Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rome Part Two

Our trip to Rome, part two. For part one, click on older posts at very bottom.


CAPITAL HILL

This hill was once the religious and political center of ancient Rome and today it is still where the city's government is. 




This is a close up of the statue of the man on the horse in front of the building. This is Victor Emmanuel, Rome's first king. It is the biggest equestrian statue in the world…his mustache is over 5 feet wide and supposedly a person could fit into the horse's hoof!




The Borghese Gallery

This is probably one of the places that we would never have gone to if trusty Rick Steve's wouldn't have made it one of the top places to see in Rome. It is an art museum inside of an old Cardinal's villa. We could not take pictures inside, so this is the outside. Taylor and I are not the biggest art appreciators, but the sculptures were amazing. There was a lot of Bernini's work in here for those of you art peeps. 




The Trevi Fountain

This large fountain was done by Salvi in 1762. There are tons of fountains throughout Rome and all of the water is brought into the city by large aqueducts. The fountain was enormous, but what was most interesting was how many people were there! We went at night and there were tons of people around. Taylor caught it on video.


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Different fountain, but equally as cool.




THE COLOSSEUM

The Colosseum was my favorite part of the trip. I have recently read Francine River's Mark of the Lion series which are fiction books set in the time period of the rise of the Roman Empire. It made seeing the Colosseum much more meaningful to me.

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The Colosseum was built in A.D. 80. It can accommodate 50,000 fans and only 1/3 of the original Colosseum remains. Some of it was destroyed by earthquakes, but most was taken for other buildings during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. 



By night...


Some of the original stairs.



Can you see all the holes in the wall? This is where the iron pegs held the larger stones together.  See the metal bar around the piece of marble? This is how they attached the marble to the wall.



There have been countless stories and movies made about tons of Christians being killed in the arena, so why wouldn't we think this really happened? Well they say it is questionable…or at least the number of Christians. Our guide said that Christians were killed as a sport during that time, but probably not in this particular place. The Colosseum was more a place for Germans, Egyptians, and other barbarians to fight against animals from countries afar. 
You can't see it very well, but there was a map drawn at the top of the arch. In the bottom left corner there were several crosses with men hanging from them. This leads them to think that there were in fact Christians killed here, but not in the masses that people believe they were. 
I did a little research on this subject because (based on the Hollywood movies I have seen and fictional book I have read) I had always thought that Christians were killed by the thousands here. My own personal conclusion is that yes, Christians were killed here, maybe even hundreds, but not the multitude that Hollywood led me to believe.



View from the inside. 



This is an example of what the floor of the oval shaped arena would have been like back then. You can see the underground passages where the animals and prisoners were held. They had a system of pulleys and ropes where they would send props or animals up through a hidden door in the floor. The actual floor was made of wood and then there was sand covering it. The Latin word for sand is arena…which is why it was know as the arena.



Can you see the blocks of marble at the top? They put all of the marble that was left after pillaging up there so people did not have easy access to it. 







This is one of the little rooms. You can see the gate that separated the animals from the people. Our guide said they would put them this close so that the lions would be able to smell the people before they were released which would make them more ravenous once they were released into the arena. 


There were tons of names scratched into this wall. Most of them were probably done during the years after the games took place, but I'm sure underneath there are names of prisoners that fought in this arena 2,000 years ago. I kept looking for Hadassah's name like it would really be there. :)


This cross was put here by one of the Pope's in memory of the Christians who may or may not have died here. This is supposedly the place where the Emperor sat during the games. 



These seats have been reconstructed to make them look like they would have back then. The area that you sat in depended on your social status. 









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The gladiator contests were eventually banned in A.D. 435 but the animal hunts lasted for a few decades longer. When the Roman Empire began to crumble they shut the doors. For the next 1,000 years homeless people lived there, it was used as shops, a church, a cemetery, and a refuge during invasions. Most of the Colosseum was dismantled by the Romans citizens who hauled off stones to be used to build palaces and churches. Marble was taken and the iron brackets were taken out and melted down. 



Arch of Constantine

This arch commemorates a military coup and the acceptance of Christianity by the Roman Empire. It is in honor of the Emperor Constantine who legalized Christianity.




THE ROMAN FORUM

The Roman Forum is an area near the Colosseum that used to be the center of town back in the day. This is a picture overlooking the forum. The arch that you see in the middle right side is the Arch of Titus which commemorate the Roman victory over Judea. It makes me sick to think that Jewish slaves were forced to build this arch whose purpose was to celebrate the defeat of Israel and the destruction of the temple. 





The big arches are what is left of the Basilica of Constantine. It was started by Maxentius and finished by Constantine. It was originally ginormous as you can probably imagine.




Temple of Julius Caesar

J Caesar's body was burned on this spot after his assassination. He was responsible for clearing out the forum and building grander buildings. 



People still put fresh flowers on his spot today…kind of weird. 



The columns on the right are part of the Temple of Saturn which is the Forum's oldest temple built in 497 B.C.


Column of Phocas

This is the Forum's last monument. It was given to Rome from the Byzantine Empire  commemorating the pagan Pantheon becoming a Christian Church. 



PALATINE HILL

Palatine Hill overlooks the Forum and is the cite where Emperor Domitian's palace once stood. Now it is just good ole Roman ruins. 


This the the throne room of the palace. Taylor is standing on a stone which marks the spot where the emperor sat on his throne. He looks very royal with the camera bag strapped over his shoulder. 

This is the little toe of one of the statues that decorated the palace. This just give you an idea of how over the top everything was. 



This was the floor of the Banquet Hall. See the space between the floors? Slaves would tend fires in underground stoves and hot air would heat the floors. 



Here was a building on the hill that was built by Mussolini. if you look hard you can see the fascist symbol of the perched eagle.




Here is Circus Maximus, where chariot races took place. They had 12 races per day for 240 days of the year. Most of the participants were poor people who were trying to get rich and famous.



This is Mamertine Prison where the bodies of Peter and Paul were once held. If it was opened we would have been able to see the column that Peter was chained to. 




Emperor Trajan ruled Rome from A.D. 98-117 and this area was his extension of the Roman Forum. 
This is Trajan's Column which is decorated with pictures telling of his exploits. 



In order to build this forum, Trajan had to cut away a ridge creating the valley that was the Imperial Forum. Another example of how over the top everything was back then. 




RANDOMNESS IN ROME


Have you ever seen a pink Smart car?




Taylor was distracted from the 2,000 year old ruins by a Ferrari show.




Crossing traffic in Rome was CRAZY!!! There were cross walks everywhere, but not many stop lights to give you that green walking man sign. Basically you started walking out on the cross walk a prayed that people would stop. It was especially exciting at night.

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First time I have ever seen a McDonald's with outside seating in a famous piazza.



This was in front of a museum that we didn't even go to, but I had to take a picture behind the headless statue.





       If I could sum up Rome in one sentence it would be…a bunch of old pagan ruins that are now Christian churches. I like Rome because of the history and everything is just so old. I can not even begin to wrap my head around what 2,000 years ago is! But on the other hand, Rome is a big city, full of tourists, it is dirty, people try to scam you, etc. I would for sure go again to see the sights, but I would not recommend it if you want to see what Italy is really about.


**I feel that I need to cite Rick Steve's Rome 2011 book which is where I got a lot of the factual information. If he had a fan club, I would definitely be the president!




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