Ancient History & Civilisation

Campus Martius: The Field of Mars in the Life of Ancient Rome

Campus Martius: The Field of Mars in the Life of Ancient Rome

A mosquito-infested and swampy plain lying north of the city walls, Rome's Campus Martius, or Field of Mars, was used for much of the period of the Republic as a military training ground and as a site for celebratory rituals and occasional political assemblies. Initially punctuated with temples vowed by victorious generals, during the imperial era it became filled with extraordinary baths, theaters, porticoes, aqueducts, and other structures - many of which were architectural firsts for the capitol. This book explores the myriad factors that contributed to the transformation of the Campus Martius from an occasionally visited space to a crowded center of daily activity. It presents a case study of the repurposing of urban landscape in the Roman world and explores how existing topographical features that fit well with the Republic's needs ultimately attracted architecture that forever transformed those features but still resonated with the area's original military and ceremonial traditions.


Introduction: “This Place Was Holiest of All”

Chapter 1. “The Size of the Plain Is Remarkable”: Defining the Limits of the Campus Martius in Time and Space

Chapter 2. Gathering Troops in the War God's Field

Chapter 3. “Very Costly Temples”: The Campus Martius and Republican Temple Construction

Chapter 4. “Chariot Races,” “Three Theatres,” “An Amphitheatre,” and More: Entertainment in the Campus Martius

Chapter 5. “Colonnades about It in Very Great Numbers”: The Porticoes of the Campus Martius

Chapter 6. Between the Aqua Virgo and the Tiber: Water and the Field of Mars

Chapter 7. “A Zeal for Buildings”: Reshaping of the Space by the Emperors

Conclusion: “The Rest of the City a Mere Accessory”

Appendix A: Chronology of Development in the Campus Martius to the Early Fourth Century C.E.

Appendix B: Glossary of Architectural Terms


Selected Bibliography

If you find an error or have any questions, please email us at Thank you!