Abstract: The gardens of the Emperor: exploring and reconstructing the gardens of Hadrian’s Villa

From his famous wall in the North of England to his grand mausoleum, Castel San-Anglo, which rivaled Augustus’ tomb just across the Tiber, the Emperor Hadrian erected innovative and exceptional architecture that have enchanted both the archaeologist and the lay-man.  His villa, located at Tivoli, west of Rome, has long attracted visitors and scholars alike; it is one of the most significant sites of the Roman Empire. In particular scholars have focused on the unique and monumental architecture of the villa, meticulously excavating, documenting and studying these remarkable remains. By contrast, the gardens of the Villa remain poorly studied and understood. While several of the important gardens have been excavated, no systematic study of the gardens and landscapes has been undertaken. My recent research, as part of the team that is building a Virtual World reconstruction of Hadrian’s Villa, has focused on conducting the first comprehensive study of the gardens. This paper summarizes some of the important findings of this research and highlights new avenues for further research.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

Boatwright, Mary. Hadrian and the city of Rome.Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1987.

MacDonald, William and Pinto, John.Hadrian's villa and its legacy. New Haven: Yale University Press,1995

Opper, Thorsten. Hadrian : empire and conflict.Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2008

Mari, Z. and Sgalambro, S. “The Antinoeion of Hadrian’s Villa: Interpretation and Architectural Reconstruction,” AJA 111 (2007), 83-104.

Website:     http://vwhl.clas.virginia.edu/villa.html

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