Flavian Palace

By the Editors of the Madain Project

  • This article is a stub as it does not provide effective content depth for the core subject discussed herein. We're still working to expand it, if you'd like to help with it you can request expansion. This tag should be removed, once the article satisfies the content depth criteria.
    What is this?

The Flavian Palace, commonly referred to as the Domus Flavia, constitutes a component of the expansive Palace of Domitian situated on Rome's Palatine Hill. Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus oversaw its construction, and it was finalized in the year 92 CE. The design is credited to Rabirius, the master architect of the time.

See Location   Home > N/A
See Subject   Home > Europe > Italy > Rome > Palatine Hill > Flavian Palace


The term "Domus Flavia" is a contemporary designation for the northwestern part of the Palace, which houses the majority of the expansive "public" spaces intended for official affairs, social gatherings, and ceremonial functions. While Domitian marked the final ruler of the Flavian dynasty, the palace remained in use by subsequent emperors with minor adjustments until the empire's eventual decline.

Notable Structures


Elliptical Nymphaeum of Domus Flavia
At the sides of the triclinium and communicating with it were two symmetrical porticoed courtyards with one curved side. One of the two now lies underneath the Palatine Museum while the other is better preserved; the foundations of the colonnade, some fragments of its yellow marble columns and much of the outer wall with doors and niches for statues have survived. In the center ofthe courtyard was an elliptical fountain, entirely covered in white marble,with several basics at three different heights filled by cascades of water.


Audience Hall of Domus Flavia
The largest room, probably reserved for audiences with the emperor, is traditionally known as the "audience chamber" (aula regia). It was of exceptional size (1280 square meters) and had a complex architectural decoration of which many features survive. Eight niches for colossal statues opened in to the walls; two were recovered intact in 1724 CE, a Hercules and a Bacchus in green basalt, whilst only the head of a Jupiter was found. The niches were inside bays and framed by a colonnade several storeys high, with finely carved bases and capitals and a frieze with military motifs.


Lararium of Domus Flavia
The smaller room next to the so-called "audience chamber" is known as the Lararium because when it was discovered it had a podium at the back, accessible from two small staircases and clad in coloured marble, interpreted as an altar for the domestic cult of the emperor's Lares. Though, the room's function remains uncertain. Behind it is a chamber with two flights of stairs leading out of it; one up to the upper floor of the palace and the other to a cellar where wine amphorae inscribed with the marker's name were found.

Notable Architectural Elements

circa 60 CE

Inlaid Marble
The magnificient inlaid marble floor with its elegant geometrical and floral design was excavated in the early twentieth century CE together with the rooms beneath attributed to Nero's Domus Transitoria, to which it is usually though to belong. In fact the floor has a different orientation from Nero's buildings but similar to that of the nearby Augustan complex, making its attribution uncertain. The floor belonged toa hall with internal porticoes supported by columns, of which the foundations in travertine blocks survive. It is located directly adjacent (north-west) to the "eliptical nymphaeum".

Gallery Want to use our images?

See Also


Let's bring some history to your inbox

Signup for our monthly newsletter / online magazine.
No spam, we promise.

Privacy Policy