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Chrystina Häuber (2021): The Cancelleria Reliefs and Domitian's Obelisk in Rome in context of the legitimation of Domitian's reign. With studies on Domitian's building projects in Rome, his statue of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus, the colossal portrait of Hadrian (now Constantine the Great), and Hadrian's portrait from Hierapydna.
In Honour of Rose Mary Sheldon. With Contributions by John Bodel, Emanuele M. Ciampini, Amanda Claridge, Angelo Geißen, Laura Gigli, Hans Rupprecht Goette, Peter Herz, Eugenio La Rocca, Eric M. Moormann, Jörg Rüpke, Franz X. Schütz, R.R.R. Smith, Giandomenico Spinola, Mario Torelli, Walter Trillmich, Claudia Valeri, and T.P. Wiseman.
FORTVNA PAPERS, edited by Franz Xaver Schütz and Chrystina Häuber, Volume III, 2021.

siehe auch:

- Chrystina Häuber: Dedication, TABLE OF CONTENTS, Chapter IV Frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs and the Obeliscus Pamphilius/ Domitian's obelisk
- version 6.10.2021, 997 KB

- Contribution by Emanuele M Ciampini: La regalità domizianea: una nota egittologica - version 2.2.2022, 129 KB

- Chrystina Häuber, korrigierte und erweiterte Karte Map 3 aus C. HÄUBER 2014, jetzt `Fig. 71´. Dazu einige Textpassagen aus Appendix I. aus FORTVNA PAPERS III zur Lokalisierung des Lucus Fagutalis und des mundus, sowie zur Flucht Domitians vom Capitolium am 19. Dezember 69 n. Chr. / corrected and updated Map 3 from C. HÄUBER 2014, now `Fig. 71´. With some text passages from Appendix I. in FORTVNA PAPERS III concerning the locations of the Lucus Fagutalis and of the mundus and concerning Domitian's escape from the Capitolium on 19th December AD 69.




What this study is all about


This study analyses the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Figs. 1; 2) and tries to answer the question: to which monument or building did these panels belong? This structure was commissioned by the Emperor Domitian, whose other building projects at Rome are likewise discussed. The text is divided into Chapters I.-VI., and is supplemented by Appendices I.-V. To some of these Appendices belong separate studies on specific subjects, inter alia on famous sculptures.

To Chapter I.2. The amazon-like figure on Frieze A (cf. here Fig. 1): Dea Roma, not Virtus belongs:

I.2. The consequences of Domitian's assassination:

Nerva is forced to adopt Trajan and Trajan creates Domitian's negative image to consolidate his own reign. With Hadrian's adoption manquée in October of AD 97, his 20-year long road to his accession and his thanksgivings for it, his Temple complex in the Campus Martius. Or :

The wider topographical context of the Arch of Hadrian alongside the Via Flaminia which led to the (later) Hadrianeum and to Hadrian's Temples of Diva Matidia (and of Diva Sabina?). With discussions of Hadrian's journey from Moesia Inferior to Mogontiacum (Mayence) in order to congratulate Trajan on his adoption by Nerva, and of Hadrian's portrait-type Delta Omikron (Δο) (cf. here Fig. 3). With The fourth and the fifth Contributions by Peter Herz, with The Contribution by Franz Xaver Schütz, and with The Contribution by John Bodel.

To Appendix I.g.4.) Domitian's sacellum of Iuppiter Conservator, his Temple of Iuppiter Custos, and his (fourth) Temple of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus belongs:

A Study on Domitian's cult-statue of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus (cf. here Fig. 10).

To Appendix IV.c.1.) Final remarks on Appendix IV.b) and Appendix IV.c): Hadrian's efforts to legitimize his reign at the beginning of his principate, as expressed in the Anaglypha Hadriani ... belongs:

A Study on the colossal portrait of Hadrian (now Constantine the Great) in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori at Rome (cf. here Fig. 11). With The Contribution by Hans Rupprecht Goette

To Appendix IV.c.2.) The Ogulnian monument ... and the she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus on two headless cuirassed statues of Flavian emperors (Domitian? and Titus or Vespasian?) in the Vatican Museums (cf. here Figs. 6, left; 6, right) and on Hadrian's cuirassed statue from Hierapydna at Istanbul ... belongs:

A Study on Hadrian's portrait-statue from Hierapydna (cf. here Fig. 29).

In six cases, I have followed the views of earlier scholars, that have been contested in the meantime:

1.) Filippo Magi (1939; id. 1945) in believing that the emperor, represented on frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Fig. 2; Figs. 1 and 2 drawing: figures 14 and 12), was from the very beginning Vespasian, and that the togate youth, standing in front of him, is his younger son Domitian;

 Cancelleria Reliefs (Photo: F.X. Schütz 3/2006)
Cancelleria Reliefs (Photo: F.X. Schütz 3/2006)

2.) I have followed those scholars, who suggest that Flavius Sabinus and his men comprising Domitian, when taking refuge on the Capitoline Hill on 18th December AD 69, did not withdraw to the Arx, as has been suggested, but instead to the Capitolium, that is to say within the area Capitolina;

Fig. 28. Obeliscus Pamphilius/ Domitian's Obelisk. From the 
 Iseum Campense. On display on top of Gianlorenzo Bernini's `Fountain 
 of the Four Rivers´ in the Piazza Navona at Rome / Der Obeliscus Pamphilius/ der Obelisk Domitians. Aus dem Iseum Campense. Er befindet sich 
 auf Gianlorenzo Berninis Vierströmebrunnen auf der Piazza Navona in Rome (Photo: F.X. Schütz 5. September 2019).
Fig. 28. Obeliscus Pamphilius/ Domitian's Obelisk. From the Iseum Campense. On display on top of Gianlorenzo Bernini's `Fountain of the Four Rivers´ in the Piazza Navona at Rome / Der Obeliscus Pamphilius/ der Obelisk Domitians. Aus dem Iseum Campense. Er befindet sich auf Gianlorenzo Berninis Vierströmebrunnen auf der Piazza Navona in Rome (Photo: F.X. Schütz 5. September 2019).

3.) Instead of believing that Domitian erected his obelisk (cf. here Fig. 28) in front of his Templum Gentis Flaviae, as has recently been suggested, I have followed those earlier scholars, who were of the opinion that Domitian commissioned his obelisk for the square (cf. here Fig. 78) between the Temples of Isis and Serapis in the Campus Martius (i.e., the Iseum Campense), both built anew by the emperor after the great fire of AD 80. Domitian's obelisk is now on display on Gianlorenzo Bernini's famous Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona at Rome;

4.) Mario Torelli (1987) in believing that Domitian's sestertius of AD 95/96 (cf. here Fig. 30) and the "Rilievo Terme Vaticano" (cf. here Fig. 31) represent the Templum Gentis Flaviae, built by Domitian;

5.) Cécile Evers (1991) in believing that the colossal acrolithic statue of Constantine the Great (cf. here Fig. 11) in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori at Rome was reworked from a statue of Hadrian;

6.) T.P. Wiseman (1987-2019) and Amanda Claridge (1998; ead. 2010; ead. 2014) in believing that Octavian/ Augustus, although the owner of the "House of Augustus", did not live there, but, when this house was hit by lightning in 36 BC, erected the Temple of Apollo Palatinus on top of it, which was oriented towards the north-east. And that the (real) House of Augustus, the former House of Hortensius, stood at the site of Domitian's `Domus Flavia´/ Domus Augustana.

For a discussion of the Cancelleria Reliefs; cf. infra, at Chapters I.; II.; III.; IV.; V.; VI.; for summaries of my hypotheses concerning point 1.), cf. infra, at Chapters V.1.d; V.1.h; V.1.h.1.); V.1.h.2); V.1.i.3.) and VI.3.

My hypotheses concerning point 2.), Domitian's escape from the Capitolium on 19th December AD 69, are to be found in Appendix I. and in Appendix IV.

For my hypotheses concerning point 3.), Domitian's obelisk, which he erected at the Iseum Campense, for my hypotheses concerning Domitian's Iseum Campense, and concerning Domitian's Templum Gentis Flaviae; cf. infra, at Chapter II.3.1.d); Section II; Chapter II.3.1.d); Section XII; Chapters IV.1.; IV.1.1.a-f); IV.1.1.h); and V.1.i.3.a); Appendix I.g); Appendix I.g.1.); Appendix I.g.2.); Appendix I.g.3.); Appendix II.; and Appendix III.

For a discussion of point 4.), that the sestertius, issued by Domitian in AD 95/96, and the "Rilievo Terme Vaticano" represent the Templum Gentis Flaviae; cf. infra, at Chapter II.3.1.d); Section II.; Chapter II.3.1.d); Section XII.; Chapters IV.1.1.h); V.1.i.3.a); Appendix I.g.3.); Sections I.-IV.; Appendix IV.c.1.); and Appendix IV.c.2.).

For a discussion of point 5.), that the colossal acrolithic statue of Constantine the Great in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori at Rome was reworked from a statue of Hadrian; cf. infra, at Appendix IV.c.1.); Appendix IV.c.2.); and at A Study on the colossal portrait of Hadrian (now Constantine the Great) in the courtyard of the Palazzo dei Conservatori at Rome (cf. here Fig. 11). With The Contribution by Hans Rupprecht Goette.

For a discussion of point 6.), the "House of Augustus", the Temple of Apollo Palatinus, the House of Hortensius and the (real) House of Augustus; cf. infra, at Chapter II.3.1.d); Sections I.-XII.; and Appendix V.; Section IX.

Only after having finished writing my text on the Cancelleria Reliefs, did I come across the research of Rita Paris (1994b) on the Templum Gentis Flaviae. Her findings, especially those concerning the relief, representing Vespasian's adventus into Rome in AD 70 (cf. here Fig. 33), which she discusses in context with Frieze A and B of the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Figs. 1; 2), support my overall hypothesis concerning those panels. I have added the Chapter V.1.i.3.a) to my text, in which Paris's research is presented.

Even later than that, I was alerted to the article by John Pollini (2017b) on the so-called Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36) which, exactly like the relief Fig. 33 from the Templum Gentis Flaviae, shows great similarities with the Cancelleria Reliefs. I have, therefore, also added Chapter V.1.i.3.b), in which Pollini's discussion on both subjects is summarized. His analyses of the Nollekens Relief and of the Cancelleria Reliefs corroborate likewise the here developed view of the Cancelleria Reliefs.

I had just found in John Pollini's article (2017b, 124 with n. 118) the famous line by Augustus (RG 13): parta victoriis pax (`peace through victory´), when I received the manuscript of the article by Rose Mary Sheldon, which has appeared in the meantime (cf. ead., "Insurgency in Germany: The Slaughter of Varus in the Teutoburger Wald", 2020), that she was so kind as to send me on 2nd November 2019, and in which she has greatly expanded her earlier relevant observations; cf. Sheldon (2001).

Rose Mary Sheldon (2020a) thus provided me with a classic example of what Augustus' doctrine `peace through victory´ in reality may have meant. P. Quintilius Varus, "the commander of the Rhine army" (R.M. SHELDON 2020a, 1011), was precisely one of those men, who was supposed to provide Augustus' subjects in the provinces with `peace through victory´. For Sheldon's and Pollini's just mentioned observations in detail; cf. infra, at Appendix IV.c.1.). Sheldon (2020a) describes the events that led to P. Quintilius Varus' catastrophic defeat in the Teutoburger Wald in AD 9 and to the destruction of his entire army, the battle itself and its extraordinary historical impact. There, to regain their liberty, Arminius, his Cherusci and their allies, destroyed Varus' three Roman legions, and the many Roman civilians acompanying them, in the course of three days. 20,000 Romans soldiers and 10,000 civilians perished in the Teutoburger Wald, comprising one tenth of Augustus' entire thirty legions; cf. Sheldon (2020a, 1014, 1018, 1025, 1030). - As a result of this, the area of Germany to the east of the Rhine was henceforth called Germania libera; and Sheldon (2020a, 1013 with n. 25, quoting Tacitus, Annals 2,88) writes about Arminius: "no doubt, the liberator of Germany". To Arminius I will come back below (cf. infra, at Appendix IV.c.1.); Appendix IV.c.2.); and Appendix IV.d.2.d)).

Sheldon's article (2020) reached me right in time to make me realize what it meant to the people in the Roman provinces, to be deprived of great parts of their income in form of taxes, because Augustus or later emperors, such as Domitian (or for example Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian and Septimius Severus, whose relevant actions are also discussed in this study), spent such enormous sums on their (building) projects.

Concentrating predominantly on Domitian, this study tries to answer the question, why Domitian felt the desperate need to build `in such a pharaonic manner´, as has (similarly) first been suggested by Mario Torelli (1987, 575, quoted verbatim infra, in n. 228, at Chapter I.2.). This notorious characteristic of Domitian has aptly been called "Bauwut" (`building rage´) by Stephanie Langer and Michael Pfanner (2018, 41 with n. 23); cf. infra, in n. 480, at Chapter VI.3.; and at Appendix IV.d.4.b) Domitian's building project comprising the Campus Martius, the Capitoline Hill and the sella between Arx and Quirinal. With detailed discussion of the Templum Pacis.

Of course, Domitian's building policy has already been studied by many previous scholars. In the following, I therefore anticipate a conclusion, at which I have arrived below (cf. infra, at Chapter II.3.1.c)):

`Eric M. Moormann (2018, 162) mentions "three fields of interest in Domitian's building policy", as defined by Jens Gering (2012, 210-211): "personal grandeur, family memory and legitimization"´.

This is exactly how, in my opinion, also the contents of the Cancelleria Reliefs can be defined. Contrary to all other scholars - the only exception being Wolfgang Kuhoff - I have concentrated in this study on a comparison of the contents of Frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Fig. 2) with the contents of Domitian's obelisk, which the emperor erected at the Iseum Campense (cf. here Fig. 28): namely the contents of the representations on the pyramidion of this obelisk, as well as the contents of its hieroglyphic texts. And I happily confess that my research on this obelisk was only possible thanks to the generous support by the Egyptologist Emanuele M. Ciampini. To this I will come back below in a minute. - As I only realized after having conducted this research, a comparison between Frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs and the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Domitian's obelisk has actually been drawn before, cf. Wolfgang Kuhoff` (1993, 77 with n. 103, quoted verbatim infra, in Chapter IV.1.), who mentions his relevant findings in a footnote.

To attain this goal, two avenues of research have been pursued in this study, at first was made a detailed analysis of the contents of Frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs, and second, on the basis of this, a comparison of those contents with the contents of the representations on the pyramidion of Domitian's obelisk, as well as with the contents of its hieroglyphic texts, both of which have been analysed by Ciampini (2004; id. 2005. This article is quoted verbatim in its entirety; cf. infra, at Chapter IV.1.1.d.). See also The first Contribution by Emanuele M. Ciampini in this volume: La regalità domizianea: una nota egittologica.

As a result of this comparison, I suggest that exactly the same themes (as on Frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs) are also formulated in the representations on the pyramidion and in the hieroglyphic texts of Domitian's obelisk.

The contents of Frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs are hotly debated, and what I am presenting here is my own opinion (for a summary of the relevant debate by other scholars; cf. infra, at Chapters I.1.; I.1.1.; and VI.1.). The contents of the representations on the pyramidion of Domitian's obelisk are likewise debated, but the hieroglyphic texts of Domitian's obelisk, on the contrary, have the great advantage that here Domitian's propaganda is formulated expressis verbis. See for both Ciampini (2004; id. 2005); cf. also infra, at Chapter IV.1.1.f)); and at The first Contribution by Emanuele M. Ciampini in this volume: La regalità domizianea: una nota egittologica), as well as my own comments on all those subjects (cf. infra, at Preamble: Domitian's negative image; II. Conclusions: Domitian's representations of his military successes and his claims to be of divine descent and to possess a divine nature; III. My own thoughts about Domitian; at Chapters IV.1; IV.1.1.a); IV.1.1.b); IV.1.1.c); IV.1.1.d); IV.1.1.f); and VI.3.). - Whether or not I have been able to define correctly: 1.) the contents of Frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs; and 2.) the contents of the representations on the pyramidion of Domitian's obelisk, as well as of the hieroglyphic texts of Domitian's obelisk, can both only be judged by other scholars.

But one thing is clear. Egyptologists are certainly able to add many more insights to this complex subject, when studying in-depth the hieroglyphic texts on Domitian's obelisk - as well as other Egyptian texts that have been created at Rome in the Flavian period. On 28th October 2022, after this Chapter was written so far, reached me an E-mail by Emanuele M. Ciampini, who kindly informed me that the paper, prepared by himself and by the Egyptologist Federica Pancin, has been accepted for a Conference, wich has the following title: The Damned Despot : Rethinking Domitian and the Flavian World, and will be held at Rome from 18-21 January 2023.

This Conference is organized by Antony Augoustakis, Emma Buckley, Nathalie de Haan, Eric Moormann, Maria Paola del Moro, Massimiliano Munzi, Claudio Parisi Presicce, Aurora Raimondi Cominesi, and Claire Stocks.

In their paper, Ciampini and Pancin intend to present precisely that, the results of their current research on the Egyptian inscriptions, created at Rome in the Flavian period, comprising those on Domitian's obelisk. The title of the paper by Emanuele M. Ciampini and Federica Pancin is:

"`And may the land be prosperous in the time of the dynasty whose name is Flavii´. Thoughts on the Egyptian Domitian [my emphasis]".

The first part of the title of their paper is, of course, a quote from Domitian's obelisk; cf. Ciampini (2004,159, H7).

Assuming for the time being that my above-mentioned observations are correct, I have in this study, concerning the "three fields of interest in Domitian's building policy", as defined by Gering (2012, 210-211): "personal grandeur, family memory and legitimization", concentrated on Domitian's aim of "legitimization" - so at least my first aim. These activities of Domitian can be compared in this study with the relevant efforts reported for Augustus, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian and Septimius Severus. - The summary will show (cf. infra, at Appendix IV.d) The summary of the research presented in Appendix IV. has led to a summary of Domitian's building projects at Rome) that also Gering's `other two fields of interest in Domitian's building policy : personal grandeur and family memory´, have in the end likewise been discussed in this book in detail.

Again assuming for the time being that my relevant observations are correct, my answer to the above posed question - why Domitian felt the desperate need to build `in such a pharaonic manner´ - is therefore:

The extraordinary efforts that Domitian undertook served, exactly like the comparable ones in the case of Augustus, Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian and Septimius Severus (apart from the other two motivations in the case of Domitian: "personal grandeur and family memory"), the purpose of legitimizing Domitian's reign. The actions discussed here, especially the grandiose building projects of these emperors, served therefore the purpose that all of these emperors should duly be acknowledged by their subjects for these achievements, and, in addition to this, favourably remembered by posterity.

Rose Mary Sheldon (2020a, 1011 with n. 12) succinctly defines the underlying conflict of the above-described situation from the perspective of those subjects in the Roman provinces, who had to pay the taxes, with which those emperors financed all these formidable activities: "Florus rightfully points out that it is easier to subdue a province than to retain one.

The simple truth is that no one likes being occupied [my emphasis]".

In her note 12, Sheldon writes: "Florus, Epitome of Roman History, 2.30.29 ...".



 

last update: 4.12.2022

 

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