Saturday, 23 January 2021 - 22:19

  • Share on Facebook

  • Share on Twitter

  • Send by email


Rome, 1st century BC

Around us, the Forum bustles with life.

Craftsmen and merchants who sell their merchandise, lawyers who defend lawsuits, magistrates administering justice, town criers shouting and cars crossing the roads at full speed before the indignation of the passers-by.

Don't look around you for the great marble buildings.

Do not be careful to look over the heads of the crowd at the unmistakable silhouette of the



No, that noble stone Rome has not yet been built.

We are in the city where

Julius Caesar

was born


a Rome where brick and wood still predominate.

A Rome that still does not have stone theaters or large and lavish baths.

A Rome that already dominates the Mediterranean but has not yet left behind the humility of

the shepherd people

that it was in its origin.

We are in the

Rome of the Republic.

If we start walking towards the northeast, we leave the Forum behind and head towards the


, we can observe how the landscape around us is changing.

The Argiletum, a wide and still clear path, gives way to a very different Rome, a city in which senators and knights rarely set foot.

You look around you and you no longer see robes with purple stripes, or bunks carried by slaves.


We are leaving behind aristocratic Rome, the world of senators and victorious generals.

The people around you now dress in humble ragged tunics and cover themselves with coarse and dirty woolen cloaks.

Public buildings, both civil and religious, are giving way to taller constructions, of up to five or six stories, the so-called



humble apartment


built in a chaotic way, very close to each other, creating an interwoven network. of alleys and alleys.

You have left senatorial and patrician Rome behind and have entered the place where the

plebeian soul

of the city



Welcome to the



Remains of the Trajano Market built on the grounds of the old Subura neighborhood.

La Subura is the neighborhood located in the valley between the Viminal and Esquilino mountains, a gap that opens to the northeast between the elevations of the hills and that was used from very early times by the most humble Romans to build their houses.

It is undoubtedly one of the



of the city

of Rome, since it gave its name to one of the urban tribes, the


, which shows that the neighborhood was already consolidated as an inhabited space in archaic times of the monarchy.

Centuries have passed, and Subura has become one of the most populous neighborhoods in Rome.

The population density here is much higher than that of the aristocratic districts, since the large

insulae house

dozens of families who are crammed into their small apartments that in some cases are nothing more than a couple of dark and poorly ventilated rooms.


Unfortunately, we know very little about what Subura was like in the first century BC. The great authors,

Cicero, Salustio,



, whose writings help us to rebuild the Rome of this time, did not pay attention to this neighborhood inhabited by the

classes more humble.

Only a few references, brief and scarce, in the work of poets already from the imperial era, such as Marcial, Juvenal or Persio, allow us to get an idea of ​​what this area of ​​Rome would have been like.

Cover of the latest installment of the saga of the sorcerer Marco Lemurio.

And they describe it as a

noisy, dirty place, full of people

at any time of the day or night.

A space in which


invaded the streets with their stalls,


offered their services in taverns or arcades, and


roamed freely ready to strip the unwary passerby of his purse.

La Subura was, in effect, the Rome of taverns and brothels, of humble workshops and cheap shops.

It was the Rome of the poorest, men and women who tore up a piece of bread and a handful of vegetables during the day to put on the plate in front of their children.

Despite all this, it was undoubtedly a place

full of life,

in which rest was nothing short of impossible.

During the day, merchants shouted their products, customers bargained, one and the other argued,

children screamed

and animals, who shared every space with humans, bellowed and bellowed.

At night the panorama did not improve, since many transporters took advantage of the lower influx of people on the streets to move their cars, load and unload their products.

All this, we suppose, amid shouts, threats, and blasphemies against the gods.

If we accompany this with the chants and screams of drunks who entered and left the taverns, in search of

cheap wine and paid sex,

we can get a rough idea of ​​what life was like in Subura.


And woe to anyone who dares to venture through its streets at night without being accompanied by an escort of armed slaves!

La Subura was one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Rome, a place where, in the absence of a police officer to guard order, the

law of

the fittest was imposed


Entering the streets of Subura after sunset was a safe bet to lose virtue, the purse, and even life.

The narrow alleys of Subura turned into cobblestone avenues over time.

What is left of this populous Subura today?

Practically nothing.

In imperial times, emperors such as

Nerva or Trajan took

advantage of some spaces in this neighborhood to build their new forums, a sign of their power and greatness.

Over the centuries, the great

insulae gradually

disappeared and gave way to constructions of another type, more suited to the less populated medieval Rome.

When one walks today through the Roman district of


, built in the space occupied by the Subura, it is difficult to get used to the idea that the heart of

commoner Rome once

beat under the modern asphalt on which cars circulate.



If you want to know more about the enigmatic neighborhood of Subura, the

Marco Lemurio saga,

edited by La Esfera de los Libros and composed by

Oscura Roma


La sangre de Baco,

by Luis Manuel López Román, is entirely set in this place.

In the second installment of the adventures of the mysterious sorcerer that gives the saga its name, darkness looms again over Rome.

Eerie shadows slide down the alleys in the middle of the night.

The children of the mob are mysteriously disappearing.

Only one man has the key to unraveling the danger that lies in wait for the inhabitants of Subura: Marco Lemurio.

Will he be able to get to the bottom of the mystery?

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • Italy

  • tourism

  • Europe

AnniversaryGante, the medieval Manhattan that surrendered to Van Eyck's brushes

PollNeither beach nor mountain: this is the wonder of nature preferred by the Spanish

Gran BlasketIrish island idyllic looking for a partner from any corner of the world to take care of her

See links of interest

  • 2021 calendar

  • Milan - Atalanta

  • Udinese - Internazionale

  • Girona - Espanyol

  • Alavés - Real Madrid, live

  • Elche - Barcelona, ​​live