Vicus Iugarius

Richardson, L. jr

Vicus Iugarius (Fig. 19): listed in the regionary catalogues in Regio VIII, the street along the shoulder of the Capitoline Hill above the Forum Romanum linking the foot of the Quirinal with the Porta Carmentalis (cf. Livy 35.21.6) and, because it was a very old street, always a vital part of the road system bringing those in quest of salt from the Via Salaria and Alta Semita to the ferry landing at the mouth of the Cloaca in the Forum Boarium. Where the Vicus Iugarius began and ended in the early period is open to question; after the construction of the Servian Walls, it probably was thought to extend only to Porta Carmentalis (Livy 24.47.15). The beginning was destroyed by the construction of the Forum Traiani, if not earlier, but, like the line of the Servian Walls, the road must have kept to the highest ground and shortest route available in the crossing from Quirinal to Capitoline and probably ran not far from the southwest façade of the Basilica Ulpia. Because this would have brought it into conjunction with the so-called Clivus Argentarius, which was probably also a very old track leading out to the Campus Martius, we may think of the Vicus Iugarius as once beginning at that juncture. In the imperial period it was probably not thought of as extending beyond the Area Volcani, and Festus (Festus 370L) has it begin at the Lacus Servilius adjacent to the Basilica Iulia. For purposes of definition, then, we may say that it began behind the Rostra Augusti, ran between the Temple of Saturn and Basilica Iulia, and followed the base of the Capitoline Hill (Livy 35.21.6) along the line of the modern Via della Consolazione and Vico Iugario, ending just short of Via del Teatro di Marcello (Via del Mare).

The Vicus Iugarius is said to have got its name from the Altar of Iuno Iuga erected there (Paulus ex Fest. 92L), but more likely the name prompted erection of the altar of Juno as patroness of marriage. Nor is it likely that there were ever yoke makers there or that it was conceived as linking the Forum Romanum and Forum Boarium, or other places. More likely the name simply means the road "following the ridge" or "following the heights," as distinct from the other roads in the vicinity. In later times it took on new importance as the main artery between the Forum Romanum and the lower Campus Martius. It seems always to have been the road by which triumphs and similar processions first entered the forum (Livy 27.37.14).

Nash 2.514; BullCom 84 (1974-75): 149-72 (P. Virgili).

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