House of Augustus opens to public

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From the bbc.co.uk article:
lmost 50 years ago, archaeologists searching for the ruined house of Augustus found a tiny clue buried deep in 2,000 years’ worth of rubble overlooking the Forum in Rome.

The single fragment of painted plaster, discovered in masonry-filled rooms, led the experts to unearth a series of exquisite frescoes commissioned by the man who would later become Rome’s first emperor.

On Sunday following decades of painstaking restoration, the frescoes in vivid shades of blue, red and ochre went on public show for the first time since they were painted in about 30BC.

One large room boasts a theatrical theme, its walls painted to resemble a stage with narrow side-doors.

High on the wall a comic mask peers through a small window.

Other trompe l’oeil designs include an elegant garden vista, yellow columns and even a meticulously sketched blackbird.

In 31BC Augustus – or Octavian, as he was then known – had triumphed over the combined forces of Mark Antony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium.

The victory brought Egypt, and with it immense wealth, into the empire.

But if the frescoes on the walls are exquisite, their surroundings, though impressive, with vaulted ceilings, are less than palatial.

The Roman historian Suetonius described how Augustus lived in a modest house on the Palatine before he assumed supreme power and built a sprawling imperial complex higher up the hill.

Read the rest of the article here.

Update 03/17/08
There is a good video clip about this story here.

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1 Response to “House of Augustus opens to public”


  1. 1 Richard Cheshire August 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Before he became Gaius Iulius Caesar and then Gaius Iulius Caesar Augustus he was Gaius Octavius Thurinus. Roman names are in the order Praenomen. Nomen, Cognomen Agnomen. One refers to them by their last names or their last two names. Thus at the end one could refer to him as Augustus or Caesar Augustus. He was never Octavian even before he changed his name. He might have been Octavius Thurinus or just Thurinus as the ancient sources show. Historians who refer to him as Octavian are misleading the general public because they are hiding his original name which tells one, as all Roman male names do, the man’s origins.


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