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Mamertine Prison (Rome)

Memtine Prison (Rome)






Description of Mamertine Prison

Memtine Prison (Rome)

Clivo Argentario 1
Tel. 06- 679 29 02
Bus: 84, 85, 87, 175, 186, 810, 850
Open: 9am- 12:30pm, 2- 5pm daily


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 prison.

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 first century.

St. Peter, who was imprisoned there before the crucifixion.

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




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