Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Remnants of Caligula's Horti Lamiani now on display

During the four years that Caligula occupied the Roman throne, his favorite hideaway was an imperial pleasure garden called Horti Lamiani. The vast residential compound spread out on the Esquiline Hill, one of the seven hills on which the city was originally built, in the area around the current Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II.

There, just on the edge of the city, villas, shrines and banquet halls were set in carefully constructed “natural” landscapes. An early version of a wildlife park, the Horti Lamiani featured orchards, fountains, terraces, a bath house adorned with precious colored marble from all over the Mediterranean, and exotic animals, some of which were used, as in the Colosseum, for private circus games. 

Now, relics from the Horti Lamiani have been recovered and put on display by archaeologists. The objects and structural remnants on display in the museum paint a vivid picture of wealth, power and opulence including elaborate mosaics and frescoes, a marble staircase, capitals of colored marble and limestone, and an imperial guard’s bronze brooch inset with gold and mother-of-pearl.

Read more about it here:

Image:  A theatrical mask in marble dust, recovered from the Horti Lamiani, the pleasure garden of the Roman emperor Caligula courtesy of the New York Times.

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