The mausoleums are the graves that the emperors let build for their family.
On the contrary to the “cenotaph”
, which is erected to the memory of a dead
person but doesn’t contain the body. Hadrian’s Mausoleum
which later will
become the fortress of Angel’s Castle, that we know today
, is the greatest of all.
Two steps away from the Vatican Naumachia and Caligula’s Circus (out of the model),
the Mausoleum had a privileged position on the bank of the Tiber, surrounded by
huge private gardens
. Almost all mausoleums have the same architecture as the
Etruscan tombs with tumulus. On a rectangular base, a cylindrical construction
surmounted by a tumulus planted with cypresses. In addition to Emperor Hadrian,
other famous people have been buried there : Antoninus Pius, Marcus-Aurelius,
Commodus, Septimius-Severus and Caracalla. View of the Mausoleum in the north-west angle.
The Mausoleum of Augustus
had a diameter of about 90 m and a heigth of 42 meters.
In the centre, a funeral chamber was reserved for the Emperor and around, a row of
rooms for the members of the family. Several famous people have been buried there as well :
Marcellus, Agrippa, Drusus, Lucius and Gaius Cæsar, Octavia, Livia, Tiberius, Caligula,
Claudius, Nerva, and many others among whom, of course, Augustus himself.
The entrance to the Mausoleum of Augustus, as you can notice on this picture,
was made up as a garden. Two splendid obelisks
kept the entrance.
did not mention them in his description of the mausoleums,
therefore it is admitted that they were brought back from Egypt before
the reign of the Emperor Domitian. Here in the south-west angle,
the Mausoleum and its central alley.
The Mausoleum of the Flavians was erected on the top of the Quirinal,
along the Alta Semita. It appears in the centre of the picture,
surrounded by a vast blue portico. This Mausoleum would have been built by Domitian,
to be used as a dynastic Mausoleum. Domitian’s father, Emperor
Vespasian and his brother Emperor Titus, have certainly been buried
in the Mausoleum of Augustus. Their bodies have probably been transferred
in this new Mausoleum after it was built. You will notice that the Mausoleum
has the typical circular shape of these family tombs.
In this part of the Campus Martius, were several Imperial Ustrinums,
that were crematoriums for the Emperors and their family. In the centre of the picture, in the upper part, the Ustrinum of Antoninus Pius
more in the centre and left of Antoninus's Ustrinum, the Ustrinum of Marcus-Aurelius
. The Ustrinum is a variant of the mausoleum,
that looked like a square courtyard. Sometimes formed by a row of
parallelepipedes built within eachother, as the funeral pyres that
appear on the ancient coins. The Ustrinums of Marcus-Aurelius and
of Antoninus are typical examples.
The Ustrinum of Augustus’s family
, in the centre of the picture,
was just close to the Mausoleum of Augustus, on the Via Flaminia.
Even if the characteristics are the same, ie, concentric squares,
you can notice, in this case, the lack of great walls or porticoes
to protect the crematorium.
Hadrian’s Ustrinum was built in the west point of the Campus Martius.
We can easily locate it in the centre of the picture, with the characteristic shape of labyrinthic ustrinums.
A close view shows us that Hadrian’s Ustrinum
had the same structure,
ie a row of concentric squares. Three gates allowed to enter in the enclosure.
Very close to Hadrian’s Mausoleum stood a pyramid so-called pyramid of
( Meta Romuli
) that was an ancient funeral monument. This pyramid
considered as the tomb of Romulus during the Middle-Age. It was demolished at
the beginning of the XVIth century. You see it almost in the centre of the picture,
alongside a Roman way.
The pyramid of Caius Cestius
. This magistrate, who died in 12 BC,
had his tomb built with the shape of a pyramid. This one was later included in the Aurelian wall,
since the law prohibited the tombs within the walls. This monument,
that was covered with white marble still remains untouched today
During the Middle-Age, it was considered as the tomb of Remus, Romulus’s brother.