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article imageArchaeologists Find Nero's Revolving Banquet Hall

By Christopher Szabo     Oct 1, 2009 in Science
Archaeologists in Rome have discovered the remains of a rotating banquet hall, likely to be that of emperor Nero, which rotated night and day to impress his guests. The rotating hall is mentioned by Roman historian Suetonius.
The Associated Press (AP) reports the room is part of Nero’s Golden Palace (or Golden House, Domus Aurea in Latin) on Rome’s Palatine Hill. The excavation’s lead archaeologist, Francoise Villedieu, said the room was likely used to entertain government officials and VIPs. Villedieu said:
This cannot be compared to anything that we know of in ancient Roman architecture.
The dig has found what is believed to be the main dining room, with a diameter of more than 16 metres (50 feet) resting upon a four-meter wide pillar worked by four spherical mechanisms, which were probably driven by water.
Suetonius, in a biography of Nero, said of the room that it revolved: ”Day and night, in time with the sky."
Italy’s main archaeology official in Rome, Angelo Bottini, said the ceiling of the room might have been that mentioned by Suetonius, who also wrote of ivory panels sliding back and forth to shower perfumes and flowers on the guests. Bottini said:
The heart of every activity in ancient Rome was the banquet, together with some form of entertainment. Nero was like the sun, and people were revolving around the emperor.
Emperor Nero is known for his lavish and depraved lifestyle, as well as his persecution of the early Christians. He ruled from 37 A.D. to 68 A.D.
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