How Roman Towns Were Built on Star-Aligned Grids
2007 05 15

By Rossella Lorenzi | dsc.discovery.com

Ancient Romans built their towns using astronomically aligned grids, an Italian study has concluded.
Published recently on the physics Web site, www.arXiv.org, maintained at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, the research examined the orientation of virtually all Roman towns in Italy.

"It emerged that these towns were not laid out at random. On the contrary, they were planned following strong symbolic aspects, all linked to astronomy," Giulio Magli, of the mathematics department at Milan’s Polytechnic University, told Discovery News.

Part of a wider study published in Magli's book "Secrets of the Ancient Megalithic Towns," the research examined the orientation of some 38 towns in Italy.

Magli explained that ancient Roman writers, including Ovid and Plutarch, documented how the foundation of a new town took into account the flight of birds and astronomical references.

"However, the link between Roman towns and sky symbolism has never been fully investigated," Magli said.

The Romans founded many towns, or colonies, especially during Rome's Republican period and the first Imperial period, roughly from the 5th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D.

Their layout, inspired by the so-called castrum (a military camp), was always the same. The city consisted of a rectangle bounded by walls, with streets organized in a grid to form various residential quarters (insulae).

Two main roads, called cardus and decumanus, criss-crossed the whole city. Their intersection was the center of the social and religious life, while four main gates were placed at their ends.

"I did not take into consideration all the Roman towns, but only those in which at least the two main roads are still clearly discernible," Magli said.

For instance, the study did not examine the orientation of Pompeii. This city's two main roads are not obvious since the Romans later modified the city's layout.
Among towns with two clear main roads, Magli looked at the orientation of grids' axes in relation to the movement of the rising sun at the eastern horizon over the course of the year. He extracted this orientation from available archaeological maps or by using a precision magnetic compass on site.

"It emerged that the majority of Roman towns in Italy are aligned to sunrise, in relation to important sacred festivals or to the cardinal points," Magli said.
Basically, there are only three towns oriented toward the north: Pesaro, Rimini and Senigallia. These three towns also lie relatively close to the west coast of central Italy.

Only two towns in northern Italy — Verona and Vicenza — lie near the summer solstice sunrise line. Geographically close, they were founded in the same period.

All the other studied towns are oriented either within 10 degrees southeast of sunrise, or near the winter solstice sunrise.

"Given these results, we can say that Roman towns in Italy are not randomly oriented. This will help us understand what kind of astronomical knowledge the Romans had," Magli said.

"It is interesting research," Manuela Incerti, of Ferrara University's architecture department, said about the study. "It certainly opens the way to more extensive studies."

Article from: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/05/08/romantowns_arc.html



Related Articles
Global Orion Links: A Celestial Plan?
Phoenix: Masonic Metropolis in the Valley of the Sun
Celestial and Mathematical Precision in Ancient Architecture
The 33rd Parallel - Masonic Line of Death for Psychic Energy
Celestial Find at Ancient Andes Site


Latest News from our Front Page

Your Smartphone Broadcasts Your Entire Life To The Secret Service
2014 09 23
Intelligence services collect metadata on the communication of all citizens. Politicians would have us believe that this data doesn’t say all that much. A reader of De Correspondent put this to the test and demonstrated otherwise: metadata reveals a lot more about your life than you think. Ton Siedsma is nervous. He made the decision weeks ago, but keeps postponing it. ...
Scots were tricked into voting ‘No’ – Salmond
2014 09 23
London politicians gulled Scottish voters out of independence by making a false “vow” to grant Glasgow extra powers, First Minister Alex Salmond has said. He also raised the prospect of another referendum, saying the break-up is inevitable. Alex Salmond, leader of the ’Yes’ campaign and the outgoing head of the Scottish National Party (SNP), told the BBC’s Sunday Politics program that ...
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
2014 09 23
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity. Suspected Ebola patient Finda “Zanabo” prays over her sick family members before being admitted to the Doctors Without Borders Ebola treatment center on Aug. 21, 2014, near Monrovia, Liberia. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has spiraled out of control, affecting thousands of Liberians, Sierra Leonians, and Guineans, ...
Man bitten by Ebola patient flown to Switzerland
2014 09 22
Swiss authorities say a male nurse who was bitten by an Ebola patient while working in West Africa has been flown to Switzerland as a precaution. The health ministry says the unidentified man was working for an international organization in Sierra Leone when he was bitten by a child infected with Ebola on Saturday. The ministry says the nurse was wearing protective ...
Climate March in New York City Reveals Communists Demanding ’Revolution, Nothing Less’ - Trash the City With Garbage
2014 09 22
Tens-of-thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of New York City Sunday to demand political leaders take action on climate change. While the protest remained peaceful, much of the “People’s Climate March” appeared to be made up of fringe elements of the political left. Dozens of signs denouncing capitalism were spotted at the demonstration, often held by self-proclaimed socialists. “Capitalism is destroying the ...
More News »