Meta Sudans

Meta Sudans

In the Flavian period a monumental fountain was built near the Amphitheatre called the Meta Sudans by the sources of the 4th century AD because of its conical shape.
This fountain, depicted on coins from 80-81 AD, was in use until the 5th century when the silting up of the Valley began to obstruct the drainage channels for the water. The ruins were demolished in 1933 for the creation of the via dei Trionfi.
Thanks to representations on coins and to drawings made at the time of the demolition, it is possible to reconstruct its original appearance: it had a cylindrical base faced in marble, perhaps articulated into niches, and a conical upper part decorated on its summit by a flower or a sphere. Today only the foundations of the circular basin are visible, and those of a concentric perimeter wall which was added in the 4th century.
The Meta Sudans occupied a site of great urban importance, near to one of the high points of the sacred ground of Romulus’ city, at the crossroads of two roads connecting to the triumphal procession route and at the point where four regions of Augustan Rome met. Augustus had already erected a smaller fountain in the same area, recorded by the sources and discovered in the course of recent archaeological excavations.
In this way, the Flavians perpetuated the memory of a highly symbolic monument.