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Roman Palace Towers

The Towers are the only part of the Palace of which we have not taken a view. There are sixteen in all round this building, one on each angle, and four on each side, except on that towards the Adriatic. These Towers seem to have been intended for ornament, rather than for defence; it being impossible that a structure of this kind could ever be designed for a place of strength. We learn from Pliny, that towers were no uncommon ornament even in the villas of private persons. There were two of them in his villa at Laurentinum; and in them he places not only sleeping apartments, but a Caenatio, and Triclinium, a Horreum, and Apotheca. Here they might have been employed partly for the same, or perhaps for several other purposes.

Joannes Tomcus Marnovitius, an author whose words are produced by Farlatus (z), assures us, that in one of these Towers towards the South, was the burial place of Diocletian, and that about two centuries ago, the body of the Emperor had been discovered there. He is even so minute as to describe the Porphyry Sarcophagus in which his remains were contained. If we may credit this authority, it appears that Diocletian chose to have his ashes deposited in the same favorite spot where he fixed his residence during the latter part of his life.

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