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We know that the house of Hortensius, chosen by Augustus, was surrounded by those of Clodius, Scaurus, Crassus, Caecina, Sisenna, Flaccus, Catilina, and other members of the aristocracy. I am persuaded, however, that the secret of the selection is to be found in the simplicity, I will even say in the poverty, of the dwelling; in fact, such extreme modesty is worthy the good sense and the spirit of moderation shown by Augustus throughout his career. He could very well sacrifice appearances to the reality of an unbounded power. It is just, at any rate, to recognize that even in his remotest resorts for temporary rest and retirement from the cares of government he led the same kind of plain, modest life, spending all his leisure hours in arranging his collections of natural history, more especially the palaeo-ethnological or prehistoric, for which the ossiferous caverns of the Island of Capri supplied him with abundant materials.
It was only after the victory of Actium that, finding himself master of the world, he thought it expedient to give up, in a certain measure, his former habits, and live in better style. Having bought through his agents (per procuratores) some of the aristocratic palaces adjoining the old house of Hortensius, among them the historical palace of Catilina, he built a new and very handsome residence, but declared at the same time that he considered it as public property, not as his own. The solemn dedication of the palace took place on January 14th, of the year 26 before Christ. Here he lived, sleeping always in the same small cubiculum, for twenty-eight years; that is to say, until the third year after Christ, when the palace was almost destroyed by fire. As soon as the news of the disaster spread throughout the Empire, an almost incredible amount of money was subscribed at once, by all orders of citizens, to provide him with a new residence; and although, with his usual moderation, he would consent to accept only one denarius from each individual subscriber, it is easy to imagine how many millions he must have realized in spite of his modesty. A new, magnificent palace rose from the ruins of the old one, but it does not appear that the plan and arrangement were changed; otherwise Augustus could not have continued to sleep in the same room during the last ten years of his life, as we are told positively that he did.
The work of Augustus was continued by his successor and kinsman, Tiberius, who built a new wing (domus Tiberiana) near the northwest corner of the hill, overlooking the Velabrum. Caligula filled with new structures the whole space between the domus Tiberiana and the Roman forum. Nero, likewise, occupied with a new palace the southeast corner of the hill, overlooking the valley, where the Coliseum was afterwards built. Domitian rebuilt the domus Augustana, injured by fire, adding to its accommodations a stadium for gymnastic sports. The same emperor raised an altogether new palace in the space between the house of Augustus, on one side, and those of Caligula and Tiberius on the other. Septimius Severus and his son restored the whole group of imperial buildings, adding a new wing at the southwest corner, known under the name of Septlzonium. The latest additions, of no special importance, took place under Julia Mamaea (dicntce Mammeiance) and Helagabalus (baths on the Sacred Way).
It is impossible for me to give a minute description of this immense and complicated mass of structures; to render such a description intelligible I ought to make use of an indefinite number of plans, diagrams, sections, and photographs, and even then I am not sure that I could reach the necessary degree of clearness. One must be on the
spot; one must examine de visu those endless suites of apartments, halls, terraces, porticoes, crypts, cellars, to appreciate the difficulty of the problem. Every emperor, to a certain extent, enlarged, altered, destroyed, and recon
Remains of the House of Germanicos.
structed the work of his predecessors; cutting new openings, walling up old ones, subdividing large rooms into smaller apartments, and changing their destination.
Coming now to some particulars concerning a few of the leading portions of this immense group of buildings, I must remark that one section alone of the imperial Palatine buildings remained unaltered, and kept the former simplicity of its plan down to the fall of the Empire, — the section built by Augustus across the centre of the hill, which comprised the main entrance, or propylaia, the portico surrounding the temple of Apollo, the temple itself, the Greek and Latin libraries, the shrine of Vesta, and the imperial