Archive for March 9th, 2008

Augustus’ home open to the public

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Technically, it’s Octavian’s home because he lived in it with Livia in 30 BC, right after his victory over Marc Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 BC, but before he donned the title of Augustus in 27 BC.

It was a modest home in terms of size, but the 4 rooms that have been restored and open to the public are decorated with the most gorgeous frescoes I’ve ever seen.

Some of his interior decoration was found intact when the Italian archaeologist Professor Gianfilippo Carettoni finally broke through to the rooms in the early 1970s.

Other frescoes had to be pieced together from fragments found by a team led by Irene Jacopi, the archaeologist in charge of the Palatine Hill.

The art is so delicate that no more than five visitors at a time will be able to enter the rooms. Nevertheless, they are expected to attract large crowds.

Also notable is the graffiti the builders left behind. They sketched a design for what might have been a floor mosaic and signed their names to it. It’s not often you to find out the names of contractors who worked on a house 2000 years ago.

Some pictures of the frescoes:

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