Scroll and Tablet Blog

This episode of Ancient HBO brought to you by CLAS-C 102 Ancient Roman Culture: Because Hogwarts has nothing on the past.

The ceiling of the Great Hall in Hogwarts is enchanted to reflect the weather outside (or whatever else Dumbledore feels will set the proper mood for rampant child endangerment—you do you, Crazy Wizard!). But even Universal Studios hasn’t figured out a way to make that work IRL. The Roman historian / gossip-fiend Suetonius describes the Golden House (Domus Aurea) of the emperor Nero, a massive pleasure palace that Nero had constructed in the heart of Rome (after arranging for a fire to burn down 25% of the city in order to clear the necessary land—you do you, Crazy Emperor!). It featured a dining room with a ceiling that rotated to match the movements of the stars, with precious jewels representing the constellations. Nero didn’t get to enjoy it for very long, since a few years later the Senate expressed their appreciation by taking a contract out on his life. No word on what role Severus Snape played in that coup.

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  • Dr. Martha Payne

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