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Kass Evans, M.A., M.A., M.Ln.

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Alexander's Rome: The Places

The novel Like a Toga in the Wind about a young Alexander the Alabarch has Alexander visiting the places described below. This is fiction and there is no specific historical evidence for Alexander being at any of these places in Rome EXCEPT for the Carcer prison where he was imprisoned by Emperor Gaius (Caligula) in around 39 AD.

! However many scholars, including this author, believe that it is likely that Alexander spent some time in Rome where he became friends with Claudius. If so, then it is very plausible -- even likely -- that the real life Alexander did visit many of the places described below.

Palatine Hill. View of the east side. The Clivus Victoria runs up the opposite side. This side faces away from the Roman Forum. The ground level of ancient Rome was 10-20 feet lower in the first century AD than it is now. The Palatine Hill would have been higher than it now appears.

Clivus Victoria, or Victory's Incline was a wide cobblestone road that led up the west side of the Palatine Hill. The cobblestone remains of the Incline can still be seen, although they are much narrower now, and mostly blocked off from public access.

The Carcer prison. The Carcer prison still stands on the far end of the Roman Forum near the base of the Capitoline Hill. In the Middle Ages, it became known as the Mamertine Prison.

The Carcer prison. Although some of the original stonework may be the same, the interior of the Carcer prison was completely renovated when it became a church. The prison cells where Alexander probably stayed when he was locked up by Emperor Gaius are long gone.

The Tullianum. The infamous "Tullianum," or round cell below the Carcer proper, still remains much as it was in the first century. Prisoners scheduled for death were thrown down a hole in its ceiling and they sat in the dark until an executioner was lowered down. -- Or they were brought up for a public execution.

The Tullianum. Unfortunately, my mother was thrown into the Tullianum. She stands below the hole in the ceiling and begs for mercy.

Insula on Capitoline Hill. This Roman era insula, or apartment building, was excavated from the side of the Capitoline Hill a couple of decades ago.

Insula on Capitoline Hill. Some images and information (in Italian) about the apartment building.

Circus Maximus. The long oval race course for chariots still exists, although it is overgrown with grass. The sloping hills on each side show where the seats once were. At the far end, are the ruins of the starting gates. The obelisk from the center has been saved and can be seen on the Plaza Populo.

Circus Maximus. The Palatine Hill rises over one side of the Circus Maximus (top of picture). The reddish stone structure is the house of Augustus. In the first century the building was probably faced with marble. It was possible to watch the chariot races from a window of the palace.

Cloaca Maxima. This door in the Roman Forum leads into the Cloaca Maxima which was one of Rome's largest sewers running underneath the city. The sewers were large enough for men and, in some places, boats to move around underneath the city.

Sewer cover. Sewer covers such as this one can still be seen all over the Forum and historic parts of Rome. Could a person standing below the sewer have overheard conversations above?