• Full Screen
  • Wide Screen
  • Narrow Screen
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Moving through the Gate. Traffic systems and urban nodes in Roman Italy

Simon Malmberg

Porta Tiburtina from inside, before 1869
Porta Tiburtina from inside, before 1869

The project studies movement through two city gates in ancient Rome: the Porta Esquilina in the Republican Wall and the Porta Tiburtina in the Aurelian Wall, linked by the road Via Tiburtina. To provide a preserved archaeological context and general comparative material, the project also comprises the Porta Romana area in Ostia. The importance of the gates and the city walls for the urban development will be investigated by applying a diachronic perspective in the period 50 BCE to 500 CE. By deciding the primary points of access in and out of the city, the location of city gates played a crucial role in the development of street networks and the spatial development of the city. The location and configuration of the city wall influenced contemporary and later projects, such as the creation and placement of squares, markets, churches and palaces. Important urban flows became even more dominating, while others were weakened, dislocated or vanished. Traffic slowed down at the gate, which became a place of waiting, to get in our out. This led to the development of the gate areas into nodes in the urban movement system, which became natural spots for inns, blacksmiths, entertainment and storage, catering to the needs of the travellers. The city gates in this way became important transit areas and developed into an edge city phenomenon. The project aims to focus on the physical and symbolic character of the gate area, and its commercial activity and social interaction. The project is supported by the Rausing Family Foundation, the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters and the Hagendahl Foundation.

Reconstruction of Porta Romana from outside, by Italo Gismondi      Porta Esquilina from the inside in 1756, by G. Vasi

Conference papers

Using Images in Late Antiquity: Identity, Commemoration, and Response, 13–16 January 2010, Danish Institute in Rome. Title: Above the Gate: Symbols on the gate, and the gate as symbol at Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople

410 - Die Eroberung Roms, 4–6 November 2010, German Archaeological Institute in Rome. Title: The Esquiline: a new monumental centre



Movement and Urban Development at Two City Gates in Rome: the Porta Esquilina and Porta Tiburtina, in R. Laurence & D. Newsome (eds.), Rome, Ostia and Pompeii: Movement and Space (Oxford University Press forthcoming). Written with Prof. Hans Bjur.

Above the Gate. Symbols on the gate, and the gate as symbol at Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople, in S. Birk, T. Myrup Kristensen & B. Poulsen (eds.), Using Images in Late Antiquity (Oxbow Books forthcoming)

Arians on the Esquiline, in C. Machado, J. Lipps and P. von Rummel (eds.), 410 - Die Eroberung Roms (Deutsche Archäologische Institut forthcoming)


Institutet på facebook

Urbis är online!

Svenska Rominstitutets Vänner

The Valle Giulia Dialogues

You are here: