A Tourist in Rome - Tarpeian Rock

Location:On Via de Consolazione, at the southeastern edge of the Capitoline Hill
Metro:Colosseo, but see it on my To the Forum Boarium and Beyond Walking Tour instead
Time:about 10 minutes
Cost:Free
Hours:Viewable at any time from the street

The Tarpeian Rock is a steep cliff at the southeastern edge of the Capitoline Hill which was used as an execution site during the Roman Republic. Murderers, traitors, perjurors, and larcenous slaves, if convicted by the quaestores parricidii, were flung from the cliff to their deaths. Those who had a mental or significant physical disability also suffered the same fate as they were thought to have been cursed by the gods. It can be reached along the switchback walkways between the Campidoglio and the Roman Forum, either from Via dei Fori Imperiali (enter between Caesar's Forum and the Victor Emmanuel Monument) or from Via del Teatro di Marcello (enter on Vico Jugario, which turns into Via de Consolazione). Tarpea is the name of a legendary young woman who opened the doors of the Roman Arx (the citadel on the peak of the hill where today Santa Maria in Aracoeli is located) to the Sabines in exchange for what she thought would be a reward of jewelry. Instead the Sabines crushed her to death and threw her from a rock of the other peak which has been called Rupe Tarpea (Tarpeian Rock) since then (see the display shown in the 5th photo below, from the Curia in the Roman Forum). The ancient Romans executed traitors in a similar way; the exact site where these executions took place was debated for a long time; after the old buildings which surrounded Palazzi di Campidoglio were pulled down, the precipice on the southern side of the hill was identified as the most likely location for Rupe Tarpea.

    
The Tarpeian Rock
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The Tarpeian Rock, from near Santa Maria della Consolazione
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The Tarpeian Rock, from near Santa Maria della Consolazione
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The Tarpeian Rock, from near the top of Via Monte Tarpeo
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The Punishment of Tarpeia, display in the Curia, in the Roman Forum, during 2013
See all Tarpeian Rock photos.
    
Plaster cast of a frieze that once lined the architrave of the Basilica Aemila in the Roman Forum, this one showing the Murder of Tarpea
See all Roman Forum photos.
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