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Regio II - Insula V - Caserma dei Vigili (II,V,1-2) - bars

Three tiny rooms were built against the east facade of the Barracks of the Fire Brigade: two to the south of the main entrance to the building (3.20 x 1.90 and 2.28 x 1.90), one to the north (3.52 x 1.95). There are a few remains of brick walls. On the floor are black-and-white mosaics, possibly from the early third century. The depiction of chalices has suggested to some that these were bars, apparently used by the vigiles.

The floor of the room to the north of the entrance has a white background. In the centre is a black chalice, surrounded by two black frames, to be looked at from the south. Between the frames are two black rectangles, one of which is solid.

The floor of the northernmost of the two southern rooms has a black background. In the centre is a white chalice in a white frame, to be looked at from the north. In the south-west corner is a white frame with an inscription, that must be read from the east:

[Pro]CLVS
FECIT M(iles) C(ohortis) S(ua) I(mpensa)

"Proculus, soldier of the cohort, at his own expense".

The floor of the southernmost room has a black background. In the south-west corner is a white tabula ansata with a Greek inscription, that must be read from the east. Transcribed in Latin:

PROKLOS
EPOIESEN

"Proculus made it / had it made".

In the facade of the Barracks of the Fire Brigade, above the mosaics, are traces of roofs: beamholes and cement for fastening roof tiles. Hermansen has suggested that the bars were held as a concession by the vigilis or ex-vigilis Proculus. Others have suggested that he made the mosaics, but the expression miles cohortis contradicts this idea.

It is questionable whether the rooms were bars. They seem to be too small. It is curious that a defacement of the facade and of the main entrance, facing the large shrine of the Imperial cult in the barracks, was allowed. Could they not have had a religious purpose?

Plan of the rooms

Plan of the rooms.
From NSc 1912, p. 164.

Photographs



The northernmost bar, seen from the north-east.
Photograph: Eric Taylor.



Detail of the floor of the northernmost bar, seen from the north.
Photograph: Eric Taylor.



The chalice in the central bar, seen from the east.
Photograph: Eric Taylor.



The inscription in the central bar, seen from the east.
Photograph: Eric Taylor.



The inscription in the southernmost bar, seen from the east.
Photograph: Eric Taylor.

[jthb - 7-Sep-2007]