How Roman towns were built on star-aligned grids





Ancient Romans built their towns using astronomically aligned grids, an Italian study has concluded.

Published recently on the physics Web site, http://www.arXiv.org, maintained at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, the research examined the orientation of virtually all Roman towns in Italy.

"It emerged that these towns were not laid out at random. On the contrary, they were planned following strong symbolic aspects, all linked to astronomy," Giulio Magli, of the mathematics department at Milan’s Polytechnic University, told Discovery News.

Part of a wider study published in Magli's book Secrets of the Ancient Megalithic Towns, the research examined the orientation of some 38 towns in Italy.

Magli explained that ancient Roman writers, including Ovid and Plutarch, documented how the foundation of a new town took into account the flight of birds and astronomical references.

"However, the link between Roman towns and sky symbolism has never been fully investigated," Magli said.


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