Stadium of Domitian

3d model and reconstruction

Stadium of Domitian

Apart from the very evident trace left on the urban structure of Rome today in the shape of the beautiful Piazza Navona, there are still many remains of the ancient building in underground areas which include traces of the ancient tiers. The remains of the stadium can also be admired under the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone.

The external facade consisted of a double row of arches resting on pillars, the lower of Ionic order, the top on of Corinthian order; on each of the sides there was an entrance. The decorations in the Stadium were traditionally referred to as Pasquino, found in Piazza Navona near the corner with Via della Cuccagna and showing the group of  Patroclus and Menelaus; it should also be noted that in other excavations conducted in various periods along the roads surrounding the building on four sides, other statues have been found which were definitely part of the monument’s decoration.

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Short history of

Stadium of Domitian

As is well known, the present-day Piazza Navona constitutes one of the most important examples of the urban continuity of Rome. It is built over the track of the Stadium of Domitian, of which it has conserved the elongated rectangular shape, with the curve of the shorter north side.

The monument built by Domitian before 86 AD was supposed to serve for the conduct of Greek athletic games, particularly favored by the emperor. The monument measured 275 x 106 meters, and had two main entrances located on the long sides, which were joined by a third situated in the center of the curved side and preceded by a portico with columns in portasanta marble. The structure had a capacity of 30,000 spectators, and its rich decoration included the statue of Pasquino, a copy of a Hellenistic statuary group from Pergamum, probably representing Menelaus and Patroclus.

The stadium was renovated by Alexander Severus and one of its lupanari was the site of the martyrdom of Saint Agnes.

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