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Archaeologists discovered a new room baptized as the Sphinx Room in the Palace of Nero (also known as Emperor Nero's Domus Aurea, or the Golden Palace), built 2,000 years ago, and decorated with detailed frescoes.
The team working on the restoration of the palace located under a hill next to the Colosseum came across an opening that led to a room covered with depictions of mythical creatures, including centaurs and the god Pan.
The Sphinx Hall
Archaeologists have dubbed the chamber "Sala della Sfinge", the Sphinx room, and they expressed that it is a significant discovery, although there is still much excavation work to completely unearth the place and only its vault is currently visible.
The find offers a glimpse of the “atmosphere of the 60s of the 1st century in Rome”, The archaeologists explained.
They added that “what can be seen in the vault is very visible and quite well preserved. On a white background you can see red-edged squares with ocher lines, and golden bands dotted by a dense series of floral elements”.
Each of these paintings show different types of animal forms, both real and mythological, from panthers to birds, centaurs and a sphinx, while others show musical instruments.
Nero's Domus Aurea
Built between the years 64 and 68, the immense complex that served as the palace of the emperor nero, includes buildings, gardens and an artificial lake.
Once nero died in the year 68, and about whom there is the black legend of having been playing the lyre during the great fire of the year 64 that devastated much of the center of the Roman Empire, and that we know from sources of the time that it was not like that, his successors tried to destroy all traces of his government.
Thus, for example, emperor trajan he covered the Domus Aurea with sand, and built baths on it.
Part of the site was discovered by Renaissance artists, including Rafael, and many of them managed to slide with ropes over a hole in the ceiling to contemplate the magnificent frescoes that would inspire their own works.
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