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Welcome to History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings news stories about archaeology from around the world together on one site. From finds in ancient Egypt to new discoveries in anthropology, History Buff wants to know. And feel free to stop by History Buff's ** Author Interviews** for Q&As with authors of historical fiction. Enjoy!

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author

As an historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
large quantity of time searching for news in archaeology and history. Once in a great while a new archaeological discovery will act as an inspiration for what I'm currently writing. But most of the time the news stories I read are simply interesting tidbits of history. Unfortunately, I have disallowed comments because I travel so frequently that I can neither monitor nor respond to them. But I would still love to share the history that I find fascinating each day. So welcome! And feel free to visit my website at www.michellemoran.com.

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3.11.2008

More on the House of Augustus opening to public

By Christian Fraser
BBC News, Rome


One wall is painted with a trompe l’oeil of a theatre


Almost 50 years ago, archaeologists searching for the ruined house of Augustus found a tiny clue buried deep in 2,000 years' worth of rubble overlooking the Forum in Rome.

The single fragment of painted plaster, discovered in masonry-filled rooms, led the experts to unearth a series of exquisite frescoes commissioned by the man who would later become Rome's first emperor.

On Sunday following decades of painstaking restoration, the frescoes in vivid shades of blue, red and ochre went on public show for the first time since they were painted in about 30BC.

One large room boasts a theatrical theme, its walls painted to resemble a stage with narrow side-doors.

High on the wall a comic mask peers through a small window.

Other trompe l'oeil designs include an elegant garden vista, yellow columns and even a meticulously sketched blackbird.

Builders' names preserved

The Rome authorities have spent nearly 2m euros preserving the four Augustus rooms - thought to comprise a dining-room, bedroom, an expansive reception hall at ground-level and a small study on the first floor.

Fresco in House of Augustus
The quality of the work has been compared with that in Pompeii
Experts say the frescoes are among the most splendid surviving examples of Roman wall paintings, on a par with those found in the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Archaeologists believe they may have been painted by an Egyptian.

In the large entrance hall, graffiti on one wall is believed to have been left by the builders, who seem to have sketched out geometric designs, possibly for mosaic floors, and left their names.

In 31BC Augustus - or Octavian, as he was then known - had triumphed over the combined forces of Mark Antony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium.

The victory brought Egypt, and with it immense wealth, into the empire.

But if the frescoes on the walls are exquisite, their surroundings, though impressive, with vaulted ceilings, are less than palatial.

The Roman historian Suetonius described how Augustus lived in a modest house on the Palatine before he assumed supreme power and built a sprawling imperial complex higher up the hill.



Read the rest on the BBC.