In Roman city planning, a decumanus was an east–west-oriented road in a Roman city or castrum (military camp). The main decumanus was the Decumanus Maximus, or most often simply the Decumanus. In a military camp this connected the Porta Praetoria (closest to the enemy) to the Porta Decumana (away from the enemy).
This name comes from the fact that the via decumana or decimana (the tenth) separated the Tenth Cohort from the Ninth in the legionary encampment, in the same way as the via quintana separated the Fifth Cohort from the Sixth.
In the middle, or groma, the Decumanus Maximus crosses the perpendicular Cardo Maximus, the primary north–south road that was the usual main street. The Forum is normally located close to this intersection of the Decumanus Maximus and the Cardo Maximus.
Within the city of Split in present-day Croatia is the UNESCO Roman monument, Diocletian's Palace. This city, built by the Emperor Diocletian, exhibits the characteristic Roman orthogonal street system with the Decumanus Maximus connecting the west Iron Gate to the east Silver Gate.
In Florence, the Decumanus is preserved as the streets Via Strozzi, Via Speziali, and Via del Corso in the city's old centre. Although these streets have different names they form a continuous line with a split between the Via Strozzi and Via Speziali by the Palazzo Strozzi. Roman times, these three streets formed the Decumanus of Florentina, the name of the Roman colonia. The Via Roma and the Via Calimala are formed from the ancient Cardo, and what was once the Forum in ancient Florence is now the Piazza della Repubblica.
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