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The Urban Legacy of Ancient Rome Photographs from the Ernest Nash Fototeca Unione Collection

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Domus Augustiana

[Also known as: Domus Augustana, House of Augustus]

The imperial palace on the Palatine was called Domus Augustiana, except for the Domus Tiberiana, which occupied the north-western part of the complex. It comprised: (1) the residential palace with its curved facade overlooking the Circus Maximus, (2) an atrium on the same level with a peristyle in the upper storey, (3) the Domus Augustiana itself, (4) the state rooms of the Domus Flavia, which lie above the remains of the Aula Isiaca, (5) the Casa dei Grifi, and the Domus Transitoria (q. v.), (6) the so-called Stadium of Domitian or Hippodromus Palatii, (7) the constructions of Septimius Severus with its monumental facade, the Septizodium (q. v.) which lay south-east of the Stadium, (8) the so-called Paedagogium with the Domus Praeconum, lying at a lower level, in the Via dei Cerchi.

Domus Augustana, the façade near the Circus Maximus
Domus Augustana, southern façade with entrance gate
Domus Augustana, southern façade with the curved part of the stadium of Domitian in the foreground
Domus Augustana, the residential quarters
Domus Augustana, fountain in the atrium of the lower storey
Domus Augustana, upper level impluvium with bridge and podium of a tempietto
Domus Augustana, the peristyle of the upper storey with a podium and a shallow-arched bridge in the impluvium
Domus Flavia, façade
Domus Flavia, general view, in the foreground the fountain to the west of the triclinium
Domus Flavia, the present state of the fountain
Domus Flavia, peristyle with garden labyrinth
Domus Flavia, basilica
Domus Flavia, the hypocaust under the floor of the triclinium
Domus Flavia, triclinium with floor mosaic above a hypocaust
Domus Flavia, triclinium, windowed western wall
Domus Flavia, the exedra of the triclinium
Domus Augustana, wall decoration of the Aula Isiaca under the Basilica of the Domus Flavia
Domus Augustana, wall decoration of the Casa dei Grifi under the Domus Flavia
Domus Augustana, Hippodromus Palatii
Domus Augustana, Hippodromus Palatii, exedra from the east side
Domus Augustana, stairwell from the Palace of Septimius Severus
Domus Augustana, arch substructures from the Palace of Septimius Severus at the southeast corner
Domus Augustana, Hippodromus Palatii, room at the southeastern extremity, with coffered vault
Domus Augustana, arched substructures from the Palace of Septimius Severus at the southeast corner
Paedagogium, facing the circus
Domus Augustana, remnants of the Palace of Septimius Severus above the valley of the Circus Maximus
Paedagogium, rooms behind the façade
Domus Augustana, Hippodromus Palatii
Domus Augustana, Hippodromus Palatii, east side with exedra
Domus Augustana, stairwell from the Palace of Septimius Severus
Domus Augustana, Hippodromus Palatii, detail from the north extremity
Domus Augustana, western part of the southern façade with entrance gate
Domus Augustana, Hippodromus Palatii, exedra from the east side
Domus Augustana, upper level, the bridge in the impluvium, as seen from the northwest
Domus Augustana, upper level, the bridge in the impluvium, as seen from the northeast
Domus Augustana, upper level, impluvium
Domus Augustana, upper level, western part of the impluvium
Domus Augustana, remnants of the Palace of Septimius Severus
Domus Augustana, remnants of the Palace of Septimius Severus above the valley of the Circus Maximus
Domus Augustana, remnants of the Palace of Septimius Severus above the valley of the Circus Maximus
Domus Augustana, upper level, the tempietto podium in the impluvium
Domus Augustana, aerial view
Domus Augustana, curved southern façade
Domus Augustana, lower level, peristyle, western door with traces of a wall painting
Domus Augustana, lower peristyle with fountain as viewed from the southwest
Domus Augustana, staircase between the upper level and lower peristyle, exterior
Domus Augustana, staircase between the upper level and lower peristyle, interior
Domus Augustana, small internal courtyard at the staircase between the upper level and lower peristyle, lower portico, exterior
Domus Augustana, aerial view

Divorum, Templum

The form and location of the Templum Divorum, built by Domitian on the Campus Martius, are known from fragments of the Severan marble plan. The building extended from north to south between Piazza del Collegio Romano and the Gesù Church. It was a porticus about 192 metres long and 75 metres wide, entered through a triple monumental arch at the north end. Flanking the arch were an Aedes Divi Titi and an Aedes Divi Vespasiani.

Domus Augusti (Casa Di Livia)

[Also known as: House of Livia]

The private house on the Palatine, excavated in 1869 and known as “Casa di Livia” is probably the house which Augustus acquired from the family of the Hortensii. The masonry belongs to the middle of the 1st century B.C., whereas the mural paintings are Augustan.

House of Livia, decoration in Cubiculum 8 on the upper floor
House of Livia, a courtyard in the eastern part of the house
House of Livia, central part of the house as seen from the south
House of Livia, southwest part, room of the masks

Domus Aurea

[Also known as: Golden House of Nero]

After Nero’s first palace, the Domus Transitoria, was destroyed by fire in 64 A.D., work was begun on the Domus Aurea which was built between 64 and 68 A.D. It was a villa, covering with its grounds an area of about 125 acres, which reached from the Palatine across the Forum and the Velia as far as Mons Oppius. Later the main palace on the Oppius disappeared under the Baths of Trajan, and the vestibule with the colossus of Nero was covered by Hadrian’s Temple of Venus and Rome. The porticos which led up to it from the Forum Romanum were turned into the Porticus Margaritaria (q. v.) and the Horrea Piperataria (q. v.). The nymphaeum of the Caelian (s. Claudius, Templum I, 287) became the buttress wall of the Temple of Claudius, and the Colosseum now stands on the site of the lake between the Caelian and the Oppian hill.

Domus Aurea, behind the Gilded Room, connecting corridor between the central block and the eastern wing
Domus Aurea, room of the little birds, at the northwest corner of the trapezoidal vestibule with post-Neronian wall painting of birds framed by vines and flowers
Domus Aurea, room between the Octagonal Room (northwest corner) and the cryptoporticus from which it received indirect lighting
Domus Aurea, cryptoporticus at the far end of the eastern wing with a sub-arch at the center supporting the water pipe from the Octagonal Room
Domus Aurea, the interior of the Octagonal Room with a pavilion cupola at the center of the east wing
Domus Aurea, exterior of the cupola of the Octagonal Room with the "lumen" at the center of the side openings which gave light to the space
Domus Aurea, the flight of stairs along the Via Sacra leading to the "stagnum" of the villa
Domus Aurea, stylobate of the portico, which cut into the original course of the Sacra Via
Domus Aurea, arcade on the north side of the vestibule, constituting the supporting wall against the Velian Hill
Domus Aurea, the flight of stairs along the Via Sacra leading to the "stagnum" of the villa
Domus Aurea, substructures of the villa's vestibule with the imprints of the posts used in the construction work, near the Temple of Venus and Rome on the Via dei Fori Imperiali
Domus Aurea, substructures of the villa's vestibules supporting the Hadrianic podium of the Temple of Venus and Rome
Domus Aurea, room between the Octagonal Room (northwest corner) and the cryptoporticus from which it received indirect light
Domus Aurea, the interior of the Octagonal Room with a pavilion cupola at the center of the east wing

Domus Caeciliorum

According to tradition the Church of S. Cecilia in Trastevere was built over the house of the Caecilii, where S. Cecilia suffered martyrdom during the persecution under Marcus Aurelius. During the excavations in 1892 and 1899/1900 remains of ancient houses were discovered in front of and under the church, of which the earliest with tufa walls dates from 50 B.C. to 50 A.D. Later buildings of the second (s. Coraria Septimiana I, 350, 351) and the third centuries A.D., had been, together with the earlier buildings, incorporated in the 4th century into a single house.

Domus Caeciliorum, room of a Roman house under S. Cecilia with tufa walls dating from 50 B.C. to 50 A.D
Domus Caeciliorum, space with floor mosaic to the south of the Coraria Septimiana
Domus Caeciliorum, western clay-brick wall, recess containing a depiction of Minerva and two terracotta slabs to the sides with sacrificial scenes
Domus Caeciliorum, space of the Roman house with floor tiled in white marble
Domus Caeciliorum, space of the tufa wall and fluted tufa columns from a primordial Republican house
Domus Caeciliorum, space of the Roman house beneath the narthex of S. Cecilia in Trastevere

Domus Clementis

According to Christian tradition the house under the lower church of S. Clemente was the home of St. Clement, the third successor of St. Peter to the papal throne. In 97 A.D. he suffered martyrdom in the Black Sea. The church was built over two Roman buildings. Under the nave of the early church is a long building 29.60 x 40 m. with a central court, surrounded on the long sides by eight, and on the short side by four barrel-vaulted rooms, which was possibly a warehouse (horrea). The outer walls are built of tufa, and the rooms are divided from each other by walls of opus reticulatum and brick. While this building dates from the time of Nero, before the fire of 64 A.D., the adjoining private house, into which the apse of the church projects, dates from the end of the first century A.D. At the beginning of the third century a Mithraeum was built into it. (s. Mithraeum Domus Clementis II, 762).

Domus Clementis, vestibule of a private house beneath the lower church of S. Clemente
Domus Clementis, room with a vaulted, stucco-decorated ceiling in a private house beneath the lower church of S. Clemente
Domus Clementis, room on the west side of the edifice beneath the central nave of the lower church of S. Clemente
Domus Clementis, room with decorated alcoves in the private house

Domus L. Fabii Cilonis

The house which Septimius Severus gave to his friend L. Fabius Cilo, city prefect and consul in the year 204 A.D., stood on the Aventine, immediately above the Baths of Caracalla. The remains of walls, still visible in the former Convent of S. Balbina (now the Ospizio di S. Margherita), date from the time of Hadrian. The Church of S. Balbina and its apse, which stands on a considerably higher level than the Domus Cilonis, is a later building of the fourth century.

Domus Cilonis, wall from the Hadrianic Period, in the courtyard of the Hospice of S. Margherita sull'Aventino

Domus Publica

The Domus Publica, the official residence of the Pontifex Maximus, was situated on the Sacra Via, east of the pre-Neronian Atrium Vestae, and like it was orientated east-west. After the election of Augustus as Pontifex Maximus in 12 B.C., the Domus Publica was no longer used as his residence and it became part of the Atrium Vestae. Behind the remains of a travertine arcade with half columns in front of it are several rooms, of which the walls of opus reticulatum are dated about 40 B.C., and the brickwork of a restoration of the building about 12 B.C. The foundation walls of the house, which was burnt down in 64 A.D., were covered by the portico of the Domus Aurea, which flanked the new Sacra Via, until in 1882 they were excavated together with the Atrium Vestae.

Domus Publica, general view from west to east
Domus Publica, in the Roman Forum, remains of the travertine arcade
Domus Publica, room with apse and mosaic floor at the far end of the building
Domus Publica, southeast entrance to the apsed room

Domus Tiberiana

Tiberius built his palace on the north-west part of the Palatine. The complex of buildings, which covered an area of about 180 x 120 m., became the residence of the emperors. Caligula extended the palace to the north-west and enclosed the Temple of Castor. After being destroyed by fire in 80 A.D. it was re constructed by Domitian, who built the great reception hall in front of it in the direction of the Capitol, thus making it accessible by the Vicus Tuscus. The three-tiered facade of the palace faced the Capitol, and a balcony with stuccoed arcades ran the whole length of the north facade, overlooking the Forum. Hadrian enlarged the building to the north as far as the Atrium Vestae, and added a portico to Domitian’s reception hall on the north side facing the Forum.

Domus Tiberiana, northwest corner of the substructures
Domus Tiberiana, substructures of the west side flanking the Clivus Victoriae
Domus Tiberiana, northeast corner of the palace with the balcony of Domitian
Domus Tiberiana, Hadrianic portico on the south side of the Domitianic hall
Domus Tiberiana, buildings which connect the Domitianic hall with the upper part of the palace
Domus Tiberiana, remains of a rectangular water cistern beneath the forecourt of S. Maria Antiqua formerly in the center of the peristyle of the Palace of Caligula
Domus Tiberiana, northeast corner of the palace featuring a detail from the balcony of Domitian
Domus Tiberiana, the Domitianic hall, southern side
Domus Tiberiana, west section substructures alongside the Clivus Victoriae
Domus Tiberiana, cavity between the southern wall of the Domitianic hall and the supporting wall for the basement rooms of the Horrea Agrippiana
Domus Tiberiana, Domitianic hall, dividing wall in the west section
Domus Tiberiana, compartments with barrel vault at the southern extremity of the palace

Domus Transitoria

The Domus Transitoria was the first palace built by Nero, and so called because it connected the imperial palace of the Palatine with the gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline (Suetonius, Nero 31). The rooms visible below the triclinium, and the peristyle of the Domus Flavia, and unimportant remains flanking the Clivus Palatinus were part of it, also an octagonal domed hall with four surrounding wings under the Temple of Venus and Rome. The Domus Transitoria was destroyed by fire in 64 A.D. and its burned ruins were covered by the Domus Aurea. The servants’ latrine, however, remained accessible beneath the Domus Flavia until the time of Domitian.

Domus Transitoria, west part of the nymphaeum
Domus Transitoria, western part of the nymphaeum
Domus Transitoria, the eastern side of the nymphaeum which is intersected by a foundation wall of the Domus Aurea
Atrium Vestae, southeast corner of the building with remains of the Servian Wall
Domus Transitoria, 60-seat latrine beneath the triclinium and the southeast corner of the Domus Flavia's peristyle, intersected by the foundation wall from the Domitian construction
Domus Transitoria, north and east sides of the pavilion in the nymphaeum courtyard
Domus Transitoria, detail from the eastern part of the podium