Sunday, July 17, 2016

Domus Aurea

'The twelve caesars' by Suetonius writes an excellent account of Emperor Nero. He is a fascinating study. I'm even more convinced now , now that I've seen part of his golden house, 'Domus Aurea'. Only part has been excavated. We enter by one of the galleys built by Trajan. After the death of Nero, Trajan obliterated any trace of Nero. He filled the whole complex with dirt and built a Roman bath over it. The walls are 39 feet high. Imagine the amount of dirt that needed to be cleared away. I read the work started hundreds of years ago. There are still a lot of Trajan's contribution that are still filled up. There is no intention to clear that because the Trajan part is bare and uninteresting. There are still traces of mosaics and frescoes left in the Nero part and one can imagine the original splendor. Suetonius wrote definitively that it was Nero who lit the first flames that burned down Rome.

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