05 February 2008

The Glory of Rome

by Chris

SPQR - Senātus Populusque Rōmānus ("The Senate and the Roman People")

(if the music hasnt started yet, press play on the mp3 player to the right)

The Roman Forum is located in a valley that is between the Palatine hill and the Capitoline hill. It originally was a marsh, but the Romans drained the area and turned it into a center of political and social activity. The Forum was the marketplace of Rome and also the business district and civic center. It was expanded to include temples, a senate house and law courts. When the Roman Empire fell, the Forum became forgotten, buried and was used as a cattle pasture during the Middle Ages.

Much of the forum has been destroyed. Columns and stone blocks are all that remain of some temples. The arch of Titus and the arch of Septimius Severus still stand and are in good shape. Like many other ancient Roman buildings, stone blocks have been removed from the Forum and used to build nearby churches and palaces.

The arch of Titus is located at the opposite end of the forum from the arch of Septimius Severus. Titus was the emperor that had sacked the great Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The arch was built in his honor. Sculptures on this arch show the treasure of the Jews being taken through the streets of Rome. On the inside of the left leg of this arch, there is a well known sculpture of Romans carrying away a Jewish menorah. (below)

Everywhere you go in Rome you are reminded of the power and wealth of the Roman Empire.

The 10ft head of Augustus Caesar from what must have been a gigantic statue.

If you like this kind of stuff ( I do) , you could spend all day in the Vatican musuem ! (we did!)

Up on the Palatine Hill...more ruins and architectural goodies

The Colosseum !

Finished in 80 AD., the largest ampitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire.

Originally capable of seating around 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. It remained in use for nearly 500 years with the last recorded games being held there as late as the 6th century. As well as the traditional gladiatorial games, many other public spectacles were held there, such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on classical mythology.

I can only imagine what it was like...waiting to enter the Colosseum.

The Baths of Caracalla - The largest baths in Rome

The bath complex covered approximately 13 hectares (33 ac). The bath building was 228 meters (750 ft) long, 116 meters (380 ft) wide and 38.5 meters (125 ft) estimated height, and could hold an estimated 1,600 bathers

The Baths at Caracalla were the inspiration for many modern buildings including Penn Station in New York.

For more - The Baths of Caracalla

One of the best preserved & most impressive sights in Rome:

The Pantheon

Above, the truly breathtaking pediment and columned portico of the Pantheon, built in 27BC destroyed and rebuilt in 125AD

Oculus is the Latin word for eye and the name of the round opening in the top of the dome of the Pantheon. It has always been open to the weather, allowing rain to enter and fall to the floor, where it is carried away through drains.

Pantheon means "Temple of all Gods", it pre-dates Christianity in Rome and is considered the best preserved building of its age in the world.

Below, the ruins in the Jewish Ghetto of Rome. There has been a Jewish community in Rome since the 1st century B.C.

One of the ever present monuments to Roman power, the city walls and gates.

Rome is a fascinating place to visit for anyone. It is impossible not to be impressed by the Glory that is Rome.


Anonymous said...

"The Baths at Caracalla were the inspiration for many modern buildings, including Penn Station in New York."

Ah, yes, hordes of people jammed together and pee-pee everywhere...I can see the connection.

(I think they were probably referring to the former (beautiful) Penn Station, that was demolished in 1964.)

Nice post! I'm still jealous! I wanna go to Italy!

Becky said...

Rome is amazing, I need to go back there is so much to see.