Emperor Nero's Revolving Banqueting Room Discovered in Rome

Archaeology | September 30, 2009, Wednesday // 12:54|  views

The newly-excavated revolving banqueting hall of Roman Emperor Nero. Photo by EPA.

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the remains of Nero's dining hall.

While excavating the Domus Aurea, or Golden House, built for the emperor on the Palatine Hill in Rome, they discovered part of a circular room supported by a pillar with a diameter of more than 13 feet (4 meters).

The hall is said to have had a revolving wooden floor which allowed guests to survey a ceiling painted with stars and equipped with panels from which flower petals and perfume would shower onto the tables below.

Suetonius, the Roman historian, described the unique revolving room in his Lives of the Caesars, written some 60 years after Nero's death.

"The chief banqueting room was circular and revolved perpetually, night and day, in imitation of the motion of the celestial bodies," he wrote.

Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, an archaeological expert, said: "People have been trying to find the rotating dining room for a long time. We don't have much idea about it except for what Suetonius tells us. It could have had a revolving floor, or possibly a revolving ceiling. "If they really have discovered it, that would be exciting."

Roberto Cecchi, Rome's commissioner for archaeology, announced that funds would be made available to help archaeologists carry out further investigation and try to verify whether they have indeed found Nero's dining room.

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Tags: Nero, Emperor, dining room, Rome, Palatine, archaeology, Suetonius


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