Lake Nemi

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Lake Nemi
Lago di Nemi
Panoramica del Lago di Nemi.jpg
Panoramic view
Location Lazio
Coordinates 41°42′44″N 12°42′09″E / 41.71222°N 12.70250°E / 41.71222; 12.70250
Basin countries Italy
Surface area 1.67 km2 (0.64 sq mi)
Max. depth 33 m (108 ft)
Surface elevation 325 m (1,066 ft)

Lake Nemi (Italian: Lago di Nemi, Latin: Nemorensis Lacus, also called Diana's Mirror, Latin: Speculum Dianae) is a small circular volcanic lake in the Lazio region of Italy 30 km (19 mi) south of Rome, taking its name from Nemi, the largest town in the area, that overlooks it from a height.

Archaeology and history

The lake is famous for its sunken Roman ships. These ships were very large and technologically advanced for their time.

The lake was sacred to the goddess Diana Nemorensis and the site of the festival Nemoralia. Near the sanctuary of Diana were found a number of diminutive bronze statues of draped women and men, each holding libation bowls and incense boxes. Four of these figures are now in the British Museum's collection.[1] Emperors Caligula and Tiberius sailed Lake Nemi not merely to cool off in summer, but to assert themselves as Nemorensis, rulers aligning with the Stars, wedded to Earth's perpetual life-force.

Near the temple of Diana was the sacred grove of Aricia. Here there was a priest called the Rex Nemorensis who would reign until he was killed by a challenger. This practice is described in the opening chapter of The Golden Bough by James George Frazer.

At the Hotel Diana, on the Western edge of the crater at Via Nemorense, there is a fine exhibit of the archeological excavation of the late 1920s, which exposed the enormous structure which Caligula built.

The lake in art and literature

Painting by John Robert Cozens (c. 1777)

See also


  1. ^ British Museum Collection

External links

  • Nemi Ships
  • Nemi to Nottingham project

Coordinates: 41°42′44″N 12°42′09″E / 41.71222°N 12.70250°E / 41.71222; 12.70250

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