Domus Augustana

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Main article: Palace of Domitian
Plan of the Palatine buildings
Domus Augustana: P2: 2nd peristyle P3: 3rd peristyle Co: courtyard Ex: grand exedra S: Stadium Tr: Tribune of the Stadium

The Domus Augustana is the modern name for the so-called domestic wing of the ancient and vast Roman Palace of Domitian (92 AD) on the Palatine Hill.[1]

Its name is not directly related to Augustus and should not be confused with the Domus Augusti.

However, it would seem that only the southern section of this domus was reserved for the private quarters of the emperor. The two peristyles to the north were likely to have public functions as they were directly connected with the Domus Flavia. This hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that the southern section was built a little later and some details suggest that it was not Rabirius who directed the work.[2]


2nd peristyle garden looking south
"3rd Peristyle" garden looking south

The Domus Augustana consists of at least four main parts: the "2nd Peristyle" to the northeast, the central "3rd Peristyle", the courtyard complex and the exedra on the southwest.

The 2nd Peristyle garden is partly exposed but little is known of its architecture. The 3rd Peristyle was filled almost completely with a huge pool as wide as that of the Domus Flavia and included a seascape perhaps of Greek mythology on an island and with sculpture in the water.[3] Other sources say that a temple was built on the island, namely a temple of Minerva.[4] On its southwest side the walls still stand to a considerable height with several rooms around a semicircular hall.

"Courtyard" garden of the Domus Augustana looking east to the Severan Baths

The courtyard complex has two levels, the upper containing complex sets of rooms and the lower, 10 m below, consists of a pool with an unusual design of islands.

The great exedra is a long curving arcaded gallery linking the two wings and overlooking the Circus Maximus allowing the emperor to watch the races.


  1. ^ "Domus Augustana - Rome, Italy - History and Visitor Information". 
  2. ^ Filippo Coarelli, Rome and surroundings, an archaeological guide, University of California Press, London, 2007, p 151
  3. ^ Rome, An Oxford Archaeological Guide, A. Claridge, 1998 p 139
  4. ^ Archaeological Guide to Rome, Adriano La Regina, 2005, Electa, p 65

Other Sources[edit]

  • Rome, An Oxford Archaeological Guide, A. Claridge, 1998 ISBN 0-19-288003-9
  • A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):Oxford University Press, 1929