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MAC AVG


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MAC AVG

MAC. AVG. Macellum Augusti.-- On the reverse of a large and a middle brass of Nero we find this inscription, and for its accompanying type an elegant edifice, with many columns, into wich the ascent is by a flight of steps, ornamented with a statue in its portico. These rare coins were struck in memory of the Market-place, which, as Dion relates, was constructed by order of Nero.-- See a view of the building, p. 77. The Macellum was a place where meat and other eatables were sold. It appears that at Rome the place appropiated to the slaughtering of beasts was not the same as that destinated to the sale of meat, but that each had its particular locality. Hence the word macellum, which is commonly translated butchery, properly means a market for meat, fish, and other eatables; and in this sense the word as used by Varro, Plantus and other writers, must be understood. On the above quoted medal of Nero, we see a building equal in exterior magnificence of architecture to the public baths, to the circusses, and to the amphitheatres. This Market-place is perfectly characteristic of the Roman empire, which lavished the utmost grandeur of design and splendour of art, on the simplest monuments of public utility.-- The word macellum (adds Millin), written on the map of the capitol, in front of an edifice adorned with columns, leaves no doubt as to its destination; but it does not appear to be the same with that represented on the medal in question. Therefor by this epigraph of MAC. AVG. and the type above described the macellum is recorded, respecting which Xiphilinus from Dion speaks:--"Then also Nero dedicated the forum of provisions, which is called the macellum."-- The name is derived from Macellus, formerly a noted robber in Roma, on whose condemnation the cencors ordained that in his house victuals should be sold. Snetonius also mentions annona macelli. This coin of Nero clearly then confirms the words of Dion, and at the same time shows the form of the building, with which that emperor embellished the forum obsoniorum. The ever visionary Harduin interprets the epigraph MAusoleum Caesaris AVGusti !


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