V.1.i.3.b) J. Pollini's discussion (2017b) of the allegedly `lost´ Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36), which he compares with the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Figs. 1; 2; Figs. 1 and 2 drawing) and Domitian's `Domus Flavia´/ Domus Augustana. With The Contribution by Amanda Claridge
ChapterV.1.i.3.b); Section I. Introduction
"The presence of the goddess Roma in Martial's adventus scene is mirrored in the Nollekens Relief. A sacrifice related to a triumph would have been an appropriate subject to decorate a stately space in Domitian's Domus Flavia. Military victories leading to triumphs were a basis for deification after death, as in the case of Domitian's father and brother, even if for Domitian the outcome turned out to be different".
John Pollini (2017b, 126).
With "Martial's adventus scene", Pollini (2017b, 126) refers to Martial's epigram (8, 65), which he discusses on p. 125.
Fig. 36. The Nollekens Relief, on display above the fire place in the White Hall of the Gatchina Palace near St. Petersburg, marble, 88 x 139 cm. F. Bianchini (1738, 68) found this relief in 1722 in the `Aula Regia´ of Domitian's `Domus Flavia´; cf. S. Cosmo (1990, 837 Fig. 8 [= here Fig. 39]). J. Pollini (2017b, 120, 124; cf. p. 98, Fig. 1) suggests that it shows the togate triumphator Domitian, sacrificing in AD 89 just outside Domitian's Porta Triumphalis; after which, the Emperor would begin his (last) triumphal procession. Photograph, taken in 1914, when the relief was still preserved in its restored state of the 18th century. Courtesy John Pollini.
The caption of Pollini's Fig. 1 reads: "Photograph taken in 1914 of the Nollekens Relief ... [the author provides a reference for that on p. 107 with n. 47]. Note that only the heads of nos. 6 [i.e., of Domitian], 8 [i.e., of the Genius Senatus] and 10 [i.e., of a boy ministrant] in the foreground and of all the background figures are ancient [my emphasis]".
Pollini (2017b, 97) begins his article as follows:
"Mainstream classical scholarship has long considered as lost a Roman ``historical´´ relief, excavated in the earlier part of the 18th c.[entury] in the Palace of Domitian on the Palatine hill [with n. 1]. Showing an emperor sacrificing, it is known as the Nollekens Relief after Joseph Nollekens, an accomplished British sculptor who came to possess it in the 18th c.[entury]. Besides being a sculptor and painter, he was a sculptural restorer and dealer active between 1761 and 1770 in Rome [with n. 2], where he worked in the workshops of the sculptural restorer Bartholomeo Cavaceppi and in his own studio [with n. 3]. The relief has been known chiefly from two engravings and a pen-and-watercolor drawing, all produced in the 18th c.[entury], but rather than being lost the relief has been hiding in plain sight in the Gatchina Palace near St. Petersburg [where it has been continuously on display since the 1770s/ early 1780s]".
In his notes 1-3, Pollini provides references and further discussion.
Concerning the sculptural decoration of Domitian's `Aula Regia´ at the `Domus Flavia´ on the Palatine, Pollini (2017b) is able to make an important contribution by presenting in great detail the so-called Nollekens Relief, which was found there by Francesco Bianchini in 1722 (cf. id. 1738, 68, quoted verbatim infra) - a fact which Pollini himself ignores though. As Pollini is able to demonstrate, already in the later 18th century the relief had allegedly disappeared. Silvano Cosmo (1990, 837, cf. his plan Fig. 8 = here Fig. 39) has found out and documented in plan where exactly within Domitian's Palace Bianchini had `excavated´. - To this I will come back below (cf. infra, in Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section II.).
The Nollekens Relief was previously only known from non-photographic images of the 18th century, which Pollini (2017b, Figs. 2-4) also illustrates and discusses, whereas he is first to publish photographs of the Nollekens Relief (cf. J. POLLINI 2017b, Frontispiece, and Figs. 1; 10-12; 16). Among those, one is especially important (his Fig. 1 = here Fig. 36), because it was taken in 1914, when the portrait head of Domitian, appearing on this relief (cf. figure 6), was still preserved; this head is now lost. The relief itself, possibly broken into six fragments when found, had been restored in the 18th century, and was greatly damaged in World War II and after that. Pollini was also able to find out that a plaster cast of the relief had been produced when it was in Russia, but the whereabouts of the cast is unknown.
Pollini (2017b) has meticulously traced the vicissitudes of the relief summarized above (here Fig. 36) since its `excavation´ and its alleged disappearance soon afterwards. Gerhard Koeppel (1984, 65; cf. id. 1985, 146, n. 20) was told that the relief has been on display since the 18th century at the Gatchina Palace near St. Petersburg. After Koeppel's first discussion of the relief (1984), "O. Neveroff" kindly informed him that the relief was by no means lost, but instead on display in this collection, as Koeppel reported. In the course of his correspondence with his Russian colleagues, Koeppel had also received two photographs of the relief from them, and mentioned this fact also in his "Nachtrag" (1984, 65; cf. id. 1985, 146, n. 20). But Koeppel himself never published those photographs, and even his information that the relief had been in the Gatchina Palace since the 18th century has been neglected by almost all subsequent scholars. Cf. Pollini (2017b, 97, n. 1, pp. 106-107 with ns. 43-46, who quotes G. KOEPPEL 1984, 46-49, 65; id. 1985, 146, n. 20).
Pollini (2017b, 115-118) provides detailed comparisons of the Nollekens Relief relief with the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Figs. 1; 2; Figs. 1 and 2 drawing). His observations refer to many subjects which are of interest in this study, which is why they have already been quoted several times above (cf. especially supra, in Chapter II.3.1.d); Section I., and infra, at Appendix IV.c.1.)).
Francesco Bianchini found the Nollekens Relief in 1722, while `excavating´ in the Orti Farnesiani, and precisely within Domitian's Palace on the Palatine. As usual with such early finds, it is crucial to clarify 1.) to exactly which area an `excavator´ at a given time may have had access; and 2.) within which ancient building this `excavation´ was conducted.
According to Silvano Cosmo's plan (in his article: "Aspetti topologici e topografici degli Orti farnesiani come premessa alla conservazione ambientale" 1990, Fig. 8 [= here Fig. 39]), who has successfully undertaken both kinds of research in order to draw this plan, Bianchini `excavated´ exclusively within the `Aula Regia´ and the immediately adjacents halls called `Basilica´ and `Lararium´, all three located within the `Domus Flavia´ (cf. supra, in Chapter II.3.1.d); Section I.).
Since on 25th, 26th February, 3rd and 4th March 2020 I have been given access to Bianchini's book (1738) in the Library of the British School at Rome, I could verify Cosmo's cartographic information, given on his Fig. 8: he marks on his plan the areas, where precisely Francesco Bianchini and Pietro Rosa had excavated; cf. his labels: "scavi p. rosa 1861-64; scavi f. bianchini 1720-26". By reading now Bianchini's book (1738, 50, 68, quoted verbatim infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section III.) myself, I realized that he describes explicitly that he `excavated´ within these three halls, and that he found the Nollekens Relief (his Tab. VI.; cf. here Fig. 36; cf. his plans Tab. II. and VIII. = both here Fig. 8)) in that hall within the `Domus Flavia´, which was already then (and is still now) called `Aula Regia´.
Fig. 39. S. Cosmo's plan of the (former) Orti Farnesiani on the Palatine in Rome. From S. Cosmo: "Aspetti topologici e topografici degli Orti farnesiani come premessa alla conservazione ambientale" (1990, 837, Fig. 8). The caption of his figure reads: "Il giardino di Napoleone III (1861 - 1870) Dis.[egno] S. Cosmo".
Cosmo marks on this plan the areas, where exactly within the Orti Farnesiani Francesco Bianchini and Pietro Rosa had excavated, see his labels: scavi p. rosa 1861-64; scavi f. bianchini 1720-26. Cosmo marks also the boundary between the Orti Farnesiani on the Palatine and the adjacent property to the south-west, which at Bianchini's time had been the property of the "Conti Spada", as Bianchini (1738, see the lettering on his plan Tab. VIII = here Fig. 8) had also himself indicated on his plan.
Cosmo has documented the consecutive owners of this property. See the letterings on his plan: spada 1689-1746 / p. magni 1746-1776 / rancoureil 1776-1816 / c. mills 1816-1849 / smith 1849-1856 /suore della visitazione 1856.
Pollini (2017b, 101-102, 113, 124), who has overlooked Cosmo's account, (erroneously) suggests that Bianchini found the Nollekens Relief elsewhere within the Domus Augustana, but where Bianchini had certainly not `excavated´. - To all this I will come back below (cf. infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section II.).
As will be quoted in detail in the following, Pollini provides a thorough analysis of the scene represented on the Nollekens Relief (Fig. 36): the togate triumphator Domitian, who is depicted as sacrificing at an altar, accompanied by the Dea Roma, the Genius Senatus, the two consules, two of his lictors and one soldier, a tibicen, and interestingly also by two "young sacrificial attendants, ministri ... paedagogiani (servile pages)" from his own household; cf. Pollini (2017b, 113).
When I sent this Chapter to Rose Mary Sheldon, asking her to revise my English, I had added at this point:
[I need to check, whether Domitian himself was possibly himself consul in AD 89! - meant as a explanation to Rose Mary that I still needed to do this]. Rose Mary was kind enough to answer this question for me by E-mail, adding the following remark:
"Domitian was consul every year of his reign except 89, 91, 93, 94 and 96. Pat Southern , Domitian, p. 35". - See also Dietmar Kienast, Werner Eck, Matthäus Heil (2017, 110): from AD 70-95, Domitian held the consulship 17 times (!).
As we shall see below, Pollini (2017b, 120 with n. 106; cf. infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section IV.) suggests that the Nollekens Relief shows Domitian sacrificing in AD 89. Pollini himself has not realized that, because of the representation of both consules (figures 7 and 9) on the Nollekens Relief, this is in theory actually possible, because - as we have seen above - in that year Domitian did not himself hold one of the consulships. To this I will come back below (cf. infra, at Chapter VI.3. Addition: My own tentative suggestion, to which monument or building the Cancelleria Reliefs may have belonged, and a discussion of their possible date).
The Emperor Domitian [on the Nollekens Relief] is crowned with a laurel wreath, and the fasces of his two paludate lictors (with axes attached to their rods !) are likewise adorned with laurels. Pollini, therefore, convincingly suggests that Domitian is shown in the course of performing this sacrifice just outside the Porta Triumphalis, that was built anew by the emperor, and that immediately after that will begin Domitian's triumphal procession. In Pollini's opinion (2017b, 120 with n. 106, referring to Suet., Dom. 6,1), the sacrifice depicted on the Nollekens Relief, must refer to Domitian's last triumph of AD 89 (for that; cf. supra, n. 232, in Chapter I.2., and infra, at Chapter VI.3.; Addition: My own tentative suggestion, to which monument or building the Cancelleria Reliefs may have belonged, and a discussion of their possible date). Pollini also suggests, where in reality Domitian has conducted this sacrifice, which is represented on the Nollekens Relief. - To this I will come back below (cf. infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section IV.).
Already Diana E.E. Kleiner (1992, 183) wrote about this panel: "Also from Domitian's Palace is the so-called Nollekens Relief, which was found east of the state dining hall, the Coenatio Jovis. It is today lost and known only through drawings (for example, fig. 153), but it appears to have been manufactured while Domitian was emperor. It depicts a sacrifice that is in the tradition of earlier sacrifice scenes such as those in the Louvre Suovetaurilia Relief (see fig. 117 [cf. here Fig. 25]), but with two noticeable differences. The figures of the sacrificant - probably the emperor - and his companions are almost frontal, and the human emperor interacts with divinities and personifications (Roma or Virtus and the Genius Senatus); such interactions would become one of the hallmarks of Domitianic art". - The latter is for example true of Frieze A of the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. supra, at Chapter I.2., and here Fig. 1; Figs. 1 and 2 drawing), and Kleiner's observed frontality of the figures on the Nollekens Relief is also true of the relief from Domitian's Templum Gentis Flaviae, which depicts Vespasian's adventus into Rome in AD 70 (cf. supra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.a) and here Fig. 33).
To Kleiner's "Coenatio Jovis" (also referred to as: Cenatio Iovis; Triclinium (cf. here Figs. 8; 8.1, label: "TRICLINIUM"; Fig. 58, label: "TRICLINIUM"; Figs. 108-110); and Banquet hall), I will come back below (cf. infra, in Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section II.).
Pollini (2017b, 101) writes: "we know that the reliefs were found in the general vicinity of the Aula Regia in the Domus Flavia (fig. 6) ... the excavations were ``within the Farnese Gardens´´, created in 1550 by Alessandro Farnese on the N[orth] side of the Palatine, where indeed part of Domitian's Palace is located [with n. 12, providing a reference; my emphasis]". - With "the reliefs", Pollini refers to the Nollekens Relief (i.e., F. BIANCHINI 1738, Tab. VI.; cf. here Fig. 36) and to another one, found by Bianchini together with it (cf. J. POLLINI 2017b, 104-105, his Fig. 5 = F. BIANCHINI 1738, Tab. VII. = here Fig. 37); this relief is obviously now lost.
Fig. 37. The other fragmentary marble relief, found by Francesco Bianchini in 1722 within the `Aula Regia´ of the `Domus Flavia´, shows four female representations or divinities in Greek dress. From F. Bianchini (1738) Tab. VII.: "Fragmentum anaglyphi repertum in Palatio Caesarum intra Hortos Farnesianos MDCCXXII Hieronymus Rossi incid.". Cf. infra, at ChapterV.1.i.3.b); Section III.
Cf. Pollini (2017b, 120): the emperor, depicted on the Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36: figure 6), is Domitian. Cf. p. 124: the represented sacrifice "would allude to the sacrifice performed at the Porta Triumphalis, thereby recalling triumph" (for a more detailed quotation of this passage; cf. infra, at Appendix IV.c.1.)).
Cf. Pollini (2017b, 97-99): the Nollekens Relief is on display in the White Hall of the Gatchina Palace near St. Petersburg (cf. his Figs. 10; 11). Cf. pp. 97-99: in this article, Pollini "examines the history of this relief, its discovery and restoration in the 18th c.[entury], its purchase by the Russian noble Ivanovich Shuvalov, and its vicissitudes during World War II and afterwards. Also presented and discussed is the evidence for the condition of the relief in 1914 and subsequently. The 1914 photograph (fig. 1, with my numbering of figures [= here Fig. 36]) allows us to compare it with the three earlier non-photographic illustrations (figs. 2-4) in order to address questions about restoration and other details of [page 99] it. The history of the relief and its supposed disappearance in the later part of the 18th century are important for the history of collecting and the display of classical antiquities".
After having finished writing this Chapter, I received on 22nd April 2020 Paolo Liverani's forthcoming essay ("Historical reliefs and architecture") that has in 2021 appeared in the essay volume, edited by Aurora Raimondi Cominesi et al. (2021), and on 30th April 2020, Liverani has kindly granted me the permission to quote verbatim from this text. Concerning the Nollekens Relief, Liverani (2021, 88) writes:
"Another interesting document is the so-called Nollekens Relief, representing an imperial sacrifice (fig. 4), [with n. 21] ... In the middle Domitian is shown sacrificing on a little altar, to the right is the Genius of the Roman Senate and the personification of Rome with a young assistant for the sacrifice (camillus). To the left are two lictors carrying the fasces with axes, a flute player and a second camillus. Pollini, who rediscovered the lost relief, interprets the scene in connection with the triumph and considers it as the sacrifice performed by the Emperor in front of the Porta Triumphalis before entering the city. Setting aside some minor problem of his reconstruction connected wit this gate, [with note 22] the triumphal connotation is based on weak evidence and must remain hypothetical. What appears interesting is the survival of Domitian's portrait in the imperial palace on the Palatine after his damnatio memoriae, but, unfortunately, we do not know the exact find spot and cannot solve the riddle [my emphasis]".
In his note 21, Liverani writes: "Pollini 2017 ... [i.e., here J. POLLINI 2017b]".
In his note 22, he writes: "Pollini seems to be not aware of the discussion about the position of the Porta Triumphalis after the extension of the pomerial limits". - For a discussion of this subject; cf. infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section IV.
Liverani (2021, 88) identifies the represented figures on the Nollekens Relief exactly like Pollini (2017b) himself, but he leaves out the figures in the background (cf. here Fig. 36: figure 3, a soldier, and figures 7 and 9, two togate men), whom Pollini, in my opinion convincingly, interprets as the consules.
And because we have seen above that in AD 89 Domitian did not himself hold one of the consulships, the appearance of the two consules on the Nollekens Relief supports at the same time Pollini's suggested date for the scene depicted on the Nollekens Relief: AD 89 (!).
Even so, it is interesting that Liverani has not realized that the figures, which he has mentioned, are positioned according to strict observations of their relevant spatial restrictions: the right-hand half of the relief represents the area domi (with the Dea Roma and the Genius Senatus, figures who, according to their relevant constructions, are constrained to remain within the pomerium of Rome; not by chance the consules appear on that side of the relief), the left-hand half of the relief represents the area militiae instead (here we see the two paludate lictors, having axes attached to heir rods, their fasces are adorned with laurels, as well as one soldier). - The soldier is, of course, of special importance, when we try to find out, what the scene might represent. For a detailed description of the two lictors and the soldier; cf. Pollini (2017b, 115, quoted verbatim infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section III.).
In the following, I repeat what was already written above (cf. supra, at Chapter I.2.1.c):
`It is interesting to compare in the just discussed context the solution, found by the artists who designed the Nollekens Relief (cf. ... here Fig. 36). Here the two paludate lictors, who accompany Domitian, and one soldier (figures 1, 4 and 3) represent the area militiae. All three of them are standing just outside the pomerium and appear on the left hand `half´ of the panel - as they should. Whereas those figures, who represent the area domi: the Dea Roma, the Genius Senatus and the two consules (figures 11, 8, 7 and 9) are standing on the `right´ hand half of the panel - as also they should. The emperor himself thus stands at the pomerium-line - as he likewise should, provided we follow Pollini's interpretation. According to his hypothesis, Domitian is performing the sacrifice at (or in front of) the Porta Triumphalis. Only after its completion, Domitian will transgress the pomerium-line (by passing through his newly built Porta Triumphalis), and thus begin his triumphal procession, accompanied by his army and his lictors, who, at the represented moment, are still waiting outside the pomerium. And, as soon as the procession will have marched through the Porta Triumphalis, it will be solemnly received by the entire populace of Rome, indicated by the city's representatives on the right hand `half´ of the relief.´
Domitian thus stands on the Nollekens Relief at the pomerium-line. This the artists, who created the relief, have shown by the distribution of the figures (apart from the two boy ministrants and the flute player) who surround the emperor. In addition to this, Domitian is wearing a toga, is crowned with a laurel wreath, and is shown in the act of sacrificing. And because I believe (because of the presence of the two consules) that Pollini is right in suggesting that the scene, visible on the Nollekens Relief, shows an event of AD 89, I therefore wonder what else this panel could represent, than what Pollini (2017b) himself suggests.
In addition to the above-mentioned details of the Nollekens Relief itself, which Liverani (2021) has not considered in his reasoning, he ignores the fact that Francesco Bianchini (1738, 68) found the Nollekens Relief within the `Aula Regia´ (cf. infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section II.). And because Bianchini documented in great detail the marble decoration of this hall (cf. F. BIANCHINI 1738, Tab. III.; IV. = here Fig. 9; cf. infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section III.), we know also that the major theme of the `Aula Regia´ was the celebration of Domitian's military victories, cf. Eugenio Polito (2009, 506, quoted verbatim infra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section III.).
To conclude. Pollini's (2017b) himself ignores the fact that the Nollekens Relief was actually found within the `Aula Regia´. Considering not only what was said above about the iconography of the Nollekens Relief itself, but also that the overall theme of this magnificent hall was the praise of Domitian's military victories, which the emperor had celebrated with triumphs, I therefore maintain my earlier judgement. Namely that Pollini's interpretation of the Nollekens Relief, according to which it shows Domitian sacrificing in AD 89 at the Porta Triumphalis before beginning his (last) triumphal procession, is sound.
Before discussing in the following Section, where Francesco Bianchini `excavated´ the Nollekens Relief, I allow myself a digression on the `excavator´, Francesco Bianchini.
Paolo Liverani (2000, 67) has characterized Francesco Bianchini as follows:
"Dopo un secolo e mezzo Clemente XI Albani (1700-21) torna a interessarsi alle antichità e nel 1703 nomina mons.[ignore] Francesco Bianchini Commissario alle Antichità di Roma. Si tratta di un uomo i cui interessi abbracciano matematica, astronomia e archeologia e con una vasta rete di conoscenze in tutta Europa. Costui allestisce il «Museo Ecclesiastico», un esperimento di breve vita che durerà solo fino al 1716, ma di grande valore [with n. 14]. Il criterio con cui vengono scelti i materiali è di carattere filologico e storico, senza nessuna concessione estetica. Vengono privilegiati i documenti iscritti che abbiano rilevanza cronologica (per es.[empio] le iscrizioni consolari), senza limitarsi all'antichità, ma comprendendo anche documenti medievali con una modernità di visione assolutamente stupefacente".
In his note 14, Liverani writes: "C. Hülsen, Il «Museo Ecclesiastico» di Clemente XI Albani, BullCom 1890, 260-77; Pietrangeli, cit. a nota precedente [= C. Pietrangeli, I Musei Vaticani. Cinque secoli di storia (1986) 3-27]; F. Uglietti, Un erudito veronese alle soglie del Settecento, Mons. Francesco Bianchini 1662-1729 (1986) 61-63; C. M. S. Johns, Papal Art and Cultural Politics. Rome in thè Age of Clemens XI (1993) 33-8".
ChapterV.1.i.3.b); Section II. The Nollekens Relief was found in the `Aula Regia´ within the `Domus Flavia´
In order to be able to understand the following discussion of the topography of Domitian's Palace on the Palatine, I suggest that the reader consults all relevant maps simultaneously.
Cf. here Figs. 58; 71; 73, labels: PALATIUM; Arch of DIVUS TITUS; VICUS APOLLINIS ?/ "CLIVUS PALATINUS"; ARCUS DOMITIANI / DIVI VESPASIANI ?; Temple of IUPPITER INVICTUS ? or of : IUPPITER STATOR ? IUPPITER VICTOR ? IUPPITER PROPUGNATOR ?; "DOMUS FLAVIA"; "BASILICA"; "AULA REGIA"; "LARARIUM"; "PERISTYLE"; "TRICLINIUM"; DOMUS AUGUSTANA; "Porta principale"; Arch of DOMITIAN ?; Cancelleria Reliefs ?; Vigna Barberini; DI(aeta) (a)DONAEA; site of Nero's CENATIO ROTUNDA; S. Sebastiano; "AEDES ORCI"; SOL INVICTUS ELAGABALUS; IUPPITER ULTOR; CURIAE VETERES?". - For those toponyms; cf. infra, at Appendix V.; Sections IV. and VII.
See also Silvano Cosmo's plan of the Orti Farnesiani (1990, 837, Fig. 8 = here Fig. 39); Francesco Bianchini's plan (1738, his Tab. VIII. = here Fig. 8) of Domitian's Palace on the Palatine (online at: <https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/bianchini1738/0001/image>); the map SAR 1985, labels: 64: Domus Flavia: "Basilica"; 65: Domus Flavia: "Aula Regia"; 66: Domus Flavia: "Lararium" (the relevant detail of this map is reproduced in: LTUR IV  fig. 6, s.v. Palatium, but without the numbering of the single structures); Amanda Claridge's plan of the Imperial Palace (1998, 132-133, Fig. 54, p. 135, p. 137, Fig. 57: "Domitian's Palace. Reconstruction of the great Banquet Hall and its fountain courts"; ead. 2010, 145-156, esp. pp. 146-147, Fig. 55, p. 148): "`Aula Regia´ or Audience Chamber", p. 150, Fig. 57: "Domitian's Palace. Reconstruction of the great Banquet Hall and its fountain courts"; Filippo Coarelli (2012, 2-3, Fig. 1 [= SAR 1985], p. 116, Fig. 29, p. 447, Fig. 88; and the plan published by John Pollini (2017b, 101, Fig. 6): "Plan of Domitian's palace (R. Mar ... [i.e., here R. MAR 2009] fig. 3, slightly altered by author)", in which the `Aula Regia´ is labelled: "Salón de trono", the `Basilica´: "Bas.", the `Lararium´: "Lar.", the entrance to those three halls in the west: "Ingreso", and the larger entrance to the `Aula Regia´ in the north: "Ingreso ceremonial". Pollini's just-mentioned `slight alteration´ in Mar's plan (2009, Fig. 3) of Domitian's Palace consists in the fact that he marks the small hall immediately to the east of the `Aula Regia´ with the lettering: "Lar.[arium]"; and Daniela Bruno ("Region X. Palatium", 2017, ill. 13 Palatium, domus Augustiana, AD 117-138: Reconstruction by D. Bruno, illustration by inklink").
The most recent publications on Domitian's Palace on the Palatine, those by Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt (2020), Natascha Sojc (2021), Aurora Raimondi Cominesi and Claire Stocks (2021), and Aurora Raimondi Cominesi (2022) are discussed supra, in the Chapters The major results of this book on Domitian; and at The visualization of the results of this book on Domitian on our maps.
This leads us to one of the problems that are connected with Domitian's Palace on the Palatine : the parts discussed here, of which the Palace consists, are unfortunately not called by all modern commentators by the same (modern) names. From Francesco Bianchini's (1738) account and his own plan (his Tab. II; cf. here Fig. 8), to be discussed below, it is clear that he excavated at the `Basilica´, `Aula Regia´ and `Lararium´ of the `Domus Flavia´. I follow with this nomenclature of those halls Bianchini (cf. here Fig. 8), which is repeated on the map SAR 1985 (cf. supra). But note that Bianchini (1738, caption of his Tab. III., quoted verbatim infra) erroneously believed that the Domitianic Palace, excavated by him, should be identified with the `Domus Tiberiana´. In Cosmo's plan (cf. here Fig. 39) the area, where Bianchini excavated, is correctly indicated. Ricardo Mar (2009, 256, Fig. 3: label: "Larario", p. 257, Fig. 4, label: "Larario/Tempio") calls another part of the Palace `Lararium´, namely the large eastern peristyle. As we shall see in the following, Pollini (2017b, 103) refers to this structure erroneously as to the "``Adonea Peristyle´´". - To the real `Adonisgarden´ in Domitian's Palace I will come back below.
When discussing with Amanda Claridge the research presented here back in 2020, I asked her for advice concerning reconstructions of Domitian's Palace on the Palatine.
Because at that time I knew only Sheila Gibson's reconstruction drawing of the `Triclinium´/ `Coenatio Iovis´/ Banquet Hall, published by Amanda in her Rome guide; cf. Claridge (1998, 137, Fig. 57; ead. 2010, 150, Fig. 57: "Domitian's Palace. Reconstruction of the great Banquet Hall and its fountain courts"), Peter Connolly's (8th May 1935 - 2nd May 2012) coloured reconstruction drawing; cf. Peter Connolly and Hazel Dodge (1998, illustration on pp. 222-223, figure without number. Its caption reads: "Ein Querschnitt durch die rekonstruierte Aula Regia, das Peristyl und triclinium der Domus Flavia. Das Dach der Aula Regia wird heute von Experten viel diskutiert - hier wurde es aus Holz rekonstruiert"), and the illustration, published by Daniela Bruno (2017, ill. 13: "Palatium, domus Augustiana, AD 117-138", "Reconstruction by D. Bruno, illustration by inklink"), into none of which the architectural marbles, found within these Halls of Domitian's Palace have been integrated.
Interestingly, of Connolly's just-mentioned coloured reconstruction drawing exists now a version that shows the same image `back to front´; cf. Aurora Raimondi Cominesi and Claire Stocks (2021, 106, Fig. 2: "Reconstruction of the Domus Flavia on the Palatine (akg-images / Peter Connolly))".
This is recognizable, when we compare with this image the true locations of the `Basilica´, `Aula Regia´, `Peristyle´ and `Triclinium´/ `Coenatio Iovis´ / Banquet Hall on any plan of Domitian's Palace; cf. for example in Natascha Sojc (2021, 132, Fig. 2) and here Figs. 8.1; 58.
In the following, I repeat a passage, written for the Chapter Introductory remarks and acknowledgements:
In the course of this discussion, Amanda Claridge was kind enough to alert me to `the reconstruction drawings [of Domitian's Palace on the Palatine] (here Figs. 108-110) of the architect Gordon Leith (1885-1965 [whose name Amanda at first did not remember, nor the date of his scholarship]) from South Africa, who had in 1913 a scholarship at the British School at Rome. As Amanda would later confirm ... Gordon Leith had only received a scholarship for one academic year (i.e., from October until June ... Amanda ... had seen his drawings at the British School, where they had been on display, and which, as she recalled, in the 1980s or 1990s had been donated to the Superintendency of the State on the Palatine.
At that stage of our discusssion it seemed impossible to trace the architect and his drawings. I myself, although having spent much time at the BSR since late December of 1980, did not remember these drawings, which is why, without Amanda's help, I would never have been able to identify them (!).
The reason being that neither the name of this man, nor the time of his scholarship at the British School were known, and that although Valerie Scott, the Librarian of the BSR, and the archivist Alessandra Giovenco had supported Amanda's relevant research in all possible ways. In the end, Amanda found out by chance that, already a long time ago, four of those drawings have been published by Maria Antonietta Tomei ("Scavi Francesi sul Palatino : le indagini di Pietro Rosa per Napoleone III (1861-1870)", École française de Rome 1999, figs 225, 228, 229, and 230). But Amanda told me also that she knew that Gordon Leith had created many more of these drawings. My thanks are due to Francesca Deli, Assistant Librarian of the BSR, for scanning for me in Tomei's publication Gordon Leith's extraordinary reconstruction drawings of Domitian's Palace on the Palatine (cf. here Figs. 108-110)´.
See the Contribution by Amanda Claridge in this volume: A note for Chrystina Häuber: Drawings of the interior order of the Aula Regia of the Palace of Domitian on the Palatine, once in the British School at Rome.
Why I am telling you all this at the beginning of this Chapter? Because we shall look below at Francesco Bianchini's (1738) documentation of architectural marbles from the `Aula Regia´, and will hear the judgements of recent scholars concerning the sculptural decoration of this hall. We shall also realize that Gordon Leith, with his reconstruction drawings of Domitian's Palace (here Figs. 108-110), has provided a very interesting contribution to this discussion; cf. infra, at ChapterV.1.i.3.b); Section III.
All this information taken together, so my hope, may be useful for new efforts to reconstruct the interior order of the `Aula Regia´. Contrary to Bianchini's own reconstruction of the `Aula Regia´ (cf. id. 1738, his Tab. II. = here Fig. 8) and to Gordon Leith's reconstruction of the `Aula Regia´ (1913; here Fig. 108), in both of which the interior order of this hall has only one colonnade, we know now that there was also a second order, because "columns in front of the niches [in the `Aula Regia´] ... were surmounted by further colonnades, taking the ceiling about 30 m (100 RF [i.e., Roman Feet]) above the floor"; cf. Amanda Claridge (1998, 135; ead. 2010, 148). Peter Connolly; cf. Connolly and Dodge (1998, illustration on pp. 222-223) had already considered this information in his reconstruction; and of course also Daniela Bruno (2017, ill. 13).
Bianchini (1738, Tab. II = here Fig. 8) shows in the middle of his measured ground-plan of the `Aula Regia´ a reconstruction of the colonnade of the interior order, using for this reconstruction precisely drawn architectural fragments that were found within the `Aula Regia´. But because Bianchini does not explain this reconstruction in his text, it is impossible to know, from this etching alone, whether the relevant parts of this reconstruction: column base, column shaft and architrave, had actually belonged together. Even if that had been the case, it is for us likewise impossible to know, whether Bianchini's reconstruction belonged to the lower or rather to the upper colonnade of the interior order of the `Aula Regia´. - Provided it is true, what all three: Sheila Gibson in her reconstruction of the interior order of the `Triclinium´/ `Coenatio Iovis´/ Banquet Hall; cf. Claridge (1998, 137, Fig. 57; ead. 2010, 150, Fig. 57), and Peter Connolly and Daniela Bruno in their reconstructions of the interior order of the `Aula Regia´ have assumed : namely that in both halls the columns of both superimposed colonnades had (almost, or even exactly) the same heights (!); cf. Connolly and Dodge (1998, illustration on pp. 222-223); and Bruno (2017, ill. 13).
In ChapterV.1.i.3.b); Section III., we will, in addition to this, learn from François de Polignac (2009, 507) that of the interior order of the `Aula Regia´ some fragments are still preserved of the architraves of the first order, the lower colonnade and of the second, superimposed order, both of which were decorated with friezes showing "peopled scrolls", of which Polignac is able to illustrate one badly damaged fragment. Unfortunately, Polignac (2009, 507) does not discuss Bianchini's (1738, Tab. II; here Fig. 8) just-mentioned reconstruction in this context.
By reading Polignac's text, it seems nevertheless to be obvious that one of Polignac's (2009, 507) colonnades of the interior order of the `Aula Regia´ is precisely that, which also Bianchini (1738, Tab. II = here Fig. 8) has reconstructed. And one thing is definitely clear: Gordon Leith (1913) has integrated exactly the same fragments of those architraves with "peopled scrolls" of both orders, and/ or the reconstruction drawings of the frieze of the first order, mentioned by Polignac (2009), into one of his own reconstruction drawings. But Leith has not integrated his resulting reconstruction of this architrave into his drawing of the `Aula Regia´, where the fragments of both friezes with "peopled scolls" were actually found, but instead into his reconstruction drawing of the `Triclinium´ (cf. here Fig. 110) (!).
After having already anticipated these results, let's approach this complex subject in the following together, step by step.
For the following discussion; cf. here Figs. 58; 73, labels: PALATIUM; "DOMUS FLAVIA"; "BASILICA"; "AULA REGIA"; "LARARIUM"; "PERISTYLE"; "TRICLINIUM".
Pollini (2017b, 101-103, in his Section: "Bianchini and the place of discovery" [i.e., of the Nollekens Relief, and of the other relief; cf. here Figs. 36; 37]) writes:
"From Bianchini's discussion of the location of his excavations, we know that the reliefs were found in the general vicinity of the Aula Regia in the Domus Flavia (fig. 6)". He also mentions the collossal basalt statues of Hercules and Bacchus/Dionysus with Pan (now in Parma's Galleria Nazionale) that once decorated niches in the Aula Regia [with n. 11]. He indicates that the excavations were ``within the Farnese Gardens´´, created in 1550 by cardinal Alessandro Farnese on the N[orth] side of the Palatine, where indeed part of Domitian's Palace is located [with n. 12]. This is further confirmed by the captions to the plates (VI-VII) illustrating both reliefs [with n. 13]. Both were probably found in or near the Horti Adonii or Adonea, in an area that separates the ``private sector´´ (Domus Augustana) from the ``state sector´´ (Domus Flavia) of the palace, and just northeast of the grand triclinium of the latter [with n. 14]. This garden peristyle appears to [page 102] refer to the area just southeast of the Aula Regia, still within the Farnese Gardens, and facing those of the Villa Spada, so designated by Bianchini in the 1738 publication [with n. 15]. The Villa Spada, formerly known as the Villa Mattei, later became the Villa Mills and is shown on P. Rosa's 1868 plan (fig. 7). Rosa excavated and re-excavated where Bianchini had dug, marked on the former's plan by the dark areas along the E[east] edge of the ``state sector´´. On that plan my dotted ellipse marks the general area in which Bianchini indicates the two [page 103] reliefs were found. The Adonea (correctly located in Rosa's plan) most likely refers to the great peristyle of the Domus Augustana (henceforth the ``Adonea Peristyle´´ [my emphasis]".
Cf. the caption of Pollini (2017b, 102): "Fig. 7. Rosa's excavation on [the] Palatine (1868). Dotted ellipse indicates general area in which Bianchini found the two reliefs [i.e., the Nollekens Relief and the other relief; cf. here Figs. 36; 37] (M.A. Tomei in Hoffmann and Wulf [i.e., here A. HOFFMANN and U. WULF-RHEIDT] 2014 [corr: 2004] fig. 25) [my emphasis]".
Note that in Pietro Rosa's plan (1868) the area in question is (erroneously) labelled as follows: HORTI ADONEA?
Note also that Pollini's `dotted ellipse´, which he added to Rosa's plan, covers part of the area of Rosa's "PERISTILIUM" and of the "HORTI ADONEA?". Bianchini cannot possibly have found these two reliefs within this `dotted ellipse´, because he did not `excavate´ this area at all.
For the area, where Bianchini had actually `excavated´ (only within the "BASILICA", the "AULA REGIA" and the "LARARIUM" of the `Domus Flavia´); cf. Bianchini's own report and his own plans: Bianchini (1738, 48-68, Tab. II; Tab. VIII = both here Fig. 8). This has been summarized above, in The major results of this book on Domtian, and will be discussed in detail below.
Cf. the caption of Pollini (2017b, 102): "Fig. 8. Reconstruction of sacrarium (form of superstructure of tempietto unknown) in the Adonea Peristyle (M.A. Tomei ... [i.e., here M.A. TOMEI 2009] fig. 6)".
With this caption of his Fig. 8, Pollini gives the impression that the identification of this part of Domitian's Palace (i.e., the eastern peristyle) as the "Adonea Peristyle" could possibly be Maria Antonietta Tomei's hypothesis : but when reading Tomei's article (2009) and Pollini's above-quoted account, it becomes clear that this is Pollini's own (erroneous) identification.
In his note 11, Pollini writes: "These two figures were sent to Parma in 1724; Bianchini ... [i.e., here F. BIANCHINI 1738] 54 and 58; P. Zanker ... [i.e., here P. ZANKER 2004] 99, fig. 142". - See for those colossal statues of Dionysos and Hercules also R. MAR (2009, 253, Fig. 2 [Dionysos], p. 259, Fig. 5 [Hercules]); and supra, Chapter The major results of this book on Domitian, with further references. Those statues were carved from basanite (basanites), not basalt, as Pollini (op.cit.) erroneously asserts.
In his notes 12-14, Pollini (2017b) does not discuss the contributions to the monumental volume Gli Orti Farnesiani sul Palatino, edited by Giuseppe Morganti (1990), of which especially the article by Silvano Cosmo (1990) is of importance in the context discussed here; cf. supra, at Chapter II.3.1.d); Section I., and below.
In his note 15, Pollini writes: "For the location of the Horti Adonii and the Villa Spada, see Bianchini [i.e., here F. BIANCHINI 1738] 36, 44, 68, et passim, pl. VIII [= here Fig. 8] (in the middle of the plan and at the bottom just to the left of the excavated Aula Regia and its two flanking halls). These gardens are better represented in [Pietro] Rosa's 1868 plan, reproduced in ... [i.e., here A. HOFFMANN and U. WULF-RHEIDT 2004] 16, fig. 25 (= my fig. 7). Cf. also R. Lanciani, Forma Urbis Romae (Rome, repr. 1990) sector [i.e., fol.] 29. Bianchini (ibid. 48) mentions the gardens of the Villa Spada located in this area. In Bianchini's words the reliefs were found "dentro gli Orti Farnesi, accanto la facciata del giardino Spada". In the late 19th c.[entury], Ch. Hülsen (... [i.e., here C. HÜLSEN 1895] 252-83) tried to identify the possible findspot of the Nollekens Relief, placing it east of Domitian's Cenatio Iovis in the Domus Flavia, in roughly the same area as I do [my emphasis]".
The "Cenatio Iovis", mentioned by Pollini (2017b, 102, n. 15), is marked on the plan by Mar (2009, 256, Fig. 3 = J. POLLINI 2017b, 101, Fig. 6). Cf. the map SAR 1985: "67", where this structure is called: Domus Flavia: "Triclinium" instead. Cf. here Figs. 58; 73, labels: "DOMUS FLAVIA"; "TRICLINIUM". On Claridge's plan of Domitian's Palace (1998, 132-133, Fig. 54; ead. 2010, 146-147, Fig. 55) this structure is labelled: "Banquet hall" (cf. also A. CLARIDGE 1998, 137, Fig. 57; ead. 2010, 150, Fig. 57, the caption reads: "Domitian's Palace. Reconstruction of the great Banquet Hall and its fountain courts").
As correctly indicated by Pollini (2017b, 102, n. 15), his passage: "dentro gli Orti Farnesi, accanto alla facciata del giardino Spada", is actually a verbatim quote from Bianchini (1738, 48). But note that Bianchini does by no means say on his page 48, nor anywhere else, anything which could justify Pollini's conclusion that "In Bianchini's words the reliefs were found" - "accanto alla facciata del giardino Spada".
We can therefore conclude that Pollini's (2017b, 102, n. 15) interpretation of Bianchini (1738, 48) is wrong, and that fact in its turn has resulted in Pollini's (erroneous) indication of the findspots of the Nollekens Relief (and of the other relief, found together with it; cf. here Figs. 36; 37) on Pollini's Fig. 7: `in or near the Horti Adonea´, and precisely within the area indicated by his `dotted ellipse´.
In reality, Bianchini (1738, 64, Tab. V.) is quite outspoken in his description of the findspot of the Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36): this and the `other relief´ (cf. here Fig. 37) were found within the `Aula Regia´.
First, Bianchini (1738, 64) describes the architecture of the `Aula Regia´, ending on pp. 64-66 with the following phrase:
"Rimangono ancora in molti siti di questa sala [i.e. the `Aula Regia´] le incrostature di marmi nobili segati in grosse tavole, che la vestivano : e la ossatura, per così dirla , delle pareti è formata tutta di mat- [page 66] mattoni ...".
In the following (on pp. 66-68), Bianchini allows himself a digression on the numerous brick stamps found there, which were produced in figlinae, owned by family members of Domitian called `Flavia Domitilla´. Bianchini observes that there were altogether four ladies carrying that name, and is especially interested in those, who were active in the figlinae business. As a result of this inquiry, Bianchini attributes the construction of the `Aula Regia´ to Domitian, because many of these brick stamps were found there.
Then Bianchini returns to his discussion of the finds, excavated within the `Aula Regia´. Cf. Bianchini (1738, 68):
"Qualunque delle suddette Flavie Domitille fosse la padrona di Felice, che lavorò que'mattoni ; appartiene sempre alla età del suddetto Principe [i.e., Domitian] : e dimostra, che questi saloni ( giacchè ne' prossimi ancora al maggiore si ritruovano in opera dentro le arcate delle volte simili suggelli di quel Felice ) siano fabbricati da Domiziano. Si è ricavato altresì il medesimo tempo della struttura [i.e., of the `Aula Regia´] da un basso rilievo qui ritrovato, ove Tito [i.e., in reality Domitian] fratello di Domiziano rappresentasi in atto di sacrificare [i.e., the Nollekens Relief; cf. here Fig. 36], di cui qui [cf. on the border: "Tav. VI."] riporto la figura ; con l'altro frammento di una tavola simile [i.e., the other relief = here Fig. 37], in cui vedesi un [cf. on the border: "Tav. VII."] sacrificio fatto da femmine : la quale può credersi che rappresentasse il sacrificio alla Buona Dea solito farsi dalla moglie del Pontefice Massimo quali furono dell'Imperatore Domiziano Giulia di Tito, e Domizia [my emphasis]".
Pollini (2017b, 100-101) does not discuss Bianchini's above-summarized passage (1738, 64-68) in its entirety. He, therefore, overlooks the true meaning of what Bianchini writes on p. 68 ("questi saloni ... al maggiore ... Si è ricavato altresì il medesimo tempo della struttura"), namely that both reliefs had occurred within that grand structure he describes in detail on pp. 64-68: the `Aula Regia´.
But Pollini (2017b, 100-101) provides an English translation of that part of the quote from Bianchini (1738, 68), which I have written above in bold, and adds useful comments:
"The dating of the building [i.e., of the `Aula Regia´] is also established by the fact that found here was a bas-relief [i.e., the ``Nollekens Relief´´] in which Titus, brother of Domitian, is represented in the act of sacrificing, a figure which I show here (pl. VI = fig. 2 here [cf. here Fig. 36]); with [regard to] the other fragment of a similar panel, in which a sacrifice by females is to be seen (pl. VII = fig. 5 here [= here Fig. 37]), the latter [relief] can be understood as representing the sacrifice to the Bona Dea, usually performed by the wife of the Pontifex Maximus, [but] who were [in the case] of the emperor Domitian, Iulia Titi [daughter of Titus] and Domitia [wife of Domitian] [with n. 8; page 101].
Contrary to Bianchini's comment, the headless female figures in the second relief have nothing to do with a sacrifice since no altar or sacrificial accouterments [!] are depicted, nor is there anything to indicate that the niece or wife of Domitian appears; rather, the presence of a bare-breasted female would suggest that the figures are personifications or divinities [with n. 9]. The bare-breasted figure in the center appears to carry in her right hand a small pouch (if indeed the engraver has represented this object correctly [with n. 10])".
In his note 8, Pollini writes: "Since Iulia Titi was never the wife of Domitian, the sense of the last phrase is better conveyed by the Latin [i.e., by the Latin version of F. Bianchini's 1738 text, printed opposite the Italian text] (``quo loco habuit Domitianus Juliam Titi ac Domitiam´´)".
In his note 9, he writes: "The upper torso of one of the other three figures is substantially preserved and shows that the breasts were draped".
In his note 10, he writes: "Engravers often misrepresented objects they did not understand, as in the case of the sacrificial ``pitcher´´ carried by the boy ministrant in the Nollekens Relief (see below)".
To Pollini's own interpretation of the `other relief´ (cf. here Fig. 37), I will come back below (cf. infra, at ChapterV.1.i.3.b); Section III.).
Pollini also suggests, where precisely in Domitian's Palace the Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36) could have been on display. Since he has not realized that Bianchini (1738, 68) actually says that both reliefs were found within the `Aula Regia´, the suggestions he makes for the display of the Nollekens Relief could only be true, provided at least that that relief had occurred in a secondary context.
Let's first of all read what Pollini writes about the presumed state of the Nollekens Relief, when that was found in 1722.
Pollini (2017b, 112-113, Section: "Analysis of the condition of the Nollekens Relief") writes:
"Also skillfully masked in the 18th c.[entury] were the repairs [page 113] to the relief of not only restored elements but also original parts, including the ancient heads of nos. 6 [Domitian], 8 [Genius Senatus], and 10 [boy ministrant], which were presumably found separated at the time of excavation, when the relief itself may have been found in as many as 6 pieces (along all of the principal cracks). (If the relief were not broken when first discovered, then we would have to presume that it suffered some serious mishap thereafter) [my emphasis]".
Let's now turn to Pollini's suggestions about where the Nollekens Relief could have been on display within Domitian's Palace.
Cf. Pollini (2017b, 103, Section: "Bianchini and the place of discovery"):
"The imperial sacrifice on the Nollekens Relief would have been appropriate for display in a state room of the Domus Flavia. One possibility is the adjacent room on the E[east] side of the Aula Regia (Salon du [!] trono) (fig. 6). This room (which Bianchini called the ``Lararium´´ [cf. here Figs. 8; 8.1, label: "LARARIUM"; Figs. 58; 73, labels: "DOMUS FLAVIA"; "LARARIUM"]) apparently had an altar (later demolished) revetted with marble and set against the middle of its back S[outh] wall [with n. 19] ... The depth of each of the 5 niches is suitable at 1.18 m [with n. 21]. Another possible location for the Nollekens Relief is in the area of the great colonnaded vestibule to the southeast [with n. 22], next to the ``Lararium´´, or in one of the suites of rooms between the two parallel peristyles of the Domus Flavia and the Domus Augustana (fig. 6) [with n. 23]".
In his notes 19, 21-23, Pollini provides references and further discussion.
The correct findspot of the Nollekens Relief, as indicated by Bianchini (1738, 68) in the above-quoted passage, was already known to Silvano Cosmo. I therefore repeat in the following a passage, written above (cf. supra, at Chapter II.3.1.d); Section I.):
`When we compare Silvano Cosmo's plan (1990, 837, Fig. 8 [= here Fig. 39]) with the relevant detail of G.B. Nolli's map (cf. C. KRAUSE 1990, 122, Fig. 1), also illustrated by T.P. Wiseman (2019, 43, Fig. 16), it turns out that Bianchini had `excavated´ in the so-called Aula Regia and in the immediately adjacent halls `Basilica´ and `Lararium´, both within the `Domus Flavia´; cf. here Figs. 58; 73, labels: "DOMUS FLAVIA"; BASILICA"; "AULA REGIA"; "LARARIUM". - For the modern name `Aula Regia´; cf. Claridge (1998, 132-133, Fig. 54, p. 135; ead. 2010, 146-147, Fig. 55, p. 148): "`Aula Regia´ or Audience Chamber". See also the map SAR 1985, labels: 64: Domus Flavia: "Basilica"; 65: Domus Flavia: "Aula Regia"; 66: Domus Flavia: "Lararium"´.
As we have seen above, Pollini (2017b, 101) suggests instead that the Nollekens Relief (and the other relief, found by Bianchini together with it) were found in or near the Adonea, an ancient toponym, which Pollini (erroneously) locates within the Domus Augustana.
There are several problems connected with Pollini's just quoted hypothesis, that will be discussed in the following.
Francesco Bianchini's own measured plan of Domitian's Palace, where he had found the Nollekens Relief (cf. id. 1738, his Tab. VIII. [= here Fig. 8]), is drawn to "Scala Pedum Romanorum Mille", and is dated 1728. Note that in the plans of Bianchini (1728, published 1738) and of Pietro Rosa (1868 = Pollini's Fig. 7) north is approximatly in the middle of the bottom of their plans. - For the problem involved; cf. supra, at Chapter The major results of this book on Domitian and here Fig. 8.1, with its relating caption.
By writing: "... Both [reliefs] were probably found in or near the Horti Adonii or Adonea, in an area that separates the ``private sector´´ (Domus Augustana) from the ``state sector´´ (Domus Flavia) of the palace, and just northeast of the grand triclinium of the latter [my emphasis]" - Pollini (2017b, 101) refers to Pietro Rosa's plan of 1868, in which Rosa has tentatively located the: "HORTI ADONEA?" precisely there, where Pollini locates the Horti Adonea in this passage.
Bianchini (1738, 68; cf. his plan Tab. VIII. [= here Fig. 8]) does not write that the Nollekens Relief was found "in or near the Horti Adonii or Adonea", as Pollini (2017b, 101) asserts. On the contrary, Bianchini makes clear by the lettering on his plan Tab. VIII. that the area, identified by him as the Adonea, belonged to the Orti of the Conti Spada. Note that Bianchini (1738) and Rosa (1868) locate the Adonea at the same site within Domitian's Palace.
In addition to this, Bianchini (1738, 68; cf. his plan Tab. VIII. [= here Fig. 8]) writes explicitly that the Nollekens Relief and the other relief were found in that hall of the Palace, where also "the colossal basalt statues of Hercules and Bacchus/Dionysus with Pan (now in Parma's Galleria Nazionale)" were excavated, as Pollini writes (cf. id. 2017b, 101, n. 11, quoting for that, F. BIANCHINI 1738, 54 and 58). - And that hall is located within the `Domus Flavia´, and was by Bianchini himself (cf. his plan Tab. II. = here Fig. 8) and is still today referred to as `Aula Regia´.
The captions of the illustrations of both reliefs; cf. Bianchini (1738, Tab. VI.: the Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36): and Tab. VII.: `the other relief´; cf. here Fig. 37) add to this expressis verbis that the area in question, where Bianchini found those two reliefs, belonged to the Orti Farnesiani.
See the caption of the etching of the Nollekens Relief; cf. Bianchini (1738, Tab. VI.; cf. here Fig. 36):
"1. Imp. Titus coronatus et velatus sacrificat super aram ... [follows the description of the other figures that appear on this relief] Anaglyphum marmoreum repertum anno MDCCXXII in Palatio Caesarum intra Hortos Farnesianos
Hieronymus Rossi incid.".
See also the caption of `the other relief´; cf. Bianchini (1738, Tab. VII. = Fig. 37):
"Fragmentum anaglyphi repertum in Palatio Caesarum intra Hortos Farnesianos MDCCXXII
Hieronymus Rossi incid.".
Whereas Bianchini (1738) indicates with the lettering on his plan Tab. VIII. (cf. here Fig. 8) that the area, (erroneously) identified by him - by Pietro Rosa (1868) and by Pollini (2017b) - as the Adonea, belonged to the Orti of the Conti Spada:
"Pars Mediana Palatii Caesarum Continet Theatrum Tauri et Hortos Adonios ubi hodie Horti Co : Spada".
Note that underneath this lettering (i.e., in reality to the north of it), Bianchini has drawn the ground-plan of the relevant garden. And underneath the drawing of this garden (i.e., in reality to the north of it) appears his lettering: "ADONEA sive Horti Domitiani Augusti [my emphasis]".
When looking for the first time at Bianchini's (1738, Tab. VIII. = Fig. 8) `Adonis garden´ in Domitian's Palace, I had the impression of knowing this garden already, and therefore read his detailed explanations, given in the letterings on his plan Tab. VIII. : only to find out that Bianchini did not draw the flower beds and a central pool of his Adonea after some real ancient architectural finds seen by him at this site. His layout of the Adonea is instead inspired by the garden, represented on the Severan Marble Plan, which already Giovan Pietro Bellori had correctly identified as `Domitian's garden of Adonis´. The garden, which appears on these fragments of the Severan Marble Plan, has now been identified with the excavated garden on the large terrace (measuring circa 135 × 165 m = 19.000 square metres) of that part of Domitian's Palace, which is located at the north-east corner of the Palatine, in the area of the (former) Vigna Barberini. - To all this I will come back below.
Bianchini (1738) comments on his representation of the Adonea in the lettering of his plan Tab. VIII. (= here Fig. 8 as follows:
"Indicationes adhibitae ad Ichnographiam partis Orientalis Palatii Caesarum quae et DOMVS AVGVSTANA
... Κ Ψ Φ Horti Adonii expressi in Vestigio Veteris Romae [`Vestigio Veteris Romae´ is the title of Giovan Pietro Bellori's book of 1673, which will be discussed below], ubi à Domitiano exceptum Apollonium Thyanaeum [?] scribit Philostratus, observante in Notis Belloris: à quo eoru structura juxta morem Assyrium erudite explicatur".
Bianchini (1738, 68; cf. his plan Tab. VIII. = here Fig. 8) mentions the find of the Nollekens Relief (F. BIANCHINI 1738, Tab. VI.) and that of `the other relief´ (F. BIANCHINI 1738, Tab. VII.) within the `Aula Regia´, that is to say that "sala", which is correctly indicated on Cosmo's plan (1990, 837, Fig. 8 = here Fig. 39) as the area, where Bianchini had `excavated´.
Cf. the map SAR 1985, label: 65: Domus Flavia: "Aula Regia" (for the relevant detail of this map: LTUR IV  fig. 6, s.v. Palatium); cf. Claridge (1998, 132-133, Fig. 54, p. 135; ead. 2010, 146-147, Fig. 55, p. 148): "`Aula Regia´ or Audience Chamber".
That part of Domitian's Palace on the Palatine, which Francesco Bianchini (1738, plan Tab. VIII. [= here Fig. 8]) and Pietro Rosa (1868 [= J. POLLINI 2017b, Fig. 7]) identified with Domitian's Adonea, whom Pollini (2017b) now follows, is not any more regarded as such. The Adonaea were instead a garden on the (in part) artificial terrace, built by Domitian within his Palace at the north-east corner of the Palatine, known from fragments of the Severan Marble Plan which carry the inscription DI(aeta) (a)DONAEA. Later this terrace was occupied by the Vigna Barberini.
With the identification of the ancient garden at the Vigna Barberini with Domitian's Diaeta Adonea, I follow Filippo Coarelli (2009b, 90-91, Figs. 32; 33: "Frammento della pianta marmorea severiana con Adonaea. Lo stesso con la ricostruzione teorica del portico e l'aggiunta del frammento con la scritta DIA"; cf. F. Coarelli, in: F. COARELLI 2009a, pp. 438-439. cat. no. 29). Of the same opinion is Maria Antonietta Tomei (2009, 288). - See now also Eric M. Moormann (2018, 172, n. 67), and Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt (2020, 186).
I have elsewhere summarized the recent findings concerning Domitian's `Adonis Garden´ within his Palace on the Palatine; cf. Häuber (2014a, 301-302; see also p. 684):
"The excavations in the Vigna Barberini on the Palatine (map 3 [= here Fig. 71], labels: PALATIUM; Vigna Barberini) have shown that the rectangular terrace which enlarged the plateau of the hill was finished under Domitian as part of his palace [with n. 107]. So far only one third of the building has been uncovered; the substructures of its north wing may have accommodated the Tabularium principis [with n. 108]. In the large garden of this building occurred several rows of half amphorae embedded in the soil, but upside down. According to Françoise Villedieu [with n. 109], this unusual practice checked the growth of those plants. The excavators do not follow Giovan Pietro Bellori [with n. 110], who was first to identify this building with the aule Adonidos [with n. 111], a building in the Palatine palace where Domitian sacrificed to Minerva and received Apollonius of Tyana (Philostratus, VA 7, 32) [with n. 112]. Philostratus says that this place `was bright with baskets of flowers, such as the Syrians at the time of the festival of Adonis make up in his honour´ [with n. 113]. This old hypothesis was based on the fact that the fragments nos. 46a-d of the Severan marble plan [with n. 114] show a large garden, the lettering of which Coarelli  reconstructs as Di(aeta) [page 302] (a)DONAEA. These fragments do not show adjacent structures, which is why the location of the represented building is controversial [with n. 116]. Coarelli [with n. 117] believes that these half-amphorae prove his identification of this building as the Diaeta Adonaea. I follow him, since, in my opinion, there is no alternative on the Palatine (maps 3 [= here Fig. 71]; 6, labels: DI(aeta) (a)DONAEA; S. Sebastiano; ``AEDES ORCI´´ [with n. 118]; SOL INVICTUS ELAGABALUS; IUPPITER ULTOR; Vigna Barberini); also Maria Antonietta Tomei, who has studied the gardens within the various domus and imperial palaces on the Palatine for many years, shares this opinion [with n. 119]. Linda Farrar, taking it for granted that this building is, in fact, the Adonaea, comments on these finds from the perspective of garden studies; her observations perhaps corroborate Coarelli’s hypothesis: ``The pots had been set in the ground into a bed of marble chippings and because they were placed so close together, the pots may have served as receptacles for plants associated with the cult of Adonis. A wider spacing would indicate permanently planted pots of flowers or shrubs instead …´´. And on the Diaeta Adonaea of the Severan marble plan Farrar remarks: ``… An elongated rectangular feature across the centre of the garden could be a euripus, and the series of irregularly shaped boxes that surround it may be flower beds. However, four blocks, each of four lines (with serifs) have remained a puzzle; these perhaps detail benches or beds upon which the pots containing `Adonis Gardens´ could have been placed. After the plants had died, they could then have been thrown into water, in this case the euripus, to complete the full ritual´´ [with n. 120; my emphasis]".
In my note 107, I quote: "M.A. Tomei and F. Villedieu have recently excavated at its north-east corner a structure which they identify as the coenatio rotunda in the Domus Aurea (Suet., Nero 31); cf. Carandini et alii 2011, p. 143. They [i.e., A. CARANDINI et al. 2011, 143] themselves interpret this structure as a ``torre-tempietto´´ instead and identify the coenatio rotunda with the octagonal room within the `Esquiline Wing´ of the Domus Aurea [cf. here Fig. 71, labels: MONS OPPIUS; DOMUS AUREA]; cf. p. 145, fig. 11; Carandini, Carafa 2012, Tav. 110-112".
Cf. note 108: "Coarelli 2009b, p. 78 with ns. 104, 105; cf. Villedieu 2009, pp. 246-247; according to her the size of the terrace measured c. 135 × 165 m / 19.000 square meters [my emphasis]". - For the Tabularium Principis, which was certainly accommodated within this substructure; cf. now infra, at Appendix IV.b.2.).
Cf. note 109: "Cf. Villedieu 2001, p. 98; Coarelli 2009b, p. 91 with n. 277".
Cf. note 110: "Bellori 1673, pp. 47-48, ``TABVLA XI Donea. Adonea, sive Adonidis Aula´´, who bases his correct identification on ancient literary sources (I had the chance to consult this book at the British School at Rome, BSR); cf. the commentary on this work by Muzzioli 2000; Beaven 2010, p. 330 with n. 25".
Cf. note 111: "So Sulze 1940, p. 513 (without providing a reference)".
Cf. note 112: "Richardson Jr. 1992, pp. 1-2 figs. 1; 2".
Cf. note 113: "Translation: Farrar 1998, p. 185 with n. 51; cf. Frass 2006, p. 282".
Cf. note 114: "Cf. M. Royo, s.v. Adonaea; s.v. Adonis, Aula; Άδώνιδος αύλή, in LTUR, I, 1993, pp. 14-16; 16, figs. 1; 2".
Cf. note 115: "Coarelli 2009b, pp. 90-91; F. Coarelli, in Coarelli 2009a, pp. 438-439, cat. no. 29".
Cf. note 116: "M. Royo, s.v. Adonaea; Adonis, Aula; Άδώνιδος αύλή, in LTUR, I, 1993, pp. 14-16; 16, figs. 1; 2".
Cf. note 117: "Coarelli 2009b, pp. 90-91; F. Coarelli, in Coarelli 2009a, pp. 438-439, cat. no. 29".
Cf. note 118: "C. F. Coarelli, s.v. Orcus, Aedes, in LTUR, III, 1996, p. 364.
Cf. note 119: "Tomei 2009, p. 288, cf. passim (referring to earlier studies)".
Cf. note 120: "Farrar 1998, p. 185 with ns. 51-55 (with references); cf. p. 7 (with fig.); cf. for the relevant rituals also Marzano 2008, pp. 3-4 with ns. 6, 7, fig. 3".
To my above-quoted note 109, I should like to add the following publications on the cenatio rotunda in Nero's Domus Aurea, which has now been identified with the structure, excavated at the (later) Vigna Barberini.
Cf. Franςoise Villedieu (2010; ead. 2011a; ead. 2011b; ead. 2012; ead. 2015a; ead. 2015b; ead. 2016, 107, n. 2; ead. 2021 [with complete bibliography]); Filippo Coarelli (2012, 504, 509; id. 2015; id. 2021), and Edoardo Gautier di Confiengo (2021), the findings of which the author was kind enough to share with me. Gautier di Confiengo (2021) and Eric M. Moormann (2020b, 19-23), to which Gautier di Confiengo has alerted me as well, compare Nero's cenatio rotunda on the Palatine also with the octagonal room within the `Esquiline Wing´ of the Domus Aurea. Both of which had approximately the same dimensions : diameter circa 16 m, but the `Esquiline Wing´ of the Domus Aurea on the Mons Oppius was, as Moormann (2020b, 21) writes: "situato in una parte secondaria ed intima della residenza", whereas the cenatio rotunda of the Vigna Barberini, given its location within Nero's Domus Aurea located on the Palatine, that served the emperor's official functions like receptions, was obviously "una struttura per i banchetti di stato ufficiale"; cf. Moormann (2020b, 21 with n. 19, providing references). Edoardo was, in addition to this, kind enough to send me the `3D´-reconstructions of the Domus Aurea, created by Marco Fano and published by Clementina Panella (2013, 101, Fig. 122, p. 113, Fig. 136).
The caption of Panella's Fig. 122 reads: "Ricostruzione 3D del paesaggio della Domus Aurea vista da Est. (Elab.[orazione] Marco Fano)". The caption of her Fig. 136 reads: "Ricostruzione 3D dell'atrio vestibolo e dello stagnum guardando verso il Palatino/Velia. (Elab.[orazione] Marco Fano)".
Into these two reconstructions, Panella's Figs. 122 and 136, is also integrated Nero's cenatio rotunda on the Palatine. For a plan, into which both Nero's cenatio rotunda on the Palatine and the octagonal room within the `Esquiline Wing´ of the Domus Aurea on the Mons Oppius are likewise integrated; cf. Villedieu (2010, 1090, Fig. 1.: "Vestiges du palais de Néron ...", who refers to her n. 2 for the cartographic sources of her plan. Interestingly, Villedieu's location of Nero's cenatio rotunda within the area of the (later) Vigna Barberini differs from that of the location of this structure, as assumed on Marco Fano's `3D´-reconstructions of the Domus Aurea, published in Panella (2013). Fano's location of Nero's cenatio rotunda on the Palatine was also marked on a plan, that had been added as a loose sheet to the exhibtion-catalogue on Nero, edited by Maria Antonietta Tomei and Rossella Rea (Nerone, 2011), and has the following title: "Nerone Nero 12.04.-18.09.2011 Il Percorso della Mostra The Exhibition Itinerary", label 7: "coenatio rotunda".
In our maps, I have followed the location of the cenatio rotunda, as suggested by Villedieu (2010, Fig. 1).
Cf. here Figs. 58; 71; 73, labels: PALATIUM; DI(aeta) (a)DONAEA; S. Sebastiano; "AEDES ORCI"; SOL INVICTUS ELAGABALUS; IUPPITER ULTOR; site of Nero's CENATIO ROTUNDA; Vigna Barberini: MONS OPPIUS; DOMUS AUREA.
ChapterV.1.i.3.b); Section III. Does the design of the Nollekens Relief reflect
the topographical context, for which Domitian had commissioned it?
Pollini (2017b, 113, Section: "An emperor sacrificing") describes Domitian's figure on the Nollekens Relief in detail:
"As the primary and tallest figure, the emperor [Domitian; no. 6] is shown in the middle, sacrificing over a small altar laden with offerings and decorated with ox-heads and garlands. He wears the noble and voluminous toga; this is probably the toga picta, the embroidered purplish toga of the triumphator, and would originally have been painted. The emperor's head [at least on the photo here Fig. 36] is well preserved and shows no evidence of recutting. Under his veil he wears a laurel crown, the tips of which appear to be broken off. The other figures probably also wore laurel crowns at the sacrifice, with the exception of the helmeted female personification (no. 11 [i.e., the Dea Roma]) [with n. 63]. On the emperor's feet are calcei patricii, the high double-knotted red shoes of the patriciate [with n. 64]. The location of the altar and the turn of his [i.e., Domitian's] body suggest that the emperor was pouring a libation from a patera, evidently correctly re-created by the restorer. In his other hand, the emperor holds a large book scroll of a type not generally known in antiquity; ancient book scrolls held by Roman magistrates, by contrast, were typically very small [with n. 65; my emphasis]".
In his notes 63-65, Pollini provides references and further discussion.
In his note 65, Pollini writes: "See, e.g., the scroll held by Gaius Caesar on the so-called Sandaliarius Altar from Rome, now in the Uffizi Gallery and the ``Tiberius Relief´´ on loan to the Getty Villa Museum. For the former, see ... [i.e., here J. POLLINI 1987] 33-34, pl. 14.1; for the latter ... [i.e., here J. POLLINI 2012] 97, fig. II.31a".
As on Frieze A of the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Fig. 1; Figs. 1 and 2 drawing: figure 6), Domitian holds, in my opinion, also on the Nollekens Relief (cf. Fig. 36: figure 6) a rotulus in his left hand.
Pollini (2017b, 113) does not explain the just-mentioned iconographic feature `book scroll´, nor does he draw comparisons with the Cancelleria Reliefs in this case. Concerning the rotulus, held by Domitian (now Nerva; cf. here Figs. 1; 1 and 2 drawing: figure 6) himself on Frieze A of the Cancelleria Relief, and concerning the rotulus, carried for Vespasian by one of the men of his entourage on Frieze B of the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Figs. 2; 1 and 2 drawing: figure 17), I myself have followed the interpretation, given by Erika Simon (1963, 9, 10, quoted verbatim supra, in Chapters I.2.1.a), and V.1.b), and infra, at Chapter VI.3.), and repeat it here again:
`to both emperors on the two friezes of the Cancelleria Reliefs [cf. here Figs. 1; 2; Figs 1 and 2 drawing] belongs a rotulus. Domitian (now Nerva) on Frieze A carries it himself in his left hand, whereas for Vespasian a rotulus is carried by a man of his entourage. Both rotuli contain the vota of these emperors, made by them to the gods, praying them to be granted a victory in the war, to which Domitian on Frieze A is shown as leaving, whereas in Vespasian's case on Frieze B this victory has already been granted - according to Simon (1963, 9, 10) these were the vota taken by the commander of an army pro reditu´. - To this I will come back below.
Pollini (2017b) describes also the other 10 figures that appear on the Nollekens Relief in detail. I will only mention them shortly. For the following, see the numbering of these figures on here Fig. 36. As we have already heard above, the Emperor Domitian is figure no. 6 on this relief.
Cf. Pollini (2017b, 113, Section: "Cult personnel"): the figure no. 5 in the background is a tibicen, nos. 2 and 10 are "young sacrificial attendants, ministri". They are precisely "paedagogiani (servile pages)", and belong to Domitian's household. Cf. pp. 114-115 (Section: "Lictors and a soldier"): two lictors (nos. 1 and 4) with "fasces laureati which imperial fasces bore usually on the occasion of a triumph [with n. 76; page 115] ... Both lictors wear low, common-style shoes (calcei) appropriate for freedmen, the class to which most lictors belonged [with n. 78]. Both are paludati, wearing not a civic toga but a tunic and a military cloak, fastened with a round fibula. The same type of tunic and military cloak fastened with a fibula is worn over the shoulders of the background figure (no. 3), but he bears no fasces over his left shoulder and because of his beard [with n. 79] is probably a Roman soldier of a stock type [my emphasis]".
In his notes 76, 78-79, Pollini provides references.
Pollini (2017b, 115, n. 79) writes: "Traces of the beard of this figure [no. 3, i.e., of the soldier] are barely visible in the present relief (fig. 12 [i.e., the Nollekens Relief, here Fig. 36, illustrating with this photograph its current, badly damaged state]). For the bearded soldiers in the 1st. c.[entury] A.D., see A. Bonanno, Portraits and other heads on Roman historical relief up to the age of Septimius Severus (BAR S6; Oxford 1976)".
Hans Rupprecht Goette (Schwertbandbüsten der Kaiserzeit. Zu Bildtraditionen, Werkstattfragen und zur Benennung der Büste inv. 4810 im Museum der bildenden Künste in Budapest und verwandter Werke. 1. Die Schwertbandbüste Inv. 4810 im Museum der Bildenden Künste, 2021, 22-23) writes about the fact that having a beard may characterize a represented man as a soldier:
"Daraus mag man schließen, daß der Portrait-Typus Δο [cf. here Fig. 3] des Hadrian bereits sehr viel älter war. Einen historischen Anlaß für ein Bildnis des Hadrian mit jugendlichen Zügen und einer militärisch attributierten Büste oder Gestalt könnte seine Auszeichnung durch Traian gewesen sein, die während des dakischen Feldzuges 105/106 stattfand. Er war damals zum legatus leg. I Minerviae ernannt worden [with n. 63]. Bedeutend war zudem die damalige Übergabe eines Siegelringes, die traditionell seit Beginn des Prinzipats, also schon unter Augustus und dann immer wieder durch weitere Kaiser - bei der hier genannten Übergabe soll es sich um ein Siegel des Nerva gehandelt haben, der es demnach bereits seinem Nachfolger Traian überge- [page 23] ben hatte -, als Zeichen der Ernennung zum Caesar verstanden werden konnte [with n. 64]. Freilich scheint auch in jenen früheren Jahren das Alter Hadrians (mehr als 30 Jahre) zu der im Bildnistypus dargestellten jungen Erscheinung nicht recht zu passen - wenn denn der ›schüttere‹ und daher als ›jugendlich‹ verstandene Bart überhaupt auf geringes Alter hinweisen soll. Denn es ist zu bedenken, daß damals (um 106 n. Chr.) bei Traian selbst noch die Unbärtigkeit modisch war; ein Bart wird in flavischer und traianischer Zeit vor allem in militärischen Zusammenhängen gezeigt – sei es bei Soldaten auf Staatsreliefs, sei es auch bei einigen Schwertbandbüsten [with n. 65]. Der noch nicht die Wangen, die Oberlippe und das Kinn vollständig bedeckende Bart Hadrians beim Bildnis im Typus Δο sollte deshalb wohl nicht ausschließlich als Zeichen seines Alters oder seines ›Nachfolgeanspruchs‹ im Sinne Linferts [cf. his n. 62] interpretiert werden - beides mag durchaus mitschwingen. Wichtiger ist, daß sich hierin ein Hinweis auf den erfolgreichen Militär spiegelt, als der Hadrian nach der Verleihung der dona militaria wahrgenommen werden konnte und wohl auch sollte. Dies wurde ihm bei seiner auf das Heer gestützten Herrschaftübernahme im Sommer 117 n. Chr. nochmals nützlich".
Goette's (2021, 22-23) above-quoted passage is discussed and quoted above in more detail, comprising his footnotes; cf. supra, at Chapter I.2. The consequences of Domitian's assassination ....: 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 Contribution by Peter Herz, with The Contribution by Franz Xaver Schütz, and with The Contribution by John Bodel; at Section VI.2. Hadrian's portrait-type Delta Omikron Δο (here Fig. 3); and at Chapters VI.2.1-VI.2.4; 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.
Cf. Pollini's (2017b, 115, Section: "Comparison with the Cancelleria Reliefs"):
"The sacrificial ceremony with paludate lictors should in the Nollekens Relief be understood as taking place outside the pomerium [with n. 80]". Cf. p. 117: "Similarly in the Nollekens Relief the elderly bearded and long-haired figure (no. 8) beside the emperor is identifiable as a personification of the Senate [with n. 87; my emphasis] ... Cf. p. 117: "Very similar to the Roma on both Cancelleria Reliefs is the foreground figure at right in the Nollekens Relief (no. 11) [my emphasis"]. Cf. p. 118: "To the left and right of the personified Senate, two figures in the background, nos. 7 and 9, are distinguished by their togas ... they are undoubtedly the two consuls [my emphasis]". Cf. p. 118: "In the Nollekens Relief, the sacrifice performed by a togate emperor, accompanied by lictors in military dress bearing fasces laureati, which are found in the context of imperial triumphs, may bear reference to an actual sacrifice in a liminal space at the old entrance to the pomerium by the Porta Triumphalis, through which triumphatores passed (see below)".
To this I should like to add that the figure in the background, no. 7, is indeed wearing a toga, the lower seam of which, as well as its lacinia are visible at the bottom of the relief, immediately above the lettering "7". This consul is, therefore, obviously wearing a similar toga as Domitian (figure 6), who is standing right in front of him. Of the toga of the other consul, figure no. 9, we see the folds of the umbo on his left shoulder. For the names of the different parts of the toga, for example lacinia and umbo; cf. H.R. Goette (1990, 3, Fig. 2).
Cf. Pollini's (2017b, 124, Section: "Triumphal imagery and the scene of sacrifice in the Nollekens relief):
"Though no trace of paint remains in the Nollekens Relief, the purple of Domitian's toga embroidered with gold would have made him stand out all the more from the other participants in the sacrifice [with n. 116]. The small altar is shown in the relief, laden with offerings and without any sacrificial animals in evidence, would not have been used for the culminating sacrifice to Jupiter on the Capitoline, which was a bloody sacrifice [with n. 117]. Instead, it would allude to the sacrifice performed at the Porta Triumphalis, thereby recalling Domitian's triumph [my emphasis]".
In his notes 116 and 117, Pollini provides references and further discussion.
Let's now also turn to `the other relief´ (cf. here Fig. 37), found by Bianchini in 1722 within the `Aula Regia´, together with the Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36).
Cf. Pollini (2017b, 99):
"Another Roman relief, with a mythological subject (fig. 5 [= here Fig. 37]), was excavated with the Nollekens Relief, but has never been discussed. This led me to question of where within Domitian's Palace the relief might originally have been displayed, and to suggest new ways to identifying certain areas of the palace, their use, and significance".
Cf. Pollini (2017b, 104, Section: "The other relief"):
"The subject of females in Greek dress (fig. 5 [= here Fig. 37]) might have been more appropriate for an area more personal to the emperor, such as the Adonea Peristyle. This was where Domitian once had a private meeting with the philosopher Apollonius of Tyana (Philost. 7.32) [with n. 24]. Apollonius was brought to Domitian as he was sacrificing to his patron goddess Athena/Minerva in the open ``courtyard of Adonis´´ ... The meeting may have taken place in either of the adjacent suites of rooms. Because an association with Adonis would be appropriate for Venus and the three Graces, they are quite possibly the females represented in the relief [with n. 27; my emphasis]".
In his notes 24 and 27, Pollini provides references and further discussion.
This fragmentary relief (cf. here Fig. 37) shows four female representations or divinities in Greek dress and has certainly contained more figures originally. Personally I therefore do not follow Pollini's interpretation of the relief, as representing Venus and the three Graces, nor as an appropriate decoration for this presumed `Adonisgarden´.
And that is because of the following reasons, a) this relief was not found `in or near´ that part of Domitian's Palace, which Pollini (2017b, 101-102) identifies with the Adonea; and because b) that part of Domitian's Palace, which Pollini identifies with the `Adonisgarden´, can certainly not be identified with the Adonea (cf. supra, at Chapter V.1.i.3.b); Section II.).
In order to answer the question, posed in the title of this Section: Does the design of the Nollekens Relief reflect the topographical context, for which Domitian had commissioned it? - we need to study Francesco Bianchini's account (1738) in more detail.
Since I have asked myself, whether or not the area immediately surrounding the `Aula Regia´ of Domitian's `Domus Flavia´/ Domus Augustana could possibly be reflected in the specific design of the Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36), and considering at the same time the construction date of Domitian's Palace on the Palatine (AD 81 until around 92; cf. J. POLLINI 2017b, 120), I have studied above the temple podium right in front of the `Domus Flavia´, following those scholars, who attribute it (tentatively) to the Temple of Iuppiter Invictus (cf. supra, at Chapter II.3.1.d), Sections IV., VII.-X.).
For the date of Domitian's Palace; cf. also Françoise Villedieu (2009, 246): "Domiziano era già diventato imperatore quando furono completati i lavori e la data del 92 suggerita dalle fonti per segnare la fine della costruzione del Palazzo Imperiale ...". - Unfortunately she does not quote those "fonti".
Provided this identification of the Temple of Iuppiter Invictus is correct (which I think it is), it is tempting to believe that Domitian, before leaving for this military campaign, had prayed to this Jupiter, asking him to grant him the victory. From this war Domitian has now returned victoriously, as the Nollekens Relief (cf. here Fig. 36) `reports´. - Provided it is likewise true that what we see in the Nollekens Relief is Domitian's sacrifice which preceded his (last) triumph, celebrated in AD 89, as Pollini (2017b, (2017b, 120, 124) suggests. - Consequently, the rotulus, Domitian is holding in his left hand on the Nollekens Relief, would probably contain his vows, which he had made pro reditu before leaving for this military campaign. - These vows, Domitian will now fulfill in due course, since Iuppiter Invictus has not only granted him this victory, but has also `brought him back´.
Apart from celebrating Domitian's `invincibility´, the Nollekens Relief thus shows at the same time the emperor's pietas in regard to his guardian god, Iuppiter Invictus.
That the `Aula Regia´, where the Nollekens Relief was found, celebrated Domitian's triumphs (only a specific one, or all of them, for example also that of AD 89?), and obviously also his contribution to Vespasian's victory in the civil wars of AD 68-69, is also indicated by other items of the exuberant decoration of this hall with relevant marble reliefs, as documented by Francesco Bianchini and Giovanni Battista Piranesi.
The above-quoted scholars, who discuss Domitian's Palace on the Palatine, for example Claridge (1998, 132-133, Fig. 54, p. 135; ead. 2010, 146-147, Fig. 55, p. 148), Mar (2009, 255-261, Figs. 2-5), or Pollini (2017b), Wulf-Rheidt (2020), Sojc (2021), Raimondi Cominesi and Stocks (2021), and Raimondi Cominesi (2022), do not mention the fact that the marble decoration of the `Aula Regia´ referred also, or rather: predominantly, to Domitian's military victories.
Cf. Eugenio Polito (2009, 506) on the findings of those scholars, who studied the marble reliefs of the `Aula Regia´ that celebrate Domitian's military victories, for example the famous `trophies Farnese´ at Palazzo Farnese:
"109 Frammento di fregio con catasta d'armi dall'Aula Regia della Domus Flavia
Da Roma, Palatino (scavi condotti da Pietro Rosa per conto di Napoleone III, 1861-1870)
Alt.[ezza] cm 24; largh.[ezza] cm 44; spess.[ore] cm 13 ...
Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, Palatino, Magazzini del Criptoprtico, inv. 379583 90 d.C. circa
Nella sontuosa decorazione della sala del trono di Domiziano, nota convenzionalmente come Aula Regia, spiccano i resti di un fregio appartenente al colonnato ad avancorpi che scandiva le pareti: la testata di ciascun avancorpo recava nel fregio una Vittoria intenta a ornare un trofeo emergente da una catasta di armi barbariche [i.e., F. BIANCHINI 1738, 54, quoted verbatim infra, his Tab. IV. = here Fig. 9]. I due blocchi meglio noti, provenienti dagli scavi settecenteschi del Bianchini (1738, pp. 50-54 [quoted verbatim infra]), sono oggi conservati a Palazzo Farnese, dove occupano il centro delle due composizioni di marmi che ornano le nicchie della loggia terrena. Proprio in ragione di tale collocazione prestigiosa, questi straordinari esempi della scultura architettonica di età flavia sono entrati nella letteratura archeologica e storico-artistica con il nome convenzionale di ``Trofei Farnese´´ (Durry 1921; [von] Blanckenhagen 1940, pp. 64-69, figg. 52-55, tavv. 17-18; Pensabene 1979). Altri elementi della stessa decorazione, inviati a Napoli insieme al resto della collezione farnesiana, ebbero invece minor fortuna (Durry 1935; [von] Blanckenhagen 1940, pp. 65, 68, 94-96, fig. 56, tav. 19 e fig. 88, tav. 32; Pensabene 1979, p. 77, fig. 12; Gasparri 2007, p. 174, nn. 217-218.
La tematica bellica era completata da splendide basi di colonna, il cui plinto era decorato con cataste di armi simili a quelle del fregio: ne resta traccia in un'incisione riprodotta dal Bianchini e in altri documenti grafici settecenteschi, che mostrano appunto una di queste basi, verosimilmente appartenente a una delle colonne che sorreggevano gli avancorpi (Bianchini 1738, p. 52 [quoted verbatim infra], tav. III [= here Fig. 9]; cfr. [De] Polignac 2000, pp. 645 sg., fig. 13) e apparentemente perduta. Durante gli scavi ottocenteschi condotti da Pietro Rosa vennero alla luce due ulteriori frammenti dei fregi con Vittorie e trofei : uno con una catasta d'armi, che qui si espone in rappresentanza dell'intera decorazione, l'altro con il resto di un trofeo, oggi irreperibile, ma testimoniato da fotografie d'epoca (Durry 1921, p. 307, fig. 2, fr.[ammento] D; cfr. Tomei 1999, p. 352, fig. 259), forse proprio quello che sormontava la catasta d'armi dell'altro frammento. Il frammento conservato fu verosimilmente ridotto a una sottile lastra e regolarizzato nei margini per consentirne l'inserimento in una dei pilastri ideati da Rosa ed eretti di fronte al Casino Farnese sul Palatino, oggi smontati: nonostante il cattivo stato della superficie, la notevole qualità tecnica (sia pure apparentemente inferiore a quella dei Trofei Farnese) e la peculiarità dell'iconografia bastano comunque a suggerire livello e natura della decorazione della sala del trono imperiale.
Il florilegio di armi barbariche rappresentate nel fregio appartiene al tipico repertorio convenzionale dell'epoca imperiale, destinato a evocare il dominio universale piuttosto che specifiche vittorie. I segmenti di fregio con Vittorie e trofei sono una delle testimonianze più significative di quella smania autocelebrativa che i contemporanei stigmatizzavano in Domiziano (Suet. Dom. XIII.7; cfr. D.C. LXVIII.1.1), e che lo avrebbe portato a disseminare Roma di monumenti evocanti i successi militari familiari e personali attraverso la raffigurazione delle armi conquistate: ne restano esemplari spettacolari, quali i trofei oggi affacciati sulla balaustrata della piazza del Campidoglio, noti come ``Trofei di Mario´´ (Tedeschi Grisanti 1977), o i pilastri decorati sulle quattro facce da armi, conservati nel vestibolo degli Uffizi a Firenze, ma provenienti da Roma (Crous 1933), ma anche indizi non sottovalutabili di monumenti perduti, come quello del rilievo degli Haterii, sul quale l'arco definito arcus ad Isis reca un fregio con armi (LTUR I, p. 97, fig. 52).
Durry 1921, pp. 305 sg., fig. 1, fr.[ammento] C [my emphasis]".
To Polito's above-quoted account I will come back below (cf. infra, at Appendix IV.d.4.b)).
Polito (2009, 506) mentions in the above-quoted passage inter alia the "ARCUS AD ISIS", which the Senate had dedicated to Vespasion to celebrate his victories in the Great Jewish War (cf. supra, at Chapter IV.1.1.g), and here Figs. 89; 90).
For the Domitianic marble trophies, (erroneously) called `Trofei di Mario´, likewise mentioned by Polito (2009, 506); cf. Häuber (2014a. 77 note 257, pp. 301, 326-327, esp. p. 327 with ns. 365, 366, providing references):
"Pirro Ligorio [with n. 365] had already recognized that the two colossal Domitianic marble trophies, until 1590 decorating the Nymphaeum Alexandri [likewise called `Trofei di Mario´] on the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II [on the Esquiline in Rome] and then moved to the balustrade of the Piazza del Campidoglio, had been erroneously identified since the Middle Ages as the trophies erected by C. Marius [with n. 366]".
In the following, I quote François de Polignac's (2009, 507), already mentioned description of an architectural marble, found within the `Aula Regia´. This fragment of a frieze, representing "peopled scrolls", belonged to an architrave, of which also other remains are known, and was found within the `Aula Regia´. Polignac attributes this fragment to the "fregio maggiore" of the "primo ordine", the lower colonnade of the interior order of the `Aula Regia´. This architrave has also been documented in reconstruction drawings. Polignac describes, in addition to this, two large fragments of an architrave at the Museo Nazionale Archeologico di Napoli (ex collection Farnese) with a very similar frieze of "peopled scrolls". Those fragments were likewise found on the Palatine, and Polignac attributes them to the "frego minore" (i.e., the "secondo ordine", the upper colonnade) of the interior order of the `Aula Regia´.
Cf. François de Polignac (2009, 507), cat. no.
"110 Frammento di fregio architettonico
Da Roma. Domus Flavia. Scavi Farnese 1724-1730
Alt.[ezza] cm 65; largh.[ezza] cm 120; spess.[ore] cm 30
Soprintendenza Speciale per i beni Archeologici di Roma, Palatino.
Magazzino del Criptoportico. Ambiente V B. inv. 414259/12536
Età flavia, regno di Domiziano
Questo tipo di fregio, cosiddetto "Peopled Scrolls", con putti o eroti stanti in piedi e circondati da animali affrontati (cervi, tori, pantere ...) tra cespugli e racemi d'acanto, è molto diffuso nell'arte flavia. Si vedono a destra i due piedi di un putto quasi interamente sparito. L'animale nell'atto di saltare verso sinistra tra racemi d'acanto è molto probabilmente un cervide, caratterizzato dalla coda corta. Una parte dell'architrave, conservata, presenta un listello e astragali al disotto del fregio. Da un disegno molto accurato che l'architetto Charles-Louis Clérisseau (Auteuil 1721 - Parigi 1820) fece di questo pezzo (Ermitage, Gabinetto dei Disegni, Collezione Clérisseau, inv. 2160) possiamo vedere che un uccello, oggi poco riconoscibile, figura sul fogliame all'estremità sinistra, davanti al cervide. Questo frammento è particolarmente interessante per la sua provenienza. Come dimostra il disegno di Clérisseau appartenente a un gruppo ben individuato di studi che l'artista francese fece negli anni 1750-1760 dei pezzi architettonici della Domus Flavia, scoperti nel corso degli scavi Farnese sul Palatino (1724-1730) e allora raccolti negli Orti Farnesiani sul Palatino, il fregio faceva parte della decorazione architettonica del palazzo di Domiziano, e più precisamente dell'Aula Regia, dalla quale provenono quasi tutti i frammenti rinventi nel corso di tali scavi. Le dimensioni e la tipologia dei frammenti permettono di riconoscere un elemento del ``fregio maggiore´´ che correva lungo le pareti dell'Aula in corrispondenza col primo ordine di colonne e di avancorpi riconosciuto come ``Trofei Farnese´´ [cf. here Fig. 5.1], sopra i quali si alzava un secondo ordine.
Molti degli elementi architettonici della Domus Flavia furono trasferiti a Napoli all'inizio dell'Ottocento con la collezione Farnese : il nostro è uno dei pocchissimo rimasti sul Palatino. Anche se sono di un tipo e di misure leggermente diversi, due grandi frammenti di fregi, oggi visibili nelle collezioni del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli e anch'essi provenienti dal Palatino ([von] Blanckenhagen , fig. 80, tav. 28; Toynbee, Ward Perkins , p. 15, tav. VIII.1) rappresentano un'altra variante dello stesso motivo e potrebbero corrispondere al ``fregio minore´´, in corrispondenza con l'ordine superiore.
Clérisseau disegò anche una restituzione di questo frammento, con l'erote alato in posizione frontale a desta e, a sinistra, l'uccello su un cespuglo d'acacanto (Ermitage, Gabbinetto dei Disegni, Collezione Clérisseau, inv. 2146). Una copia della sua restituzione fu acquistata dall'architetto inglese James Adam (Soane's Museum, Collezione J. Adam, vol XXVI, n. 102).
Il contesto del rirovamento e la qualità dell'esecuzione, che suscitò grande interesse negli artisti di ambiente neoclassico confermano la datazione del frammento al regno di Domiziano.
[von] Blanckenhagen 1940, p. 65 ff. Tav. 20, fig. 58; Toynbee, Ward Perkins 1950, p. 11, tav. IX.3; Schörner 1995, p. 172, n. 227a, tav. 63.2".
As already mentioned above, I imagine that Gordon Leith (1913) has created the reconstruction of the interior order of the `Triclinium´ (here Fig. 110) as follows. He has drawn the extant fragments of the "fregio maggiore" and of the "fregio minore", as Polignac (2009, 507) refers to the friezes of the architraves of the "primo ordine" and the "secondo ordine" of the interior order of the `Aula Regia´, both of which were decorated with "peopled scrolls". Gordon Leith may also have copied the reconstruction drawings of the "fregio maggiore" of the interior order of the `Aula Regia´. Finally he has integrated his resulting reconstruction of an entire colonnade into his reconstruction of the `Triclinium´ (here Fig. 110) (!).
Bianchini (1738, 50-54) described the unique size and decoration of the `Aula Regia´:
"... Fu intrapreso di scoprire il di dentro delle muraglie circa l'anno 1720 ; e si riconobbero in quel recinto tre vaste Sale [i.e, the `Basilica´, the `Aula Regia´ and the `Lararium´; cf. here Figs. 8; 8.1; 58; 73; 108] : la principale [i.e., the `Aula Regia´] delle quali è nel mezzo , ed essendo scoperta interamente , fece vedere una delle più magnifiche strutture , che siano state finora vedute . La pianta [cf. on the border: "Tav. II."; cf. here Fig. 8] , che qui ne apporto fedelmente formata sulle misure che possono riscontrarsi nè muri stessi oggidì liberati dall'ingombramento delle ruine ; dimostra che stendevasi per lunghezza cento cinquanta piedi Romani , che sono 200 palmi in circa d'Architetto ; e per larghezza piedi cento , cioè palmi 132. Supera perciò di palmi in larghezza la nave maggiore della Basilica di S. Pietro in Vaticano : il che basta a formare qualche idea della magnificenza di sua struttura . Il vasto sito di questo ampio Salone è così distribuito in grandi nicchie maestosamente cavate nelle pareti , e distinte l'una dall'altra per colonne proporzionate a così gran tratto ; che , siccome in ampiezza non vi ha salone , che lo superì ; così in simmetria e magnificenza non vi ha struttura, che lo agguagli ...
L'ingresso principale situato nel mezzo della facciata conserva per di dentro la distribuzione delle nicchie indicate . Le due Colonne, che [page 52] che distinguono la nicchia dell'ingresso dalle vicine ; sono di giallo antico , scannellate , alte palmi 28 dall' imo scapo alla cimasa , e grosse a proporzione di quell'altezza , cioè palmi 3 ¼ . Erano sostenute da Basi di marmo Greco detto saligno , le più ricche di ornamenti , che siano mai state osservate . Ne apportiamo qui la figura [cf. on the border: "Tav. III." = here Fig. 9] , che dimostra il dado inferiore , o sia plinto , tutto ricoperto da spoglie militari , a guisa di trofei giudiciosamente adattate a quel sito , e scolpite , quanto finamente potrebbero formarsi in cera . Gli altri membri della base ricevono con pari giudicio e delicatezza ornamenti proprj e corrispondenti : perciocché il toro inferiore è composto da una corona civica nobilmente fasciata nelle sue frondi di quercia e ghiande da una benda , che le circonda e tiene raccolte . La scozia inferiore è coronata da gentili legature di fogliami di acanto , parte raccolti nel boccio , parte sparsi nel calice , tutte vagamente intrecciate . Gli astragali vengono ricoperti da frondi d'olmo , sottilmente escavate a forza di trapano in tutto il giro . La scozia superiore è vestita di fogli d'ellera [corr. edera ?] tramezzata con le sue bacche . Ed il toro superiore da un altro ordine di foglia di acanto , sostenute al di sotto con altre lisce , che mirabilmente si accordano . Corrispondente al lavoro delle basi vedesi quello de' capitelli, dell'architrave , del fregio , e della cornice : tut-te [page 54] te scolture de'migliori maestri delle secolo più colto, che fu quello de'dodeci primi Cesari : essendo formate , come appresso vedremo , in tempo di Domiziano . A fine di dare un saggio di tutti questi ornamenti, si rappresenta quella parte di Fregio [cf. on the border: "Tav. IV. = here Fig. 9], che soprastava ad uno de' capitelli delle colonne ; nella quale vedesi una Vittoria alata coronare un trofeo composto di spoglie militari con altre appiedi elegantemente intrecciate : tra le quali si possono riconoscere le proprie ancor de' Germani da' berrettoni tessuti di fiocchi , o di lana o di capelli , ad uso della nazione [the emphasis was made by the author himself]".
The caption of Bianchini's plan of the `Aula Regia´ (cf. id. 1738, Tab. II. = here Fig. 8) reads:
"Ichnographia Basilicae Palatinae sive Aula Regiae a Domitiano Principe in Palatio Caesarum instauratae nuper verò detectae intra Hortos Farnesianos anno MDCCXXIV".
The illustration shows Bianchini's measured ground-plan of the `Aula Regia´, with indication of a scale. On the left hand side (i.e., in reality in the north) appears the main entrance to this hall, marked with the letters "a" and "b", which is flanked by the bases of the columns "c" and "c", one of which is described in Bianchini's above-quoted text and illustrated on his Tab. III (= here Fig. 9). Next to the letterings "h" and "i", which appear close to the entrance leading there, is written: "Aditus ad Hortos Adonios, a Domitiano frequentatos". Compare here Fig. 8.1, which shows Bianchini's plan Tab. II integrated into our map Fig. 58, in order to demonstrate that Bianchini's original plan is not oriented according to `Grid North´ as the current cadastre and as our maps, which are based on the photogrammetric data that comprise the cadastre. For a discussion; cf. supra, at The major results of this book on Domitian.
The caption of Bianchini (1738, Tab. III. = here Fig. 9) reads:
"Bases antiqui operis è candido marmore elegantissimae sculptae , quae in Basilica praecipuâ , sive Aulâ Regiâ Domûs Tiberianae , in Palatio Caesarum à Domitiano instauratâ fulciebant columnas ad ejus ingressum interiìs sitas è flavo marmore probatissimo (vulgo Giallo antico) , assurgentes ad altitudinem pedum XVIII , ibidem reperta cum columnis anno MDCCXXIV .
Figura ad mensuram p[r]ototypi exacta unius basis dimidium fideliter rappresentat
Balthassar Gabbuggiani delin. et sculp."
Note that in the above-quoted caption of his Tab. III (= here Fig. 9), Bianchini (erroneously) identifies that part of Domitian's Palace, to which the `Aula Regia´ belongs, as the `Domus Tiberiana´, which, in reality, is located elsewhere (at the north-west corner) of the Palatine; cf. here Figs. 58; 73, labels: PALATIUM; "DOMUS TIBERIANA".
The caption of Bianchini (1738, Tab. IV. = here Fig. 9) reads:
"Trabeatio, di cuius zophoro dictum est pag: 55, item ostiorum maxime aule ornamenta".
As we have seen in the above-quoted passage, Bianchini (1738, 50-54) was especially interested in the weapons appearing on the marble reliefs, he discussed (cf. his Tab. IV. = here Fig. 9), attributing the represented trophies, inter alia woolen caps, to Germanic Peoples. Given the extremely high quality of those marbles, it is certainly worth while to study this topic in depth. Some of the reliefs representing trophies, `excavated´ and documented by Bianchini (1738) in the `Aula Regia´, are still extant and on display in the cortile of Palazzo Farnese at Rome, the famous `Farnese trophies´ (cf. here Fig. 5.1). They were also drawn by Giovanni Battista Piranesi; cf. Patrizio Pensabene (1979. Cf. M. DURRY 1921; P.H. von BLANCKENHAGEN 1940; and C. GASPARRY 2007, summarized by E. POLITO 2009, 509, quoted verbatim supra).
Bianchini (1738, 50-52) described and illustrated (cf. his Tab. III. = here Fig. 9) also the fact that the bases of the columns that flanked the main entrance to the `Aula Regia´ were decorated with trophies and with the corona civica. This iconographic detail may perhaps be read as Domitian's claim to have also had an important part in his father Vespasian's victory in the civil war of AD 68/69. Rita Paris (1994b, 82-83, quoted verbatim supra, in Chapter V.1.i.3.a)), actually gives Domitian credit for that.. - To this I will come back below (cf. infra, in Chapter VI.3.; Addition: My own tentative suggestion, to which monument or building the Cancelleria Reliefs may have belonged, and a discussion of their possible date).
Bianchini (1738, p. 52, quoted verbatim supra, at the discussion of his Tab. III = here Fig. 9]) called those above-mentioned column bases: "Basi di marmo Greco detto saligno , le più ricche di ornamenti , che siano mai state osservate", which, according to Eugenio Polito (2009, 506) unfortunately do not exist any more.
Fortunately, Paolo Liverani (1989, 36, cat. no. 15: "base di colonna", inv. no. 36402) publishes a marble column base from the theatre at Domitian's Villa at Castel Gandolfo, on display in the Antiquarium di Villa Barberini a Castel Gandolfo, which is likewise very richly decorated, inter alia also with a corona civica, illustrating this column base with a photograph. He himself does not compare it with the column bases from the `Aula Regia´ (cf. here Fig. 9), discussed here.
This opulent marble decoration in the `Aula Regia´, celebrating Domitian's victories, served an important purpose. By borrowing Pollini'i (2017b, 126) thoughts, expressed in the final passage of his article: "... Military victories leading to triumphs were a basis for deification after death", which I chose as the epigraph of this chapter, I suggest the following :
Domitian's `Domus Flavia´/ Domus Augustana with its `Aula Regia´ right opposite the Temple of Iuppiter Invictus, decorated as it was with the Nollekens Relief (here Fig. 36), which, together with the other above-mentioned items of its `triumphal´ decoration (cf. here Fig. 9), celebrated Domitian's `invincibility´ - had been orchestrated by Domitian in order to pave the way for his own divinization after his death.
In order to fully understand the meaning of the Nollekens Relief (here Fig. 36) and that of the `other relief´ (here Fig. 37) in its original context, we should, of course, study Domitian's entire masterplan (or possibly even the Gesamtkunstwerk) of his `Domus Flavia´/ Domus Augustana, an analysis which I cannot possibly provide here. At least some crucial details of the overall picture have already been discussed in this study. We have for example heard above (cf. supra, in Chapter II.3.1.d)), that Domitian had intentionally built his Palace at the site of the hut of Faustulus, where Romulus was raised, and where, therefore already Augustus (and later Nero) had chosen to reside - and that the latter fact had been immortalized by the name of Domitian's Palace: Domus Augustana.
Neither should we forget that some monuments functioned as a kind of prelude to his stately home : Domitian's Arch of Divus Titus on the Velia (cf. here Figs. 120; 58), the Domitianic Arch, which stood opposite the façade of the `Domus Flavia´, and the Temple of Iuppiter Invictus, immediately adjacent to this arch (cf. here Fig. 58 and supra, at Chapter The major results of this book on Domitian; and at Chapter II.3.1.d); Sections IV.; VII.-X.).
Fig. 120. The Arch of Divus Titus on the Velia in Rome. Cf. Paolo Liverani (2021, 83-84): "We can exemplify what is at stake by examining the decoration on the Arch of Titus ... a monument whose construction was planned by the Roman Senate shortly before the premature death of Titus, but which had to be built and finished under his brother and successor, Domitian". Cf. Diana E.E. Kleiner (1992, 183): "The inscription on the attic of the Arch of Titus indicates that the monument was erected by the senate and people of Rome in honour of the divine Titus, son of the divine Vespasian". For discussions: cf. supra, at The major results on this book on Domitian and infra, at Appendix IV.d.2.f).
The central bay of the Arch of Divus Titus on the Velia is decorated with two famous relief panels, the "spoils scene" and the "triumph relief", and in the vault of the arch there is a relief representing "the apotheosis of Titus"; cf. Diana E.E. Kleiner (1992, 187, Fig. 155, p. 188, Fig. 156, p. 189, Fig. 157). On the `spoils scene´ stands at the far right an arch (i.e., the Porta Triumphalis), through which the triumphal procession is marching. This arch is crowned by what seems to be statue groups. The centre of those statues is occupied by Domitian on horseback, accompanied to his left by his walking personal patron goddess Minerva, both are flanked on either side by the triumphal quadrigas of Vespasian and Titus, each of which pulled by four horses; cf. Diana E.E. Kleiner (1992, 185, Fig. 155). For a discussion; cf. infra, at Chapter VI.3.
Photos: Courtesy Franz Xaver Schütz (4-IX-2019).
The Temple of Iuppiter Invictus (cf. here Fig. 58) had stood at this site since the Republican period, but my guess is that Domitian or his architects had cleverly integrated it into the overall statement of this Gesamtkunstwerk that aimed at celebrating predominantly Domitian. In addition to this, it is tempting to follow Filippo Coarelli (2012, 283, quoted verbatim supra, at Chapter II.3.1.d); Section VII.) in assuming that this huge Domitianic Arch was dedicated to Divus Vespasianus. See for a discussion of this arch also supra, at The major results of this book on Domitian.
If true, and considering at the same time that this Arch of Divus Titus and this presumed Arch of Divus Vespasianus stood on the road that visitors to Domitian's Palace were obliged to take, the choices to erect these two arches there were at the same time a clear statement that his own reign was based on that of his two immediate predecessors, Divus Vespasianus and Divus Titus, as already stated by Coarelli (2012, 483, quoted verbatim supra, at The major results of this book on Domitian). If this arch in front of the `Domus Flavia´ was indeed dedicated to Divus Vespasianus, we may also wonder, what content Domitian might have chosen for the marble decoration of that monument.
For my own hypothesis that the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Figs. 1; 2; Figs. 1 and 2 drawing; Figs. 1 and 2 of the Cancelleria Reliefs, drawing, `in situ´) could have decorated this Arch of Vespasian, or rather the third arch, which Coarelli (2009b, 88; id. 2012, 481-483, 486-491) assumes at the "Porta principale" of Domitian's Palace Domus Augustana (cf. here Figs. 8.1; 58), which, according to Coarelli, was dedicated to Domitian himself; cf. supra, at The major results of this book on Domitian; and at The visualization of the results of this book on Domitian on our maps; and infra, at Chapter VI.3. Summary of my own hypotheses concerning the Cancelleria Reliefs presented in this study; Addition: My own tentative suggestion, to which monument or building the Cancelleria Reliefs may have belonged, and a discussion of their possible date; and at Appendix IV.d.2.f)).
ChapterV.1.i.3.b); Section IV.).The Nollekens Relief, Domitian's sacrifice at his Porta Triumphalis,
and the controversy concerning the location of this building
In my opinion, Pollini (2017b, 120 with n. 106) convincingly suggests that the Nollekens Relief (here Fig. 36) represents Domitian sacrificing in AD 89 immediately outside the Porta Triumphalis. Like Pollini (op.cit.), I assume that Domitian did that at the Porta Triumphalis, built anew by the emperor, and that Domitian would have started this triumph (which turned out to be his last) immediately after this ceremony.
The location of Domitian's Porta Triumphalis is hotly debated. Ignoring much of the recent discussion of the various locations of the Porta Triumphalis over time, Pollini (2017b, 120-126, Section: "Triumphal imagery and the scene of sacrifice of the Nollekens relief", with Figs. 19-23) follows Filippo Coarelli's (1968, 68, 79-83, 86; cf. id. 1988, 363, 372, 381, 400-402, 443-450, 451-452, 454-459; id. 2003, 374) erroneous location of the Imperial Porta Triumphalis between and to the south of the two Republican Temples of Fortuna and Mater Matuta in the Forum Boarium; cf. Pollini (2017b, 121, Fig. 20).
Filippo Coarelli's (wrong) location of Domitian's Porta Triumphalis at the "Area sacra di S. Omobono" was also followed by Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli and Mario Torelli (1976, ARTE ROMANA, scheda 2, who quote F. COARELLI 1968 for this hypothesis); they have attributed the Cancelleria Reliefs (cf. here Figs. 1; 2; Figs. 1 and 2 drawing) to this presumed quadrifrons (cf. their scheda 105).
Within the `Area sacra di S. Omobono´ have been excavated two Republican Temples of Fortuna and of Mater Matuta. At the site in question, Domitian's quadrifrons (i.e., his Porta Triumphalis) was not found, as asserted by Coarelli, but instead six pillars of a via tecta; cf. Richard Neudecker (1990, 176 with ns. 13, 14); Neudecker has also pointed out that the reliefs, illustrated by Coarelli in this context (1988), do not show exclusively the Imperial Porta Triumphalis, as asserted by Coarelli, but in reality different arches. Pollini (2017b, Figs. 21-23) follows also in this respect Coarelli (1988) by illustrating the same reliefs again, erroneously asserting that they all show Domitian's Porta Triumphalis. At the same time, Pollini follows Coarelli's likewise erroneous identification of the Temple of Fortuna at the Forum Boarium with that of Fortuna Redux, which, as we know, stood next to Domitian's Porta Triumphalis.
Coarelli's relevant hypotheses have been refuted, apart from Neudecker (1990) also by myself; cf. Häuber (2005, 51-55, Section: "III.4. The Porta Triumphalis" [with my reconstruction of the Republican Porta Triumphalis/ Porta Carmentalis], esp. p. 53 with ns. 385-390 [discussion of Coarelli's wrong location of Domitian's Porta Triumphalis, also on Coarelli's wrong identification of the Temple of Fortuna Redux], p. 55 with n. 412). See also Häuber (2017, 111-112 n. 56, pp. 168, 178-202, especially p. 200 [with a summary of the most recent discussion concerning the various locations of the Porta Triumphalis and concerning the assertion that the Arco di Portigallo could be identified as a pomerium-gate and/ or as Domitian's Porta Triumphalis), Section: "The pomerium of Claudius and some routes possibly taken by Vespasian, Titus and Domitian on the morning of their triumph in June of AD 71", discussing inter alia the relevant findings of G. FILIPPI and P. LIVERANI 2014-2015). For further discussion of the course of the pomerium; cf. Häuber (2017, 583-584, n. 306).
Personally I refrain from trying to suggest a location for Domitian's Porta Triumphalis.
Cf. here Figs. 58; 73, labels: CAPITOLIUM; Servian city Wall; PORTA CARMENTALIS; Republican PORTA TRIUMPHALIS [this is my own reconstruction of the Republican Porta Triumphalis]; VICUS IUGARIUS; Area sacra S. Omobono; S. Omobono; A; B [these letters mark the Republican Temples of Fortuna and Mater Matuta : Temple A is attributed to Fortuna, Temple B to Mater Matuta]; FORUM BOARIUM. - The via tecta between the Republican temples is indicated by the short dark blue line (i.e., an ancient road), oriented from north to south, which appears between the ground-plans of both temples (drawn red, to indicate ancient buildings).
For the above-mentioned sanctuary of Fortuna and Mater Matuta at the Forum Boarium most recently, cf. Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio and Paola Virgili (2020; cf. p. 166, Fig. 1: illustrating a plan of these two Republican temples and the single archaic temple, excavated underneath the eastern shrine). The two authors, who have both excavated at this sanctuary, do not mention in their article Coarelli's hypotheses discussed here concerning Domitian's Porta Triumphalis. And when meeting with Giuseppina Sartorio on 22nd February 2020 in Rome, she was kind enough to explain to me that she herself is likewise of the opinion that Coarelli's relevant assertions are not true.
Paolo Liverani (2021, 88) does not mention in this context that in several of his earlier publications, he had suggested that Domitian's Porta Triumphalis should be identified with the former Arco del Portogallo. For a discussion; cf. Häuber (2017, summarized above).
last update: 20.2.2023
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