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Emperor Augustus’ workshop

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Emperor Augustus' workshop
Emperor Augustus' workshop

I am always fascinated by the possibility of “touching” the elements of reality that 2000 years ago accompanied the heroes of my novels. The Roman historian Suetonius writes about Octavian Augustus: “If ever he planned to do anything in private or without interruption, he had a retired place at the top of the house, which he called “Syracuse”​ and “technyphion”1.

It so happens that in the ruins of Augustus’ palace in Rome on the Palatine Hill (“Domus Augustea”), a small room with an exceptionally elegant finish was indeed found upstairs. Destroyed for centuries, the high-quality frescoes on the walls and stucco decorations on the ceiling have been meticulously recreated by archaeologists like a giant puzzle.

Imagination suggests that it could have been the infamous imperial office of “Syracuse”. Was it really where Augustus made decisions about the Empire? Was there talking to his wife Livia about the future of the imperial family? Did he dictate the letters quoted by Suetonius there? We’ll never know. But the very fact that we are looking at a place where perhaps the fate of Europe and the entire Mediterranean basin was decided makes the heart beat faster.

Author: Michał Kubicz - sekrety Rzymu (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  • Suetonius, Augustus, 72

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