13 Imperial Palace on the Palatine Hill

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By Diana E E Kleiner | Roman Architecture Lecture 13 of 24
Lecture Description

Professor Kleiner investigates the major architectural commissions of the emperor Domitian, the last Flavian emperor. She begins with the Arch of Titus, erected after Titus' death by his brother Domitian on land previously occupied by Nero's Domus Transitoria. The Arch celebrated Titus' greatest accomplishment--the Flavian victory in the Jewish Wars--and may have served as Titus' tomb. Professor Kleiner also discusses the Stadium of Domitian, the shape of which is preserved in Rome's Piazza Navona. Her major focus is the vast Imperial Palace on the Palatine Hill designed by the architect Rabirius and featuring Domitian as dominus et deus (lord and god). Constructed from brick-faced concrete and revetted with multicolored imported marbles, this structure was divided into public and private wings, and was so magnificent that it served as the urban residence of all subsequent Roman emperors. The lecture concludes with the so-called Forum Transitorium, a narrow forum begun by Domitian and finished by his successor Nerva, which features a temple to Domitian's patron goddess Minerva and a series of decorative columnar bays that create a lively in-and-out undulation that heralds the beginning of a "baroque" phase in Roman architecture.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection.

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