Domus Aurea, Golden House Of Nero Essay, Research Paper
In AD 64, Nero set fire to the city of Rome. The exact reasons he did it are not fully known. It is thought that he partly did for poetic or artistic purposes, or for the purpose of clearing away a city that had currently dissatisfied him. In its place however he did rebuild a better Rome, for the most part that is. A large portion, and arguably too large of a portion, was expropriated for the use of his own residence to be called the Domus Aurea. This is translated: The Golden House, and so, the residence is called: The Golden House of Nero. While the Domus Aurea had rather unjustified reasoning behind it, it is one of the greatest architectural achievements of the ancient world.
Nero?s residence before his Golden House, was the Domus Transitoria. This was by now means any small living space. It was considered to be a mansion in itself. This palace linked to the Imperial Gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline hill. It also spanned up the Velian slope beside the Forum (Grant 164). However this structure was not destroyed in the fire of 64. However it did clear out a valley behind it making room for Nero?s future house. Promptly after the fire construction was begun on Nero?s Golden House. It would continue until AD 68 (Wheeler 142). In fact the Domus Transitoria would soon become part of the new Domus Aurea.
The architects of this great project were more engineers than they were architects. Their names were Severus and Celer (Picard 116). They were more like Italian bosses heading up a team of technicians who came to Rome in hordes due to their recent fire. However, these engineers main goal was to make the estate look bigger and be bigger without actually expanding. They accomplished by working on it from the inside out, utilizing paintings on walls that gave the impression of going on for infinity.
It is an under statement to refer to these buildings as houses at all though. They were clearly much more than this, in even their smallest proportions. The Domus Aurea itself was a series of buildings and landscapes designed to give the impression of a vast park in a relatively small area for such a thing (Picard 116). The idea behind this was that you would create something more beautiful for the beholder if your creation was beautiful for how you used the earth. For example, there was a large lake in the center of the Domus Aurea, and around it were situated villas and other buildings to go beyond the beauty of precious things, but to attain the beauty that only nature can give. Suetonius commented on the Domus Aurea saying:
?An enormous pool, more like a sea than pool, was surrounded by buildings made to resemble cities, and by a landscape garden consisting of ploughed fields, vineyards, pastures, and woodlands- where a variety of domestic and wild animals roamed about (Grant 170).?
The Domus Aurea took up about two- hundred and ninety to three hundred and forty acres (Maso 52). Never before had or would any monarch ever take such a large piece of the central city, for his own personal living quarters. As you can imagine, this made for a very restless people because the portion of Rome the site took up was heavily populated. For this the citizens of Rome came up with nasty verses like this:
The Palace is spreading and swallowing Rome!
Let us all flee to Veii and make it our home.
Yet the palace is growing so damnably fast,
That it threatens to gobble up Veii at last.
The building of this large and spacious building was one of the first clues to the Romans that the burning of Rome was not actually the Christians fault.
The Domus Transitoria had now become the entryway or vestibule to the Domus Aurea. Even though it was the biggest building on the property, it was at the head or beginning of Nero?s house (Grant 170). Directly to the left of the Domus Transitoria was the main residential building. It was at roughly a right angle and is hard to notice from a distance because it is built into a hill. In fact, one could almost miss it if they did not see tall, barrel ceiling hallways. The building was shallow; two to three stories high, and made up of two wings, a west and an east (Grant 172).
The west wing was thought to be the Place where Nero and Poppaea had their bedrooms, however it is difficult to say because more likely, their rooms would be on the second level. The west wing had two personal apartments, each with a bedroom, two other rooms, and chapel (Grant 172). At the back of these suites, the view was unimpeded by a hill because it had been cut away or just sloped down, but they looked out onto a garden type of courtyard with a fountain in the middle (Rossiter 141).
The east wing was shorter and shallower than the west wing. Its rooms faced openly out into the courtyard ahead. The Hall of the Golden Vault leads into the back of the wing into a corridor having no fa?ade. Here the building is built right into the hill and therefore cannot having any open facing side. This makes for a dark damp hallway that is very high running the length of the wing. At