as the temple of Tiburnus, because it was close to the cataract. On the whole, therefore, we must for the present content ourselves with one of the ancient names for this building, or else, which may perhaps be the safer course, leave it altogether unidentified.

The catastrophe of 1826 brought to light the remains of a bridge; and another still more perfect one was discovered in 1832, in the progress of the works for diverting the course of the river. At the same time the workmen came upon a small tomb, between the Via Valeria and the banks of the river, containing several skeletons and monumental stones. Among these was a cenotaph to Senecio, who was consul for the fourth time A.D. 107, and several inscriptions. Under this tomb was an ancient aqueduct, intended to distribute the waters of the Anio among the adjacent villas.

There are no other remains in the town except some fine opus reticulatum et lateritium, near the church of S. Andrea. At this spot were discovered, in 1778, some large and handsome columns with Corinthian capitals, and also the pedestal of a statue to Fur. Maecius Graccus, with an inscription connecting it with some embellishment of the baths. Hence we may conclude that the thermae were situated here.

Outside the city, on the Via Constantiana, is the building known as the temple of Tussis, for which appellation, however, no authority exists. Externally it is of an octagon form, but round inside. [p. 2.1204]Nibby holds that it is not anterior to the 4th century of our era, its construction resembling that of the villa of Maxentius on the Via Appia. There are traces of painting of the 13th century, showing that then, if not previously, it was a Christian church. A little further on we come to an inscription which records the levelling of the Clivus Tiburtinus in the time of Constantius and Constans. The name of the latter is purposely effaced, no doubt by the order of Magnentius. This monument was discovered in 1736, and re-erected by order of the magistrates of Tibur at the same spot where it was found.

The delightful country in the vicinity of Tibur caused many villas to be erected there during the latter period of the Republic and under the first Caesars, as we see from the writings of Catullus, Horace, Propertius, Statius, and other poets. Of these villas, however, of which we shall mention only the more interesting, there are but few remains, and scarcely any that can be identified with certainty. The most striking are those commonly called the villa of Maecenas on the SW. side of the town, near the Cascatelle. Ligorio was the first who called this building the villa of Maecenas; but there is no authority for the assumption. It was probably founded on a wrong conception of a passage in Horace (Od. 3.29. 6, seq.), which is also quoted by Mr. Cramer (Italy, vol. ii. p. 60) under a misapprehension that it contains an allusion to a residence possessed by Maecenas at Tibur, instead of to his town-house on the Esquiline. The plan of this building published by Marquez and Uggeri is correct. It was founded on gigantic substructions, the magnitude of which may be best observed on the N. side, or that towards the valley of the Anio. It is an immense quadrilateral edifice, 637 1/2 feet long, and 450 broad, surrounded on three sides by sumptuous porticoes. The fourth side, or that which looks towards Rome, which is one of the long sides, had a theatre in the middle of it, with a hall or saloon on each side. The porticoes are arched, and adorned on the side towards the area with half columns of the Doric order. Behind is a series of chambers. An oblong tumulus now marks the site of the house, or, according to Nibby, who regards it as the temple of Hercules, of the Cella. The pillars were of travertine, and of a beautiful Ionic order. One of them still existed on the ruins as late as 1812. This immense building intercepted the ancient road, for which, as appears from an inscription preserved in the Vatican, a vault or tunnel was constructed, part of which is still extant. Hence it gave name to the Porta Scura, or Obscura, mentioned in the Bull of Benedict, which it continued to bear at least as late as the 15th century.

To our apprehension, the plan here laid down is rather that of a palace or villa, than of a temple, nor do we perceive the resemblance, insisted on by Nibby, to the temple of Fortune at Praeneste. It is not probable that the chief fane of Hercules, the patron deity of Tibur, should have been erected outside the town, nor would it have been a convenient spot for Augustus to administer justice, as we have mentioned that he did in his frequent retirements to Tibur, in the porticoes of the temple of Hercules. The precincts of the Forum would have been more adapted to such a purpose. But if that emperor so much frequented Tibur, evidently the favourite among all his country retreats (Suet. l.c.), he must have had a suitable residence for his reception. Might not this villa have been his palace? Nibby himself observes that the style of building is of the Augustan, or transition, period; and a subject would scarcely have ventured to occupy the highroad with his substructions. But we offer this notion as a mere conjecture in favour of which we can adduce nothing but its probability.

Catullus had a paternal estate in the neighbourhood of Tibur; and the pretended site of his house is still pointed out in the valley by Monte Catillo. It is evident, however, from his address to his farm (Carm. 42), that it was more distant from the town, and lay at a point where the boundary between the Sabine and the Tiburtine territory was uncertain. He himself wished it to be considered as in the latter, probably as the more fashionable and aristocratic situation; but his ill-wishers persisted in asserting that it was Sabine. Horace had also a residence at Tibur, besides his Sabine farm; and, according to his biographer, it was situated near the grove of Tiburnus (Suet. Vit. Hor.); but whether it was at the spot now pointed out, near the hermitage of S Antonio, on the road from Tivoli to the Cascatelle, is very problematical, the remains there being, according to Nibby (Dintorni, iii. p. 221), of a period anterior to that of Horace. Nibby would identify them as belonging to the villa of Sallust, who, if we may trust the Declamatio in Sallustium (100.7) falsely ascribed to Cicero, had a residence at Tibur. But this is mere conjecture. Equally uncertain is the site of the villa of Vopiscus, a poet of the age of Domitian, of which Statius has left us a pretty description (Silv. 1.3). The grounds seem to have extended on both sides of the river, and from certain particulars in the description, Nibby (Dintorni, iii. p. 216) imagines that he has discovered the spot near the place commonly assigned to the villa of Catullus and the grove of Tiburnus, in the valley between M. Catillo and M. Peschiavatore. The Cynthia of Propertius, whose real name was Hostia (Appul. Apol. ii. p. 405, ed. Bosscha), lived and died at Tibur (Prop. 3.30, 4.7. 85, &c.); so that scarcely any place was more associated with the domestic life of the Roman poets. The situation of the villa of Quintilius Varus, a little further on the same road, is rather better supported than most of the others. Horace alludes to the estate of Varus at Tibur, which appears to have lain close to the town (Od. 1.18. 2). A tract on the declivity of Monte Peschiavatore, opposite to the Cascatelle, bore the name of Quintiliolo as far back as the 10th century, and the little church at this spot is called La Madonna di Quintiliolo, an appellation which may possibly have been derived from the family name of Varus. Here are the remains of a magnificent villa, in which marble pavements, columns, capitals, statues, consular coins, &c., have been discovered, and especially, in 1820, two beautiful marble Fauns, now in the Vatican. Just below this villa is the Ponte Acquoria, which, as well as the surrounding district, takes its name, literally “the golden water,” from a beautifully clear spring which rises near it. This bridge was traversed by the primitive Via Tiburtina. One arch of it still remains, constructed of large blocks of travertine. Near it is another bridge of bricks of the imperial times, as well as a modern one of the 15th century, but none of these are at present in use. On the other side of the river, which is crossed by a rude wooden bridge, the road ascends the Clivus Tiburtinus in returning towards the town. Portions of [p. 2.1205]the pavement are in complete preservation. Under a rock on the right is an ancient artificial cave, called by the local antiquaries Il Tempio del Mondo, but which was probably either a sepulchre, or one of those caves consecrated by the ancients to the rustic tutelary deities. This road joins the Via Constantia before mentioned, leading up to the ruins of the so-called villa of Maecenas.

Outside the Porta S. Croce is a district called Carciano, a corruption of the name of Cassianum which it bore in the 10th century, derived from a magnificent villa of the gens Cassia which was situated in it. In the time of Zappi, in the 16th century, a great part of this building was extant. The splendour of this residence is attested by the numerous beautiful statues found there, many of which were acquired by Pope Pius VI. and now adorn the Vatican. In the neighbourhood of Tibur are also the remains of several aqueducts, as the Anio Vetus, the Aqua Marcia, and the Aqua Claudia. The ruins of the sumptuous villa of Hadrian lie about 2 miles S. of the town. A description of it would be too long for this place, and it will suffice to say that, in a circuit of about 8 miles, it embraced, besides the imperial palace and a barracks for the guard, a Lyceum, an Academy, a fac-simile of the Poecile at Athens and of the Serapeum at Alexandria, a vale of Tempe, a Tartarus, a tract called the Elysian Fields, a stream called the Euripus, numerous temples, &c. (Cf. Nibby, Viaggio Antiquario, vol. i.; Analisi della Carta de' Dintorni di Roma, v. viii.; Gell, Topography of Rome and its vicinity, ed. Bunbury; Ant. del Ré, Antichità Tiburtine; Cabrale and F. del Ré, Delta Villa e de' Monumenti antichi della Città e del Territorio di Tivoli; Santo Viola, Storia di Tivoli; Keller, De vetere cum novo Tibure comparato: concerning the villa of Hadrian, Piero Ligorio, Pianta della Villa Tiburtina; Fea, ap. Winckelmann, ii. p. 379.)


hide References (30 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (30):
    • Homer, Odyssey, 1.18
    • Homer, Odyssey, 1.7
    • Homer, Odyssey, 3.29
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 1.8.65
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 5.3.24
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.14
    • Cicero, On his House, 30
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 11.757
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 7.670
    • Horace, Satires, 1.6.108
    • Tacitus, Annales, 14.22
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 14.15
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 16.87
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 14.4
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 7.29
    • Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, 8.17
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 7, 11
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 7, 9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 30, 45
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 7, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 3, 58
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 9, 30
    • Sextus Propertius, Elegies, 3.22
    • Sextus Propertius, Elegies, 3.23
    • Sextus Propertius, Elegies, 4.7
    • Statius, Silvae, 1.3
    • Statius, Silvae, 3.1
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 4.57
    • Ovid, Fasti, 4
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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