Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nero and the "Domus Aurea"


The Domus Aurea, Nero's last "palace" constructed in the very heart of ancient Rome, is a true masterpiece of Roman architecture. We explore here symbolic aspects of the emperor's project, analysing the archaeoastronomy of the best preserved part of the Domus, the Esquiline Wing. In particular, we study the so-called Octagonal Room, the huge vaulted room which is in many respects a predecessor of the Pantheon. The project of the room turns out to be connected with astronomy, as will be that of the Hadrian's Pantheon 60 years later. Indeed, the divinization and "solarisation" of the emperor – placed at the equinoxes as a point of balance in the heavens –are shown to be explicitly referred to in the rigorous orientation of the plan and in the peculiar geometry of the design of the dome.

"Nero’s ‘solar’ kingship and the architecture of Domus Aurea" by Robert Hannah, Giulio Magli, and Antonella Palmieri

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