Rome Reborn

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Rome Reborn

Colossus of Nero

Colossus of Nero

An enormous bronze statue of Nero. It was the work of Zenodorus, a Greek, and erected by Nero himself in the vestibule of the Domus Aurea (the “Golden House,” Nero's large private palace in the center of the city). After Nero's death, it was changed to a statue of the Sun. Commodus (A.D. 161-192) placed his own face on the statue. When Hadrian built the Temple of Venus and Rome in the area of the vestibule of Nero's now-demolished palace, he moved the statue next to the Colosseum. It is illustrated on ancient coins, but otherwise, except for the base, no trace survives of what must have been one of the city's most impressive and costly monuments.

Colossus Neronis

From Samuel Ball Platner, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, rev. Thomas Ashby. Oxford: 1929, p. 130-131.

A colossal bronze statue of Nero, 120 feet high, the work of Zenodorus, a Greek, erected by Nero himself in the vestibule of the Domus Aurea (q.v.) on the summit of the Velia (Suet. Nero 31; Plin. NH xxxiv. 45), but after the death of that emperor changed by Vespasian into a statue of the Sun (Plin. loc. cit; Suet. Vesp. 18; Mart. de spect. 2. 1 (see Domus Aurea); i. 70. 7; Cass. Dio lxv. 15; ὁ .... κολοσσὸς ὠνομασμένος ἐν τῇ ἱερᾷ ὁδῷ ὁδρύθη). Hülsen (HJ 321) considers ἱδρύθη to be a loose translation of refectus est, so that we need not suppose that the statue was actually moved. Dio states that some said it was like Nero and others like Titus. Hadrian, perhaps early in 128 A.D. (Mél. 1918-1919, 285-294), moved it nearer the Colosseum in order to make room for the temple of Venus and Roma, it is said, without taking it down (Hist. Aug. Hadr. 19). Commodus (Hist. Aug. Com. 17; Cass. Dio lxxii. 22) converted it into a statue of himself as Hercules; but at his death it was restored as the Sun and so remained (Cohen, Comm. 186, 206, 209; Herodian i. 15. 9; Reg. IV). Part of the pedestal which was built by Hadrian still exists, between the Colosseum and the temple of Venus and Roma. It is 7 metres square, of brick-faced concrete, and was originally covered with marble (see also Hieron. ad a. Abr. 2090; Hemerol. Philoc. ad VIII Id. Iun. CIL i. p. 266, 319; CIL viii. 212.82; Longin. de Subl. 57.2 (WS 1898, 177); Jahrb. d. Inst. 1913, 133).

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