Domitian’s Palace on the Palatine and the Imperial Image


in Representations of Empire

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780197262764
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753947 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Domitian’s Palace on the Palatine and the Imperial Image

Show Summary Details


A Roman emperor was defined not simply by his own actions, but also by the manner in which he presented himself, the way he appeared in public, and the personal style he adopted in his interaction with the Senate and the people. A major element of that style lay in the manner of his domestic life and, closely related to this, how he handled the rituals associated with the imperial residence, such as the salutation and, above all, the invitations to an imperial convivium. Should the power of the emperor be put on display or concealed? In what kinds of settings should he carry out his duties? How could he simultaneously show off his status and power while playing the princeps in the manner of Augustus? It was evident from the very start that here was a fundamental flaw in the artful construction of Augustus. This is most evident in the honorific statues and other monuments associated with the worship of the emperor, in which Augustus and his Julio-Claudian successors, during their lifetimes, were represented both as civic officials in the toga and as nude figures with bodies modelled on gods and heroes. This chapter tries to understand better the new residence that Domitian built on the Palatine, at vast expense, to the plans of the architect Rabirius (according to Martial 7. 56), as a monument of imperial projection.

Keywords: Roman emperors; Augustus; Domitian; Palatine; statues; monuments; Rabirius; salutation; convivium; princeps

Chapter.  9436 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at British Academy »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.