Flavian Palace

The Flavian Palace, normally known as the Domus Flavia, is part of the vast residential complex of the Palace of Domitian on the Palatine Hill in Rome. It was completed in 92 AD by Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus,[1] and attributed to his master architect, Rabirius.[2]

The term Domus Flavia is a modern designation used to describe the northwestern section of the Palace where the bulk of the large public rooms for entertaining and ceremony are concentrated.[3] It is interconnected with the domestic wing to the southeast, the Domus Augustana, which descends from the summit of the Palatine down to wings specially constructed within the hill to the south and southwest.

The imposing ruins which flank the southeastern side of the Palace above the Circus Maximus are a later addition built by Septimius Severus; they are the supporting piers for a large extension which completely covered the eastern slope.

Coordinates: 41°53′19″N 12°29′12″E / 41.88861°N 12.48667°E

Domus Flavia
Domus Flavia on the Palatine
LocationPalatine Hill
Built in92 AD
Built by/forDomitian
Type of structureDomus
RelatedList of ancient monuments
in Rome
Domus Flavia is located in Rome
Domus Flavia
Domus Flavia
Plan of Domitian's palace E: main entrance L: Lararium A: Aula Regia B: Basilica Po: portico P1: peristyle. C: Cenatio P2: 2nd peristyle P3: 3rd peristyle Co: cortile Ex: grand exedra S: Stadium Tr: Tribune of the Stadium


Peristyle with octagonal island

The Domus Flavia contains several exceptionally large rooms; the main public reception rooms are the Basilica, the Aula Regia, the Lararium, and the Triclinium.

The Basilica is the first part visible from the Clivus Palatinus, the road that connects the Roman Forum to the Palatine Hill. A long portico (Po) runs alongside the domus on the west and north sides at the end of which is the main entrance (E) which seems to serve both the public and the private part of the palace. Once inside the visitor enters the Lararium (L) housing a detachment of the Praetorian guard. It is the smallest and most poorly preserved room in the palace. Behind it was once a staircase providing access to the Domus Augustana. Below this room parts of the earlier House of the Griffins have been excavated and from which exquisite decorations have been removed to the Antiquarium.

The next room is the Aula Regia used for the daily "salutatio" to the Emperor and to host important receptions and embassies. In the time of Domitian, the walls had a marble veneer, and there were Phrygian marble columns and an elaborately carved frieze. The wall at the back is occupied by an apse flanked by two doors. On the wall in front opens a wide single door which leads to the peristyle. The coffered ceiling is more than 30 m above the ground.

The Basilica is a long room with a central nave where the Emperor presided over legal cases and performed his judicial functions, and assembled his advisers to take political and administrative decisions concerning the Empire. Beneath the Basilica the Aula Isiaca[4] has been excavated, a room with frescoes of about 30BC and probably once part of the Domus Augusti.[5] This was in turn built over by Nero's Domus Transitoria.

In the centre was a huge peristyle garden filled almost completely with a pool surrounding an octagonal island with a labyrinthine pattern complete with fountains and water features. Suites of rooms lay to the north and south.

Along the southwest side of the peristyle, is the 2nd largest room in the Palace, the cenatio (or Triclinium) or Banqueting Room. Like the Aula Regia, it was extravagantly decorated, with several tiers of columns in exotic marbles and a frieze.[6] It opened onto two courtyards with oval fountains to the north and south visible from the windows of the dining room. The centre of the southern wall of the hall has an apse surrounded by two passages which allow access to the library of the temple of Apollo. The floor of the hall is covered with marble concealing a hypocaust whose bricks date from the reign of Maxentius. This heating system suggests that this hall served as a banqueting hall in the winter and has been identified with the Cenatio Iovis mentioned in ancient literary sources.[7]

Beneath the floor of the cenatio have been found traces of two earlier versions both built by Nero.[8]

Oval fountain of the cenatio
Rome and Pompeii; archaeological rambles (1896) (14598004200)
Plan of Domus Flavia from Archaeological Rambles, Boissier, Gaston, New York (1896)
Aula Regia (Roma Palatino)

Map of Aula Regia

Domus Flavia - Vestibulum

Northern part of Domus Flavia (Aula Regia, basilica and lararium)

Domus Flavia - Peristilium

Center part (peristilium)

Domus Flavia - Triclinium

Southern part (Cenatio Iovis)

The Flavian Palace in contemporary times

The poet Statius, a contemporary of Domitian, described the splendor of the Flavian Palace in Silvae, IV, 2:

Awesome and vast is the edifice, distinguished not by a hundred columns but by as many as could shoulder the gods and the sky if Atlas were let off. The Thunderer’s palace next door gapes at it and the gods rejoice that you are lodged in a like abode […]: so great extends the structure and the sweep of the far-flung hall, more expansive than that of an open plain, embracing much enclosed sky and lesser only than its master.[9]

Scholars usually identify this room as the Triclinium, but it could possibly be the Aula Regia, which was distinguished by its number of columns.[2]

The Flavian Palace was one of Domitian’s many architectural projects, which also included the Domus Augustana, a contribution to the Circus Maximus, a contribution to the Pantheon, and three temples deifying his family members: the temple of Vespasian and Titus, the Porticus Diuorum, and the Temple of the gens Flavia.[2]

See also


  1. ^ The Cambridge Ancient History. Vol. XI. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  2. ^ a b c Darwall-Smith, Robin Haydon. Emperors and Architecture: A Study of Flavian Rome. Brussels: Latomus Revue D'Etudes Latines, 1996.
  3. ^ Robathan, Dorothy M. "Domitian's 'Midas-Touch'". Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 73 (1942): 130-144.
  4. ^ http://www.archeoroma.com/Palatino/aula_isiaca.htm
  5. ^ Rome, An Oxford Archaeological Guide, A. Claridge, 1998 ISBN 0-19-288003-9, p. 148
  6. ^ Darwall-Smith, Robin Haydon. Emperors and Architecture: A Study of Flavian Rome. Brussels: Latomus Revue D'Etudes Latines, 1996
  7. ^ Statius, Silvae 4.2 18-31 (AD 93-4)
  8. ^ Rome, An Oxford Archaeological Guide, A. Claridge, 1998 ISBN 0-19-288003-9, p. 136
  9. ^ Statius. Silvae IV. Trans. K.M. Coleman. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.

The 90s ran from 90 AD to 99 AD.

== Events ==

=== AD 90 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Romans build a small garrison in the suburbs of modern Regensburg (approximate date).

Pliny the Younger's appointment as urban quaestor ends.

Emperor Domitian and Nerva are Roman Consuls.

Cologne becomes the capital of Germania Inferior.

A humiliating peace is bought by Domitian from Decebalus of Dacia.

====== Asia ======

Continuing his conquest of the Tarim basin, Chinese General Ban Chao defeats the Kushan led by Kanishka.

==== By topic ====

====== Art ======

Young Flavian Woman is made. It is now kept at Musei Capitolini, Rome (approximate date).

====== Literature ======

The Roman epic poet Gaius Valerius Flaccus dies, having written works that include the Argonautica, describing the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece from the mythical land of Colchis.

====== Religion ======

Drafting of The Gospel of John and the Acts of the Apostles.

=== AD 91 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Manius Acilius Glabrio and Marcus Ulpius Traianus become Roman Consul.

Pliny the Younger is named a tribunus plebis.

====== Asia ======

The Chinese government reestablishes the Protectorate of the Western Regions.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

Rome is described by Statius in his poems.

=== AD 92 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Roman emperor Domitian becomes a Roman Consul.

The Marcomanni are defeated by the Romans at the Danube. However, they are not entirely subdued.

The Roman army moves into Mesopotamia.

The Flavian Palace is completed on the Palatine.

=== AD 93 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Pliny the Younger is named a Praetor.

Josephus completes his Jewish Antiquities (or in 94).

Emperor Domitian persecutes the Christians.

====== Asia ======

The Xianbei incorporates 100,000 Xiongnu in Mongolian steppe.

=== AD 94 ===

==== Roman Empire ====

Emperor Domitian rebuilds and rededicates the Curia Julia (meeting place of the Roman Senate), which had burned down in AD 64.

Domitian bans philosophers from Rome.

==== Asia ====

The Chinese General Ban Chao completes his conquest of the Tarim Basin by taking Yanqi.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

The Roman poet Statius retires to Naples from Rome.

=== AD 95 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Domitian and Titus Flavius Clemens become Roman Consul.

Domitian executes senators out of paranoiac fears that they are plotting to kill him.

Manius Acilius Glabrio is commanded by Domitian to descend into the arena of the Colosseum to fight a lion. After he kills the animal, the crowd greets him with applause, but the emperor banished and put him to death.

==== By topic ====

====== Medicine ======

In Rome a severe form of malaria appears in the farm districts and will continue for the next 500 years, taking out of cultivation the fertile land of the Campagna, whose market gardens supply the city with fresh products. The fever drives small groups of farmers into the crowded city, while they bring the malaria with them, and lowers Rome's live-birth rate while rates elsewhere in the empire rising.

====== Religion ======

Latest date for the writing of The Book of Revelation.

=== AD 96 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

September 18 – Emperor Domitian is stabbed to death by a freedman at age 44 after a 15-year reign in a palace conspiracy involving officers of the Praetorian Guard. The Flavian dynasty ends.

Nerva is declared emperor by the Senate as the new ruler of the Roman Empire. He recalls citizens exiled by Domitian, this is the beginning of the Era of the Five Good Emperors. The Antonines dynasty starts.

Under Nerva, the Roman Senate regains much of the power usurped by Domitian.

Marcus Ulpius Traianus becomes governor of Upper Germany.

The Arch of Titus is completed in Rome.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

End of the period covered by Tacitus in his Histories.

====== Religion ======

The Book of Revelation is written (traditional date).

A schism in Buddhism creates a new, popular religion in India, mahâyâna (Grand Vehicle).

=== AD 97 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

October 28 – Emperor Nerva recalls his general Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, age 44, from the German frontier and is forced by the Praetorian Guard to adopt him as his successor.

Tacitus advances to consulship.

The Roman colony of Cuicul is started in Numidia.

Nerva recognizes the Sanhedrin of Jamnia as an official governmental body of the Jews, and the patriarch or nasi is designated as the representative of the Jewish people in Rome.

Sextus Julius Frontinus is appointed superintendent of the aqueducts (curator aquarum) in Rome. At least 10 aqueducts supply the city with 250 million US gallons (950,000 m3) of water per day, the public baths used half the supply.

====== Asia ======

Chinese general Ban Chao orders his lieutenant, Gan Ying, to establish regular relations with the Parthians.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Pope Evaristus succeeds Pope Clement I as the fifth pope (according to Catholic tradition; none of the Popes until the mid second century is certain).

=== AD 98 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

January 1 – Emperor Nerva suffers a stroke during a private audience.

January 27 – Nerva dies of a fever at his villa in the Gardens of Sallust and is succeeded by his adopted son Trajan. Trajan is the first Roman Emperor born in Italica, near Seville. A brilliant soldier and administrator, he enters Rome without ceremony and wins over the public. Continuing the policies of Augustus, Vespasian and Nerva, he restores the Senate to its full status in the government and begins a form of state welfare aimed at assuring that poor children are fed and taken care of. He has a specific vision of the Empire, which reaches its maximum extent under his rule, and keeps a close watch on finances. Taxes, without any increase, are sufficient during his reign to pay the considerable costs of the budget. The informers used by Domitian to support his tyranny are expelled from Rome. In order to maintain the Port of Alexandria, Trajan reopens the canal between the Nile and the Red Sea.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

Tacitus finishes his Germania (approximate date).

====== Commerce ======

The silver content of the Roman denarius rises to 93 percent under emperor Trajan, up from 92 percent under Domitian.

=== AD 99 ===

Emperor Trajan returns to Rome from an inspection of the Roman legions along the Rhine and Danube frontiers.

Emissaries of the Kushan Empire reach Emperor Trajan.

Richimerus I fights a battle with a combined army of Romans and Gauls at Basana near Aachen.29 August - Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 581, recording the sale of a slave girl, is written.

AD 92

AD 92 (XCII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Augustus and Saturninus (or, less frequently, year 845 Ab urbe condita). The denomination AD 92 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Domitian (; Latin: Titus Flavius Caesar Domitianus Augustus; 24 October 51 – 18 September AD 96) was Roman emperor from 81 to 96. He was the younger brother of Titus and the son of Vespasian, his two predecessors on the throne, and the last member of the Flavian dynasty. During his reign, the authoritarian nature of his rule put him at sharp odds with the senate, whose powers he drastically curtailed.

Domitian had a minor and largely ceremonial role during the reigns of his father and brother. After the death of his brother, Domitian was declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard. His 15-year reign was the longest since that of Tiberius. As emperor, Domitian strengthened the economy by revaluing the Roman coinage, expanded the border defenses of the empire, and initiated a massive building program to restore the damaged city of Rome. Significant wars were fought in Britain, where his general Agricola attempted to conquer Caledonia (Scotland), and in Dacia, where Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against king Decebalus. Domitian's government exhibited strong authoritarian characteristics; he saw himself as the new Augustus, an enlightened despot destined to guide the Roman Empire into a new era of brilliance. Religious, military, and cultural propaganda fostered a cult of personality, and by nominating himself perpetual censor, he sought to control public and private morals. As a consequence, Domitian was popular with the people and army, but considered a tyrant by members of the Roman Senate.

Domitian's reign came to an end in 96 when he was assassinated by court officials. He was succeeded the same day by his advisor Nerva. After his death, Domitian's memory was condemned to oblivion by the Roman Senate, while senatorial authors such as Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius propagated the view of Domitian as a cruel and paranoid tyrant. Modern revisionists instead have characterized Domitian as a ruthless but efficient autocrat whose cultural, economic, and political programs provided the foundation of the peaceful second century.

Flavian dynasty

The Flavian dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 69 AD and 96 AD, encompassing the reigns of Vespasian (69–79), and his two sons Titus (79–81) and Domitian (81–96). The Flavians rose to power during the civil war of 69, known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho died in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in mid 69. His claim to the throne was quickly challenged by legions stationed in the Eastern provinces, who declared their commander Vespasian emperor in his place. The Second Battle of Bedriacum tilted the balance decisively in favour of the Flavian forces, who entered Rome on December 20. The following day, the Roman Senate officially declared Vespasian emperor of the Roman Empire, thus commencing the Flavian dynasty. Although the dynasty proved to be short-lived, several significant historic, economic and military events took place during their reign.

The reign of Titus was struck by multiple natural disasters, the most severe of which was the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79. The surrounding cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were completely buried under ash and lava. One year later, Rome was struck by fire and a plague. On the military front, the Flavian dynasty witnessed the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70, following the failed Jewish rebellion of 66. Substantial conquests were made in Great Britain under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola between 77 and 83, while Domitian was unable to procure a decisive victory against King Decebalus in the war against the Dacians. In addition, the Empire strengthened its border defenses by expanding the fortifications along the Limes Germanicus.

The Flavians also initiated economic and cultural reforms. Under Vespasian, new taxes were devised to restore the Empire's finances, while Domitian revalued the Roman coinage by increasing its silver content. A massive building programme was enacted by Titus, to celebrate the ascent of the Flavian dynasty, leaving multiple enduring landmarks in the city of Rome, the most spectacular of which was the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum.

Flavian rule came to an end on September 18, 96, when Domitian was assassinated. He was succeeded by the longtime Flavian supporter and advisor Marcus Cocceius Nerva, who founded the long-lived Nerva–Antonine dynasty.

The Flavian dynasty was unique among the four dynasties of the Principate Era, in that it was only one man and his two sons, without any extended or adopted family.

List of ancient Greek and Roman roofs

The list of ancient roofs comprises roof constructions from Greek and Roman architecture ordered by clear span. Most buildings in classical Greece were covered by traditional prop-and-lintel constructions, which often needed to include interior colonnades. In Sicily truss roofs presumably appeared as early as 550 BC. Their potential was fully realized in the Roman period which saw over 30 m wide trussed roofs spanning the rectangular spaces of monumental public buildings such as temples, basilicas, and later churches. Such spans were thrice as large as the widest prop-and-lintel roofs and only superseded by the largest Roman domes.

List of ancient monuments in Rome

This is a list of ancient monuments from republican and imperial periods in the city of Rome, Italy.


Nerva (; Latin: Marcus Cocceius Nerva Caesar Augustus; 8 November 30 – 27 January 98 AD) was Roman emperor from 96 to 98. Nerva became emperor aged almost 66, after a lifetime of imperial service under Nero and the rulers of the Flavian dynasty. Under Nero, he was a member of the imperial entourage and played a vital part in exposing the Pisonian conspiracy of 65. Later, as a loyalist to the Flavians, he attained consulships in 71 and 90 during the reigns of Vespasian and Domitian, respectively.

On 18 September 96, Domitian was assassinated in a palace conspiracy involving members of the Praetorian Guard and several of his freedmen. On the same day, Nerva was declared emperor by the Roman Senate. This was the first time the Senate elected a Roman emperor. As the new ruler of the Roman Empire, he vowed to restore liberties which had been curtailed during the autocratic government of Domitian.

Nerva's brief reign was marred by financial difficulties and his inability to assert his authority over the Roman army. A revolt by the Praetorian Guard in October 97 essentially forced him to adopt an heir. After some deliberation Nerva adopted Trajan, a young and popular general, as his successor. After barely fifteen months in office, Nerva died of natural causes on 27 January 98. Upon his death he was succeeded and deified by Trajan.

Although much of his life remains obscure, Nerva was considered a wise and moderate emperor by ancient historians. Nerva's greatest success was his ability to ensure a peaceful transition of power after his death by selecting Trajan as his heir, thus founding the Nerva–Antonine dynasty.

Palace of Domitian

The Palace of Domitian (or Flavian Palace as other Flavian emperors also had a hand in its construction) sits atop the Palatine Hill, and was built as Domitian's imperial palace. Designed by the architect, Rabirius, the Palace is a massive three-part structure, separated to allow business matters and private life to be conducted in parallel. The modern names used for these parts are:

the Domus Flavia

the Domus Augustana

the garden or "stadium".The structure is near the House of Augustus. The palace was built on top of earlier buildings, notably Nero's Domus Transitoria and the Republican House of the Griffins, significant remains of which have been discovered.

Under Severus a large extension was added along the southwestern slope of the hill overlooking the Circus Maximus, but otherwise the bulk of the Palace as constructed under Domitian remained remarkably intact for the remainder of the Empire. The Palace functioned as the official residence of the Roman Emperors until the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD.

Rabirius (architect)

Rabirius was an ancient Roman architect who lived during the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. His designs included the massive Flavian Palace, situated on the Palatine Hill at Rome, and the Alban Villa at present-day Castel Gandolfo, both erected on a commission by his patron, emperor Domitian.It has been suggested that Rabirius designed the extant Arch of Titus, a commemorative arch located in summa Sacra Via honoring the joint triumph celebrated by Titus and Vespasian marking their successful suppression of the Jewish Revolt in 71 CE.

Septimius Severus

Septimius Severus (; Latin: Lucius Septimius Severus Augustus; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211), also known as Severus, was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna in the Roman province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the cursus honorum—the customary succession of offices—under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors.

After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the Roman generals Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia. Later that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province. Severus defeated Albinus three years later at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul.

After consolidating his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris. He then enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202 he campaigned in Africa and Mauretania against the Garamantes; capturing their capital Garama and expanding the Limes Tripolitanus along the southern desert frontier of the empire. He proclaimed as Augusti (co-emperors) his elder son Caracalla in 198 and his younger son Geta in 209.

In 208 he travelled to Britain, strengthening Hadrian's Wall and reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In the same year he invaded Caledonia (modern Scotland), but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill of an infectious disease, in late 210. Severus died in early 211 at Eboracum (today York, England), and was succeeded by his sons, thus founding the Severan dynasty. It was the last dynasty of the Roman empire before the Crisis of the Third Century.

Willem Backereel

Guiliam or Willem Backereel (1570 in Antwerp – 10 August 1626 in Rome), was a Flemish Baroque landscape painter.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.