The baths of Trajan Decius, or of Philip the Arab?
In a recent publication Laetitia La Follette collected the evidence for the Baths of Trajan Decius, an important but little-known imperial monument of the mid-3rd c. in Rome. Bringing together the ancient literary and epigraphic sources, a 16th-c. sketch plan, and the results of her archaeological survey on the Aventine, La Follette "recovered" this complex, establishing its topographical position and orientation, part of its plan, and some details of its decorative program. Despite its undoubted usefulness, this study is flawed in one respect. La Follette believes that Decius built his baths on the Aventine ex novo but it is far more likely that he completed a bath complex begun by his predecessor, Philippus Arabs.