Photo By Peter Watts
Mamertine Prison


Mamertine Prison - Rome visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Mamertine Prison' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Roma.

The Mamertine Prison (Tullianum) is was the only state prison in ancient Rome and was also simply known as the Carcer (Latin for prison). The Mamertine Prison is in the Roman Forum on the slope of the Capitoline Hill facing the Curia. A flight of stairs between the Mamertine Prison and the Tabularium next to it lead to the Arx of the Capitoline.

The Mamertine Prison has two chambers one on top of the other. The name Tullianum probably applies to the lower chamber which may have originally been a cistern. The ancient Latin for a spring is a tullus.

The upper chamber of the Mamertine Prison is an irregular quadrilateral, and contains an inscription recording a restoration made in A.D. 21. The brickwork here is rough and contains a small side alter. Christian interest in the Mamertine Prison arose after the 6C when the first stories associating with the imprisonment of the Apostles Peter and Paul in Rome began to circulate. There is no known historical basis for these stories.

From here stairs lead down to the lower Tullianum chamber. In the times of the Romans this stairway did not exist. The only link between the two chambers was a hole through which prisoners were thrown to die slowly in the lower chamber.


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