Flavian Palace - History and Facts | History Hit

Flavian Palace

Rome, Lazio, Italy

The Flavian Palace, built by the Emperor Domitian on the Palatine Hill, was the place where several Roman emperors held their official functions.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Flavian Palace

The Flavian Palace (Domus Flavian) on Rome’s prestigious Palatine Hill was an Ancient Roman palace built by the Emperor Domitian in the first century AD.

A place where official functions were held, the Flavian Palace was the public counterpart to Domus Augustana, which served as the private home of Rome’s emperors.

The fountains in the courtyard of Flavian Palace are some of its most impressive remains.

Flavian Palace history

The Flavian Palace was completed in 92 AD by Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus, and attributed to his master architect, Rabirius.

Domitian, the last of the Flavian emperors, was not a particularly well-liked ruler. There were many rumours that he had murdered his brother, Titus, in order to secure his position as emperor. Due to the negative view people had of him and his rule, Domitian felt even more pressure to reaffirm his power. One of the most notable ways he did this was through the building of the Flavian Palace, one of the most exceedingly extravagant living quarters that have ever been built for an emperor.

The palatial complex was split into three main sections, the Domus Flavia with the public rooms used for official business, ceremonies and entertainment, the Domus Augustana was used as the private living quarters; the Stadium of Domitian was a porticoed sunken garden, only accessible to the Emperor, his family and inner circle.

The palace was built on top of the Domus Transitoria and the Domus Aurea of Nero and, in turn, later emperors made additions and some extended and built over Domitian’s palace. Notably, the ruins on the southeastern side of the palace were a later addition built by Septimus Severus and are supporting piers for a large extension which completely covered the eastern slope.

Flavian Palace today

Today visitors will need to use their imagination to see the true opulence of the palace. The palace is currently in ruins with some reconstructions done. It had 3 main areas: the public area (Domus Flavia), the private residential area (Domus Augstana), which took up more than two-thirds of the entire palace, and the gardens. The entire structure was built on man-made foundations stretching from the Gemeline hill to the Palatine, symbolically showing the emperor’s immense power in being able to manipulate nature.

What remains today pales in comparison to the original extravagance and luxury, the walls would have once soared in excess of 30 metres in height.

The palace grounds are immense; they include gardens, the stadium, guesthouses and pools.

Getting to Flavian Palace

Flavian Palace is located on Palatine Hill, around 1km and a 12 minute walk from the Colosseum.