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The new room of the Golden house

Full tape of POLIT.RU 10.05.2019 at 11:11

Full tape POLIT.RU

In the course of restoration works in the premises of the Domus Aurea was discovered a previously unknown room, decorated with frescoes, the Italian news Agency ANSA.

the Message may seem strange, because as you can find room in the already known historical monument, but the fact that the Golden house (Domus aurea) of Nero was not a single building, and was a large complex of buildings and green areas like, for example, the French Versailles.

the Only difference from the Versailles parks, ponds, pavilions, and everything was arranged not for the city, and right in the centre of the capital. Nero helped the famous fire of Rome that occurred in 64 (the blame for which rumors had placed on the Emperor himself). In the place of the burnt buildings and was broken a Grand residence. The researchers have not come to a consensus regarding the total of its area. According to conservative estimates, the Palace and parks of the Golden house was located on the territory of 0,4 square kilometers, which is much higher than the Moscow Kremlin (0,277 sq km). At the most generous estimate of the area of the Golden house came to 1.2 square kilometers, even larger than the Forbidden city in Beijing (0,72 sq km).

Suetonius tells of the Golden house of Nero:

Hallway it was so high that it stood a colossal statue of the Emperor rising to a hundred and twenty ft [35.5 m]; its area was such that the triple portico on the sides was a mile long; inside was a pond like a sea, surrounded with buildings, like the cities, and then fields, and decked with arable land, pastures, forests and vineyards, and to them many domestic animals and wild animals. In other quarters it was all covered with gold, decorated with precious stones and pearl shells; in the dining chambers ceilings were of a piece with the rotary plates to scatter flowers, with holes to dissipate the aromas; the main chamber was round and day and night continuously rotated after firmament; in the baths flowed salty and sulfuric water ("Life of twelve Caesars", VI, 31, translated by M. L. Gasparov).

Another description left us by Tacitus, have not forgotten to reproach the founders of the Golden house in an excessive waste of means:

Nero built himself a Palace, caused General amazement is not so much abundance went on his finish of precious gems and gold — it was not unusual, as luxury brought them into wide use, so many meadows, ponds, scattered, as if in a rural solitude, there are forests, there are the Badlands, which opened distant species, which was performed under the supervision and according to the plans of the North and Celera, endowed with ingenuity and courage in the attempt through art to achieve what we deny nature, and in the waste of the Treasury of the Princeps ("the Annals" XV, 42, translated by A. S. Bobovich).

it Should be clarified that the mentioned Svedeniem a giant statue of Nero (called the Colossus of Nero), created by the Greek sculptor Zenodoros, contrary to the description of Suetonius, was not inside the Palace, and under the open sky. Yes, and its height, according to Pliny, was a little less not 120, and the 106.5 Roman feet (30.3 m). After the death of Nero, when the memory of it was trying to erase, a giant statue was regarded as an image of the sun God Sol. Under Emperor Hadrian, she was moved with the help of 24 elephants to the Flavian amphitheatre, which is due to the neighborhood it was eventually to be called the Colosseum.

Another inaccuracy, apparently, is contained in Suetonius about rotating the “main chamber”. It is assumed that rotate, not the whole room, and its ceiling, depicting the starry sky. By the way the image on the ceiling became one of the innovations applied in the construction of the Golden house. The mosaics that decorated the floors of ancient buildings, was first postponed to the ceiling. And although the Gold ceiling mosaics of the house is preserved only in fragments, laid them this tradition survived for a long time, and maybe its sequel, became a Christian mosaics in the churches of Rome, Constantinople, Ravenna and other cities.

One of the variants of reconstruction of the plan of the Golden house

Ceiling mural of the Golden house

the Modern view of the frescoes of the Golden house

Pretty quickly after Nero's death (68 year) is not completed before the end of the Golden house was abandoned. Vespasian and his successor Titus did not want to contain such a vast residence in the city. The most valuable elements of the decoration were gradually removed and transferred to other buildings, and the buildings partly destroyed, partly covered with soil, and over them was erected a new structure. On the Golden house was built the baths of Titus, temple of Venus and Roma, and a few decades later, extensive baths of Trajan. In place of an artificial lake erected the already mentioned Coliseum.

There is speculation that the famous statue of Laocoon and his sons, excavated in 1506 on the Esquiline and now in the Vatican museums, stood in one of the rooms of the Golden house. But this can be questioned, as particularly valuable items from the Golden house was taken in the first decade after Nero.

Remember the Golden house only in 1480-ies, when a Roman inadvertently fell through a cleft on the slope Esquiline and found himself in an underground cave with painted walls and ceilings. Soon, this place has especially penetrated the young Roman artists. With the help of ropes going down there and Michelangelo, and Raphael, and by Pinturicchio and many others. Fresco hard copied, and the motives of Roman artists entered the works of painters of XIV – XV centuries. The soil, which under the later emperors were buried built the Golden house, have served. Due to this, the frescoes on the walls were for centuries protected from access of air and relatively well preserved.

the intricate patterns of ancient frescoes exerted a significant influence on the art of the Renaissance, and also gave rise to the term "grotesque", that is a bizarre painting, like the one that the artists copied in the Roman "grots". Later archaeologists will find on the walls of the signatures left by visitors of the XV – XIX centuries, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Martin van Heemskerck, and Filippino Lippi to Casanova and the Marquis de Sade.

is Now known about one hundred and fifty of the premises remaining from the Golden house. A large part of them is underground. The most famous halls have their own names: "the Nymphaeum of Ulysses and Polyphemus," "the Room of Achilles at Skyros", "Room with Golden vault", the data in the images on their walls.

Unfortunately, to see these images from a fan of little chance. The discovery of the frescoes of the Golden house was the beginning of their demise. Moist air and, later, industrial pollution leads to loss of images. Part of the frescoes is much faded, and often does, now known only by copies made by the artists of the Renaissance. Excavated part of the Golden house, now belong to the archaeological Park Coliseum and surrounding areas. Sometimes there even allowed visitors in organized groups, but more often they remain closed. Work on the reconstruction lasted for years, employ as the complexity of the task and lack of funds.

And recently, when in the hall room 72 to continue the restoration work has established scaffolding, workers found a hole in the North wall of the hall, which from the bottom was not visible. When looked into it, it turned out that the wall is an unknown room, almost to the ceiling filled with soil and rubble. It is in this condition were the halls of the Golden house when they first saw the researchers XV – XVI centuries. So archaeologists first had a chance to look at the interior of the era of Nero.

Beyond the wall was discovered a rectangular room with a vaulted ceiling. The ceiling and visible upper part of the walls covered with white plaster and painted with frescoes. Among them are images of an armed man, fought with the Panther God pan, centaurs, satyrs, birds and the Sphinx on a pedestal (for him a new room has been called the Hall of the Sphinx).

Man fighting with a Panther

Sea monster

Types of figures and motifs allow you to rank them among the works of the so-called workshop And who worked between 65 and 68 ad, the Artists from this workshop used a white background, image light the architectural forms and small figures of people and animals to a good lighting even in a small, dark premises. Position the new room at the General plan of the Golden house indicates that she is one of the oldest and less known areas of the Palace. The buildings here were erected before the time of Nero, under his predecessor Claudius, and probably served as a warehouse. Under Nero they were repaired, painted in included in the Golden house.

At first glance, it seemed that the frescoes in good condition, but at a deeper study revealed that their surface is covered with deposits of salts and films of microscopic algae.

In many places the plaster had detached from the wall and was about to collapse. In difficult conditions the restorers have taken the first steps to save the found images and protect them from moisture.

the decision on the plan of the further work still to be taken. It is unclear even to decide whether archaeologists to unearth the buried room, ceiling height of which may exceed ten metres.