Thursday, 8 March 2018

Archaeologists discover barracks used by ancient Rome's secret service

Italian archaeologists have found the remains of a barracks that they believe may have been used by ancient Rome's equivalent of the secret service. The discovery was made during deep excavations for a new metro station in Rome. The barracks, which include a dormitory for legionaries, were part of a huge imperial military complex that was built during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian.
The complex included cavalry barracks, which now lie beneath the Basilica of St John Lateran.
The emperor's spies were known in Latin as "frumentarii". They were originally tasked with provisioning the army with supplies. Under Emperor Hadrian, they developed into a network feeding information back to Rome.

The barracks were abandoned and built over when high protective walls were built around the city by the Emperor Aurelian in the late third century AD.
Rome’s Metro C line has been plagued by delays since it began nearly a decade ago, in part caused by the frequent discovery of archaeological remains.