The prison of Mamertina or Mamertine prison (Italian: Carcere
Mamertino), in ancient times Tullian, was a prison (carcer)
located in Komitiume in ancient Rome. It was located on the
northeastern slope of Capitol Hill, overlooking the Curia and
the imperial forum of Nerva, Vespasian and Augustus. Between the
Mamertine Prison and Tabularium (the recording house) was the
staircase leading to Arks Capitolin, known as the Hemon
Staircase. The church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami is now above
the Mamertine prison.
According to tradition, the prison
was built around 640-616. BC by Ankus Marcius. It was originally
created as a cistern for a spring in the floor of the second
lower level. During Tullian, the former tank was dried to make
room for prisoners. It was connected with the main sewage system
of ancient Rome, therefore all bodies of executed people were
simply thrown into the sewers of the Eternal City. The bodies
were washed away without burial. It was here that the brave
Gallic leader Vercingetorix met his end in 52 BC after the
defeat and capture of them by Julius Caesar. Here the Apostle
Peter was also held as a prisoner for his religious beliefs. It
is said that he miraculously opened a spring in prison in which
he baptized prison guards. Peter's inverted cross is a reference
to the apostle Peter. The fact is that he was crucified upside
down on an inverted cross.
The origins of the name Mamertine prison are
unclear. The traditional name "Tullian" comes from the name of one
of the Roman kings Tulla Holilia or Servius Tullius (the latter is
found in the writings of historians Livi, Varro, and also Sallust).
There is an alternative theory that the prison name is derived from
the archaic Latin word “tullius,” which means “stream of water,” as
applied to a cistern. The name "Mamertina" is medieval in origin and
can be a reference to the neighboring temple of Mars.
Imprisonment was not an official punishment under Roman law,
although detention is mentioned in twelve tables. However,
“Detention” includes debt bondage in the early Republic; wearing
chains, mostly for slaves; and during the Imperial era, the sentence
of hard labor, as in mills, mines or quarries. Slaves or low-status
citizens sentenced to hard labor were held in prison camps.
People imprisoned in Mamertine Tullianum Prison Aristonik
(Eumenes III) - King of Pergamum, who ruled in 133 BC. - 129 BC The
leader of the "Heliopolitans" uprising (including the slaves and the
poor who were freed by him) against Roman rule. He rebelled against
Rome in 132 BC, but was defeated in 130 BC.
Publius Cornelius Lentul Sur, the conspirator of
Catiline. Executed with other conspirators.
Gerennius Siculus, sympathizing with the brothers
Grakham, hit his head on the architrave in his cell and died before
he was executed.
Quint Pleminius, vice-principal. Arrested, then
expelled after losing power.
Guy Pontius, leader of the Samnites during the
Second Samnite War. Arrested and executed.
Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls during the
Gallic War. Held in the triumph of Caesar in 46 BC. He died in
Adytorix, the tetrarch of Galatia. Imprisoned for
having killed all the Roman colonists in Heraclea.
Yugurta is king of Numidia from 117 BC. e., who
led the Romans Yugurtinsky war. The illegitimate son of one of the
sons of Masinissa. He died of starvation here in 104 BC.
St. Paul the Apostle, who taught the Gospel in the
St. Peter, who was imprisoned there before the
Simon Bar Giora, Jewish leader, one of the
organizers of the uprising. Captured in Judea and brought to Rome to
speak during the triumphal procession. Executed in 70 AD