Domus Carinae, rostrums home of Pompeius Magnus
On the Fagutal slope right in front of the Velia hill, the gens Pompeia had built his domus and in the atrium, near the images of the ancestors, Pompeius Magnus had the rostra of ships that he had captured when he commanded the whole Roman fleet both in the campaign against the pirates of Cilicia, which eradicated in three months, both in the subsequent war against Mithridates VI king of Pontus. For the victories reported in these military campaigns to Pompeius the triumph was decreed because he had secured the imperium maris to Rome.
The house was also known as Domus Carinae (House of the keels) and from this, probably the name extended to the whole surrounding area. The house as told by Cicero, who was a lieutenant of Pompeius, was not particularly large or particularly luxurious and Pompeius lived there until it was built the new house in Campus Martius near the theater that he donated to the city of Rome. Those rostra on the walls made it a symbol of the power of Rome and the great value of the one Roman commander who had won the title of the Great; it was the home of a true Roman vir militares, without magnificence and luxuries, but rich in the more valuable existed according to the mos maiorum. Pompey used it for political meetings with his supporters.
At Domus Carinae the faction of optimates met when it began the conflict with Julius Caesar and Pompeius came out from there when he went to gather his army in Brindisi.
After the defeat of Pharsalo and the death of Pompeius, all his assets were auctioned; none of optimates came forward to buy his houses, and among populares only Mark Antony made his offer and acquired all the properties that they were of Pompeius Magnus. The auction was probably "piloted" because Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompey the Great, could not make his offer to buy back the home of his ancestors. In the house at Carinae it seems that Antony has lived never, preferring instead the house on the side of the Palatine overlooking the Velabrum that allowed him to live close to his daughter Antonia who lived with him in the house of Fulvia his new wife. The rostral house probably was used for diplomatic meetings so much so that there occurred the first meeting between Mark Antony and Octavian, one in which it was decided the triumvirate.
On Fagutal, not far from the Temple of the Penates and the Temple of the Tellus, the house that was of Pompey the Great became a symbol of the greatness of Rome, able giving to its owner the legitimacy to the claim of command, almost an expression of a higher will divine. Some scholars believe that Mark Antony bought the house on advice of Julius Caesar, who wanted to prevent the house acquire the symbolic values that somehow acquired.
The house after the Mark Antony death passed among the state property; during the reign of Augustus no one lived there except Tiberius after his return from Rhodes; afterwards there are no more news of other guests.
Tiberius did not care about the house nor the other emperors after him; for Caligula and Claudius that house did not have a useful symbolism for their political propaganda, as for Nero.
The house was severely hit by the fire of 64 d.C. but Nero when designed his Domus Aurea he did not incorporate it, stopping at the Horti of Maecenas with which bordered; the Domus Carinae was still a symbol for the senatorial class of which Pompeius had been the champion and Nero did not want to create tensions.
The symbolic value and the aeternitas of the objects that Pompeius had placed in the atrium of his domus were still very much felt during the first century AD. because as Pliny explains "outside and around the thresholds there were other images of great minds, with the spoils taken from the enemy, which even the buyer was not allowed to detach, so that the houses continued eternally to triumph even changing the masters"; probably the fire of the 64 had caused damages to part of how much testify the greatness of who had inhabited in the house but not the to rostra because they were of bronze.
The house remained property of the imperial-owned until the beginning of the second century. B.C. when Trajan sold it, along with other properties to finance his war campaigns; the house was bought by a senator from the family of the Gordians, probably the father of the Emperor Gordian I.
Gordian I bought the house just for the symbolic value it had and it became almost a confirmation of their declared membership in the Antonia gens; but they did not content themselves with possessing the house that was of Antony, in fact Gordian III, to make manifest his belonging, went to live in the Domus Carinae, that embellished and enriched with other decorations and trophies. Gordian III was an emperor who needed symbols and memories that were able to ensure his political credibility and surely Pompey the Great's house had this semantic value.
Domus Carinae no longer exists and to date there have been no discoveries that allow locating its precise position, however, ironically, in today's Rome there are two street that have maintained the same route that they had already in the first century. a.C .: vicus ad Carinas which today is called “Via delle Carine” and the vicus Sandalarius which today is called “Via del Cardello”; the block between these two streets corresponds to the area in which the Domus Carinae was located.
by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 11/10/2018)