Archaeologists Have Found the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Palatial Breakfast Chamber, Where He Dined Before Servants on a Marble Throne
The emperor started each day with an impressive display of power.
Caroline Goldstein, February 10, 2021
Archaeologists working at the sprawling 200-acre site of Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli have discovered a breakfast room where the Roman emperor would dine with his wife, Vibia Sabina.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the estate was constructed around 120 AD and served as a retreat for the emperor when he wanted to relax outside of his Palatine Hill palace residence in Rome. Some nine years later, Hadrian began living full time at the villa, ruling and from 20 miles east of the capital.
Researchers discovered the breakfast area within the ruins, and it reveals how the emperor and his wife began each day with an impressive display of power. They believe the emperor would have sat on a raised marble platform, flanked by fountains. Situated in a semi-circular area with windows, members of the court could have seen the ruler’s silhouette, making for a dramatic scene.
Both Hadrian and his wife were positioned as if on thrones, with retractable bridges further setting them apart from their many servants. The platform led to four separate bedchambers that boasted toilets embedded with precious stones.