Monday, November 13, 2006

Rome, part deux

As promised, here are some pictures of Rome. I'm talking Toga-wearing-grunting-Gladiator-limb-chopping-manly-man Roman Rome, not that Christian fluff... ;) It also gives me the shameless opportunity to quote an immortal philosopher, "Toga!"

Marty! Fire up the Flux Capacitor...its time for some time travel...

Here is the one thing in Europe I have always wanted to see: Il Colosseo. The Colosseum. This half of the Colosseum was used as a quarry in the Renaissance to rebuild parts of Rome, namely the Vatican.
This is the inside of the Colosseum. The Colosseum would actually have had a tarp roof to keep the rain off as well as wooden floors covered in sand for the gladitorial events. You can see how the floor system would have worked by looking at the partial floor in the immediate foreground. You can see how the walls would have been under the wood floors for gladiator housing, etc. When the Colosseum opened, they had an antiquity style World's Fair and the floor was flooded to have mock ship battles. If you look on the right and see where the cross is, that was the Emperor's box. Roman social rank would have played out from there, starting with the senators.The three columns seen here are what remains of the Temple of Vesta qne the house of the Vestal Virgins, the keepers of the eternal flame. This would have been around since the time of King Numa Pompilius, 8th Century BC. Despite what you saw in Gladiator, most scholars belief that only the six vestals and the women of the Emperor's immediate family are likely the only women who would have been allowed on the lower levels of the Colosseum. There is debate as to whether the senators' wives would have been allowed lower down, but all other women, slaves, and commoners had to sit in the highest levels of the Colosseum. This is the arch of Constantine, who legalized Christianity, but did not make it the official religion of the Empire, contrary to popular belief. Arches were built to humble subsequent Emperors and generals who would have to parade their armies through the arches as a sort of "Hall of Fame, who art thou, o mortal?"

Look closely at the relief here, this is an arch similar to Constantine's. This is the interior relief of Vespasian's Arch, going toward the Roman forum. See the Menorah candlestick? It depicts the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the sacking of the Temple in AD 70.

This is looking down on the Roman Forum and what would have been downtown Rome, circa first century.

This is the Speaker's Dais on the floor of the Roman Senate. Julius Caesar would have been assasinated here, uttering the famous, "E tu, Brutei?"This is what remains of the Temple of Antonius and Faustina. The emperor build it in honor of his wife, who died prematurely around 141. It was just about to be completed when Antonius died, so the Senate, being cheap, buried him there as well and simply carved his name in. The five pillars is what remains of the Basilica Julia, built in honor of Julius Caesar who was murdered nearby. The other two columns would have been the Temple of Saturn. Look closely at how far below the current city line this area has been excavated. The entire area was completely covered over and used as a cow field until the mid 1800s when a farmer happened to uncover the very top of one of the columns.


I forgot to include this in the original posting. This is a poster I took a snapshot of. Its Rome back in the day. Maybe this gives the above ruins some context.


Prior Peter, OSB said...

I haven't been checking blogs lately and didn't realize that you are in Cambridge now! I spent a day there in October and would have liked to have said hello if I had had the chance. Beautiful place to study--enjoy it!
God's blessings.

The Archer of the Forest said...

Sorry I missed you. I have been reading your blog, but sort of lurking the past few months.

I honestly think my blog is read by more monks than any other profession.