81—96 CE. Rome, Roman ForumPhoto by Sabina Tariverdieva


81—96 CE.

Rome, Roman Forum
(Roma, Foro Romano).

In this area, where the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua was later erected, Domitian built a great hall, which we can identify as the Athenaeum, the school of rhetoric, whose name refers to Athena/Minerva, the goddess of intellectual activities. Close by was an immense vaulted hall, probably a library. The walls in fact consisted of superimposed niches reached by galleries or walkways, like the great libraries of the imperial period. Vespasian was the first emperor to establish a state salary for the teachers of rhetoric and it is therefore very likely that Domitian created a suitable building, with libraries, for higher education.
Domitian also built a ramp linking the structure to the Domus Tiberiana, which faced on to this area of the Forum. The young heirs to the Imperial throne resided and were educated in the Domus Tiberiana and the ramp would have been needed to link the two buildings.
© 2009. Photo: S. Tariverdieva.
Text: tablet on the Roman Forum.
Keywords: αρχιτεκτονική architectura architecture architettura architektur ρώμη rome roma rom athenaeum school of rhetoric vaulted hall arches niches ritors library wall brick brickwork