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Domus Aurea

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Nero and Agrippina
Nero and Agrippina

Nero and Agrippina

C.C. Joe Geranio at Flickr.com

Agrippina the Younger, great grand-daughter of Augustus and sister of the incestuous emperor Caligula, married her uncle Claudius in A.D. 49. At the time, her son, Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, was 11 or 12. Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus is known to us as Nero. He was engaged to Claudius' daughter Octavia. In A.D. 50, Agrippina persuaded Claudius to adopt Nero and give preference to him over her husband's own son, Britannicus. From the time of this adoption, Nero became Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus. In A.D. 54 Claudius died and Nero became the last of the Julio-Claudian line of emperors of Rome.

The Golden Palace Nero's Raging Fire Built

Nero was a cruel and decadent emperor who turned a great Roman disaster to personal benefit. This disaster was the burning of Rome in A.D. 64, at which time Nero turned much of the burned land over to his personal, Eastern-influenced pleasure palace, the domus aurea, built, but perhaps not finished, between 65 and 68 A.D., covering perhaps as much as 80 hectares and parts of the Palatine, Esquiline, and Caelian hills. Its form has been influential since the Renaissance.

For more on emperors' personal reception halls, see:
"The Reception Halls of the Roman Emperors," by Axel Boëthius (The Annual of the British School at Athens © 1951).

For information on what was done to the domus aurea after Nero, see:
"The Date of the Thermae Traiani and the Topography of the Oppius Mons," by James C. Anderson, Jr. (American Journal of Archaeology © 1985).

For more of a round-up of general information on the domus aurea, see:
"The Domus Aurea Reconsidered," by P. Gregory Warden (Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians © 1981).

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