Sunday, February 2, 2014
historical trivia: the parties killed it
Emperor Nero's lust for excess was most evident in his elaborate parties. According to the ancient writer Seutonius, Emperor Nero's Domus Aurea had a circular main dining room with a roof that revolved day and night, in time with the sky. In what remains of the palace today, there is a large octagonal room with a domed ceiling that some believe is this dining room. The octagonal room has a large dome with an oculus in the middle. It predates the Pantheon--and was probably the inspiration for it. The architects of the Domus Aurea developed an innovative mechanism cranked by slaves, that made the ceiling underneath this dome revolve like the heavens. While the ceiling revolved, perfume was sprayed from the ceiling and rose petals were dropped on the diners. Legend has it there were so many rose petals falling at one dinner that one of the guests was asphyxiated.