Emperor Nero’s dining room discovered

This video is called BBC: Ancient Rome Emperor Nero.

From Associated Press today:

Nero’s dining room unveiled in Rome

ROME – Archaeologists say they have unveiled what they believe to be remains of the “dining room” of the Roman emperor Nero, part of his palatial residence built in the first century.

Lead archaeologist Francoise Villedieu says her team discovered part of a circular room, which experts believe rotated day and night to imitate the Earth’s movement and impress guests.

Villedieu told journalists Tuesday that the room on the ancient Palatine Hill was supported by a pillar with a diameter of 4 meters (more than 13 feet). She says only the foundation of the room was recovered during the four-month excavation.

The Golden Palace, also known by its Latin name Domus Aurea, rose over the ruins of a fire that destroyed much of Rome in 64 A.D. and was completed in 68 A.D.

Plenty of works have been written on the history, economics and sociology of the Roman empire yet few have attempted an analysis from a left perspective that examines its influence in debates about modern imperialism: here.

4 thoughts on “Emperor Nero’s dining room discovered

  1. ‘Nero’s dining room found’

    Room rotated on wooden platform to follow movement of Earth

    (ANSA) – Rome, September 29 – A ‘rotating room’ built by Roman Emperor Nero to please his dinner guests has been unearthed, Italian archaeologists say. Excavations in the Domus Aurea (‘Golden House’) on the Palatine Hill have revealed remains of a room experts think is the one described by the ancient historian Suetonius in his Lives of the Caesars.

    The room contained a wooden platform, Suetonius said, which rotated day and night to follow the movement of the Earth.

    It was one of the many attractions of the pleasure dome of the ill-famed emperor who reigned from 54 to 68 AD.

    ”This discovery has no equal among ancient Roman architectural finds,” said the superintendent of work on the Palatine, Maria Antonietta Tomei.

    Tomei is overseeing a project to shore up the hill that houses the villas of ancient Rome’s great.

    Architect Antonella Tomasello is leading the efforts while archaeologists like Francoise Villedieu, leader of the team that made Tuesday’s discovery, have taken the opportunity to make fresh digs.

    Rome’s commissioner for urgent archeological work, Roberto Cecchi, on Tuesday earmarked new funds to verify the ”hypothesis” that the dig has indeed found Nero’s fabled dining room. Recent work has shown that the Domus Aurea is even bigger than previously thought and takes up a huge chunk of the Palatine as well as spilling over onto the Oppian Hill across from the Colosseum.

    The only part of the immense structure that has been opened up is a series of underground halls on the Oppian.

    But they have been opened and closed several times over the last few decades as restorers and structural engineers struggle to keep the mighty complex from collapsing.


    In June the Domus was again closed, this time for two years, for work to make it completely safe.

    In 2005 the palace was shut after masonry fell from flaking walls and a high level of dangerous seepage was detected.

    Officials said some 2,600 square metres of the site would be opened after the two-year scheme, leaving several areas still needing attention.

    The top of the Domus Oppian Hill is covered with parks, trees and roads whose weight and polluting effect are a constant threat.

    Meanwhile, archaeological experts are still trying to unearth more of the massive baths that Emperor Trajan (reigned 98-117 AD) built over the Domus.

    The golden palace first re-opened in June 1999 after 21 years in which it was Rome’s best-kept secret – open only to art officials and special guests.

    Some five billion lire (2.5 million euros) were spent in refurbishing the visitable rooms filled with surprisingly fresh and lively frescoes of weird animals like winged lions, griffins and tritons which led to the original coinage of the word ‘grotesque’, from the Italian word for cave (grotto).


    After Nero’s suicide in 68 AD the Flavian emperors who succeeded him proceeded to bury all trace of the man who already in life was a byword for dissolution, cruelty and excess.

    The Flavian amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum, was built on the site of Nero’s palace-side lake, while Trajan built his baths on top of the main part of the sprawling pleasure dome.

    Ironically, the Colosseum is so-called because of the massive statue of Nero that his successors dragged beside their own monument – after changing the head, according to some ancient accounts.

    Another irony is that, by burying the palace, they actually preserved it so that the finest wall-paintings outside Pompeii, with almost equally vivid colours, can be admired today.

    Other interesting touches are the chalk and tallow marks left by Renaissance masters like Raphael who were let down through a hole in the roof to admire its splendours.

    Architecturally, the piece de resistance is the eight-sided Sala Ottagonale where Nero is supposed to have entertained his guests with his singing and lyre-playing, all on a rotating floor.

    At suitable moments in the fun, the sybaritic emperor is also reported by Suetonius to have given the signal for marble panels to slide back, showering guests with petals and perfume.

    When it was completed, a 50-hectare complex spanning the Palatine, Celian and Oppian hills, Nero was reputed to have remarked that finally he was beginning to be ”housed like a human being”.


  2. Warmongers pushed ‘intellectual’ politicians aside

    03 May 2010 NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)

    Military warmongers took over the Roman Empire in the third century. The senate, the administrative elite of the Roman empire watched from the sidelines. Dutch researcher Inge Mennen investigated the balance of power in Imperium Romanum during the ‘crisis of the third century’. Conclusion: senators lost their military power but retained their status. Meanwhile military emperors pulled the strings.

    Inge Mennen studied biographies of the most prominent men from the turbulent third century to gain an impression of the shifts in the balance of power.

    For decades power in ancient Rome was in the hands of the senators who traditionally came from a small group of wealthy aristocratic families. Status and network paved the way to the top. Military experience assumed second place. The senate was also the rearing ground for future emperors: only the ordo senatorius could cultivate emperors. At least that was the case until the third century AD. Then senators had to make room for men of an utterly different class: military emperors from the equestrians. Within just 100 years the Roman Empire changed almost beyond recognition: emperor Diocletianus realised large-scale reforms. He reorganised the army and shared the power with his most important general. The Roman Empire was then effectively split in two. How could that have happened within such a relatively short space of time? Inge Mennen attempted to answer this question.


    In the third century the border areas of the immeasurably large empire came under pressure. Emperors had to spend increasing amounts of time dealing with the far corners of the empire and the increasing threat of war. Senators, with their limited military experience, were overshadowed by military leaders. Yet Inge Mennen’s research also reveals that some of the senators managed to use the new situation to their advantage. They retained their high social position but at the same time quietly expanded their power in the more peaceful parts of the empire. They relinquished some of their military might but flourished in legal, administrative and financial positions. Appointments up to the level of the senate were made via the emperor who in this way honoured the elite of Rome and at the same time could consolidate his own power.

    Meanwhile the ‘new era’ at the start of the tumultuous crisis century ensured the expulsion of the equestrians from Rome. For a long time equestrians had occupied mainly advisory positions in the emperor’s palace. Yet with the absence of the emperor in times of war and the increasing power of cunning senators, this group became superfluous. That left the equestrians with just one option: defending the empire. Professional soldiers also saw an opportunity to climb up to the equestrians via a career in the army. Gradually the composition and culture of this social class changed. The Roman Empire at war made grateful use of this growing group of warmongers: they now advised the emperor and controlled the border areas. Equestrians who had won their spurs in the Roman army even rose to the rank of emperor, an honour which up until that time had been the exclusive privilege of the senators.

    The senators continued to control Rome, the empire’s old seat of power, whereas the equestrians gained increasing control of the periphery of the empire. The focus came to lie on the peripheral provinces, in the regions of the empire where wars had to be fought. In order to retain control of these areas the emperors needed a military background. They also devoted an increasing proportion of their time to military matters and so they frequently felt obliged to put off other tasks. At the worst of times, the emperors were even forced to give up parts of their empire.

    The old imperial dynasties were not reinstated in the third century. Instead military emperors emerged: powerful generals who, with the support of their troops, gained the emperorship for a short period of time. They reigned until the next coup by an ambitious general. Military and civil affairs came into the hands of two completely different groups until these issues were formally separated by emperor Diocletianus. According to Inge Mennen, the reforms implemented by this emperor are not as radical as they might initially appear. The biographies of the powerful men of the third century reveal that many changes had already been set in motion a good century previously. Although Diocletianus put these ideas in writing, they were not entirely new.



  3. Pingback: Poem praising Roman emperor Nero discovered | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Emperor Nero really had a revolving dining hall, archaeologists prove | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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