Domus Flavia is situated on the Palatine Hill, between the Domus Augustana, the House of Augustus and the Circus Maximus.

This is the imperial palace built by the emperors of the Flavian dynasty at the end of the 1st century AD. It was an addition to the Domus Tiberiana, and was intended as a frame for the display of imperial power. As such it contains no living quarters, just public rooms..

The form of the palace is very similar to the traditional roman house, only much larger. The entrance is at the end of the Clivus Palatinus, and the front consists of three rooms: the so-called Lararium, the Aula Regia and the Basilica. Behind these public rooms is a large Peristyle and a Triclinum. On each side of the Triclinum are two splendid elliptical fountains.

The so-called Lararium was probably the entrance and ante-chamber of the imperial palace. The lares found there would be the imperial guard, but the name is a later invention based on the similarities of the plan of the palace and traditional roman houses. From the Lararium was a door leading to the Aula Regia just besides it. The Aula Regia was probably where the emperor would meet with his councilors. The third front room, the Basilica, was for audiences.

The Peristyle was a large collonaded courtyard with a labyrinth of low walls in the middle.

The Triclinium has an elaborate marble floor, which is doubled for heating by hot air, and several windows on the sides, towards the two fountains, of which only one is left.

Underground are remains of the Domus Transitoria (under the Triclinium) and of the House of the Griffins (under the Lararium)..

Very little is left of the palace, but the gound plan can be clearly seen.

The site is open to the public, but the subterranean parts are not.

Copyright © 2003 René Seindal, last changed 2003-08-06

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