Nova Via

Richardson, L. jr

Nova Via (Fig. 63): so called to distinguish it from Sacra Via, the only other street within Rome known to have been called a via in the republican period. It was very old (Varro Ling. 6.59). It started at Porta Mugonia on the Clivus Palatinus and in front of the Temple of Iuppiter Stator, where it was called summa Nova Via (Livy 1.41.4; Solinus 1.24), and ran along the base of the north side of the hill in a straight line to its northwest corner, passing along the way between the Lucus Vestae and the Aedes Vestae (Cicero Div. 1.101). At the northwest corner of the hill it originally turned sharply, almost at a right angle, and ran to the Velabrum, where it apparently merged with the Clivus Victoriae. Its end in the Velabrum was originally called infima Nova Via (Varro Ling. 5.43). In the late republican or Augustan period, for reasons unknown, this stretch was abolished and the street terminated at the point where it had turned, at the stair leading from the Temple of Vesta to the Clivus Victoriae. Its termination here then became known as infima Nova Via (Livy 5.32.6, Livy 5.50.5, and Livy 5.52.11; A. Gellius 16.17.2). In Ovid's day it already had a direct connection with the Forum Romanum (Ovid Fast. 6.396), probably by the stair mentioned earlier, and because Ovid speaks of this as an innovation, he may give a date for the destruction of the west leg of the street.

It was originally a street of great importance, running from Porta Mugonia to Porta Romana or Romanula (Varro Ling. 5.164) and very likely passing Porta Ianualis at the northwest corner of the Palatine along the way, in which case it must have followed the original pomerium of the Palatine settlement. As the Atrium Vestae and Domus Tiberiana were enlarged, the importance of the Nova Via diminished, until it became little more than a service corridor. Verrius Flaccus (Festus 372L) objected that the common people ran the two words of the name into one in his day, whereas they should be distinguished.

Nash 2.123-24.

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