The Varius Circus
right of the picture. So called in honour of emperor Heliogabalus ( Varius Avitus Bassianus
it could have been an integral part of the Sessorium palace. It was used for shows and military exercises in honour
of the imperial court, until the building of the Aurelian Wall. The Varius circus, as well as the Castrensis
amphitheatre was integrated into the wall to reduce costs, and above all to avoid destroying the circus.
The wall did pass through the rows of seats
and kept 20% of the construction inside Rome. In the centre of the spina stood the Obelisk of Antinous
to honour emperor Hadrian’s favourite, whose tomb was built nearby (A
The obelisk was first erected close to the tomb, and it was only during the III rd
century that it was moved to adorn the spina of the Varius circus.
The Baths of Helena
were also part of the Sessorium complex. Built by Septimius Severus,
they were retaured by Helena mother of emperor Constantine, hence the name of the baths.
Opposite to the baths, the gardens of Old Hope (2)
brought an incomparable oasis of green freshness. In these gardens took occasionally place
the cult and the sacrifices to the new god imported from Emesa by Heliogabalus A chapel of Old Hope
(3) closed the south side of the gardens.
Last, on the other side of the Aqua Claudia, several tombs of famous families, the Casoniis, Plotiis, Clodiis (1).