Roman emperor Nero's first house rebuilt, virtually

Press Trust of India London | Updated on April 17, 2011

Experts have virtually reconstructed the first house built by the controversial Roman emperor Nero accused of nearly destroying ancient city of Rome itself by allegedly setting the Great Fire in 64 AD.

The magnificent residence on the Palatine hill, where the emperor lived in the first years of his reign, was built around 60 AD but destroyed in Great Fire that devastated Rome.

The reconstructed house of Nero, who became emperor at just age 17 in 54 AD, will open to the public at the end of the summer, according to Italian authorities.

Stretching for about 1.2 miles along key archaeological sites of ancient Rome, the exhibition, which runs until September 18, aims to show the many faces of Nero (37 - 68 AD), the ‘Discovery News' reported.

Fifth emperor

Notorious for being a cruel megalomaniac tyrant who persecuted early Christians, had his stepbrother, two of his wives and even his own mother murdered, Rome's fifth emperor, Nero, has never been held dear in Roman history.

The palace, named Domus Transitoria, was an architectural masterpiece which stretched from the Palatine, where Nero first lived with his granduncle and adoptive father Claudius and his mother Agrippina, to the gardens of Maecenas on the Esquiline.

Ruined and replaced

Built around 60 AD, it was ruined in the Great Fire four years later and was replaced by the Domus Aurea, one of the most opulent palatial complexes ever constructed. After his death, subsequent emperors officially destroyed most of whatever remained of Nero's first castle after the great fire.

But excavations, which began in the 18th century, brought to light some fragmentary complexes. “Based on the archaeological evidence, we have produced the first ever 3D virtual reconstruction of the complex,” Rossella Rea, Director of the Colosseum, said.

Published on April 17, 2011

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