Rome > Palatine Museum (Antiquarium del Palatino)

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The Palatine Museum, is a museum located on the Palatine Hill in Rome. Founded in the second half of the 19th century, it houses sculptures, fragments of frescoes, and archaeological material discovered on the hill.
The Palatine Museum is housed in the former Monastery of the Visitation, built in 1868 on the remains of Domitian’s palace. Here the archaeologist Alfonso Bartoli, in the 1930s, established the new Antiquario Palatino. To allow the extension of the archaeological excavations then in progress on the hill, Bartoli demolished the building in neo-Gothic style that the Scot Charles Andrew Mills had built on the hilltop.
In 1882 and then during World War II, many of the materials found in the numerous excavations on the Palatine from the second half of the 19th century were placed in the Museo delle Terme (di Diocleziano). At the end of the war, only a small part of the collection returned permanently to the Palatine Hill.
In the 1990s the museum was reorganised and rebuilt on the occasion of the Bimillennium of Augustus, making it more user-friendly with multimedia installations.
In room V, works from the time of Augustus are exhibited. In particular, there are an eclectic statue of Hermes, which refers to the Greek sculptors Lysippus and Polykleitos, and a statue of a victorious athlete in basalt, probably commissioned by Octavian after the Battle of Actium. Some antefixes and some bas-relief plaques testify to the practice of the art of terracotta, inherited from the Etruscans. A fresco, unearthed in 1950 among the excavations of the Scalae Caci, depicts Apollo crowned with laurel, seated on a throne, with the citarain hand, near the omphalos.
In room VI there are paintings and decorations in opus sectile from the Domus Transitoria, built by Nero and then covered by the Domus Flavia.
Rooms VII and VIII group together works from the Julio-Claudian age up to the Tetrarchy. Among them there are several portraits, of which the main ones are those of Nero, Agrippina Minore, Antonino Pio, Adriano, and Marco Aurelio.
There is also the famous Alexamenos graffito, discovered in the Paedagogium in 1857, transferred first to the Kircherian Museum and then to the National Roman Museum, before being finally returned to the Antiquarium of the Palatine in 1946. The drawing, coarse in its features, represents a figure with the head of a crucified donkey and to his left another character with his arm raised. The two figures are separated by a Greek inscription which reads: "Alexamenus venerates [his] god". The work, dated to the third century AD, gave rise to multiple disputes. In general, it is considered that it was a representation for the purpose of derision against a Christian accused of practicing onolatry, that is to say the adoration of a donkey, the Onocoete, a belief also reported by Tertullian.
Room IX is a gallery that groups Roman copies of Greek statues, coming from the imperial palaces of the Palatine.
*"Museo Palatino". Parco archeologico del Colosseo. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
*Filippo Coarelli, Guida archeologica di Roma, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, Verona 1984, pag. 158.
*Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004, p. 244
*David L. Balch, Carolyn Osiek, Early Christian Families in Context: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003, p. 103
*B. Hudson MacLean, An introduction to Greek epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman periods from Alexander the Great down to the reign of Constantine, University of Michigan Press, 2002, p. 208


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