Domina: a mysterious statue of Livia Drusilla appears in Rome

A mysterious statue of Livia Drusilla appeared overnight among Rome's monuments to the great Roman emperors.

When a statue depicting Livia Drusilla, Rome's first empress, appeared overnight near the Colosseum this weekend it caused surprise among passing Romans.

The statue of Livia, wife of Emperor Augustus, was placed near the monument to Julius Caesar on Via dei Fori Imperiali, the street dividing the Roman and Imperial Fora.

The monument to the empress appeared on the morning of 7 May, sparking much curiosity among passersby who were mystified about why it was there. However the mystery was soon solved.

Kasia Smutniak as Empress Livia. Photo Sky - Domina.

The statue, inspired by the depiction of Livia as goddess Ceres in the Louvre, was part of a campaign to promote Sky's new historical drama series, Domina, set to premiere in the coming days.

The epic eight-part series follows the dizzying rise of the powerful Livia Drusilla, traditionally viewed as a Machiavellian figure shrouded in conspiracy and intrigue, plotting to secure the future of her son, Emperor Tiberius.

Sky describes Livia, born in 59/58 BC, as one of the ancient world’s most powerful women, who played an influential role in shaping the fate of the Roman empire.

In addition to being wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius, Livia was the grandmother of Caligula, great-grandmother of Claudius, and great-great-grandmother of Nero. She was deified by Claudius who acknowledged her title of Augusta.

Kasia Smutniak as Empress Livia. Photo Sky - Domina.

In Sky's original series, filmed at Cinecittà Studios in Rome, Livia is played by Nadia Parkes / Kasia Smutniak alongside a cast that includes Matthew McNulty as Augustus, Isabella Rossellini (brothel owner Balbina) and Liam Cunningham (Livius, Livia's father).

Older audiences will remember Livia, played famously by Sian Philips, in the seminal 1976 BBC series I, Claudius, the television adaptation of Robert Graves' gripping novel of the same name.

Livia's Villa, located at Prima Porta outside Rome, can be visited and its remarkable frescoes of garden scenes are on permanent display at the Palazzo Massimo museum in Rome.

Domina is created and written by Simon Burke, and directed by Claire McCarthy, David Evans and Debs Paterson.

The series will premiere on Sky Atlantic and NOW on 14 May. Cover photo ANSA.

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Address Via dei Fori Imperiali, Roma RM, Italy

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Domina: a mysterious statue of Livia Drusilla appears in Rome

Via dei Fori Imperiali, Roma RM, Italy