Horti Lamiani

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Commodus as Hercules, well-known sculpture from the Horti Lamiani

The Horti Lamiani (Lamian Gardens) were a set of gardens located atop the Esquiline Hill in Rome, in the area around the present Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. They were based on the gardens of the consul Lucius Aelius Lamia, a friend of Tiberius, and the Horti Lamiani soon (based on the time of Caligula) became part of the imperial property.


The land where the gardens were located, located outside the Servian Wall, was purchased by Lucius Aelius Lamia, the Roman consul in 3 CE and friend of Tiberius, who developed the initial gardens on the land. Upon the deaths of Tiberius and Caligula, who developed the property, the gardens became imperial property and Caligula was briefly buried at the site.[1] The Horti Lamiani adjoined the Gardens of Maecenas and the Gardens of Maiani.[2][3]

The first excavations took place in the sixteenth century and finds such as a copies of the Discobolus and Nozze Aldobrandini were unearthed, many of which are now located in museums. Rodolfo Lanciani began excavations in the area in the nineteenth century but his work was not completed. The immense building complex of the Horti Lamiani was brought to light in these excavations but was quickly re-buried. Decorations of the complex included frescoes, architectural elements in coloured marbles, and innumerable bronze sheets with inset gemstones. It has also produced important sculptural groups, like the well-known Esquiline Venus supported by two priests or Muses and the portrait of Commodus as Hercules bordered by tritons (both now in the Capitoline Museums collection). Between 2006 and 2009, excavations found previously undiscovered areas of the building complex of the Horti Lamiani.[4] Other excavations took place during the construction of metro line A between January 2005 and November 2006.[5]


  1. ^ Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caesars: Life of Caligula, 121 CE.
  2. ^ Samuel Ball Platner; Thomas Ashby. A topographical dictionary of Ancient Rome, Oxford University Press, 1929, p. 269.
  3. ^ CIL VI 8668.
  4. ^ Mariarosaria Barbera et al., La villa di Caligola: Un nuovo settore degli Horti Lamiani scoperto sotto la sede dell'ENPAM a Roma, 2010, pp. 1-59.
  5. ^ S. Barrano; D. Colli; M. Teresa Martines. Un nuovo settore degli Horti Lamiani, 2007, pp. 1-13.

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Coordinates: 41°53′40″N 12°30′17″E / 41.8945°N 12.5047°E / 41.8945; 12.5047