Thursday, May 31, 2007

The forum and the Palatine

Outside the Colosseum is the ruins of the Forum (where daily life took place.)

Down the road is the Hill they called the Palatine.

The Palatine came to prominance during the reign of Augustus Caesar (who started out as plain Octavian until he was named as Julius Caesars heir).

Augustus wanted to build a summer residence the like of which had never been seen before.

So he built a house, like no other house. It was larger than any house that had been built before. As our guide said "Who of you has a stadium and a stables attached to your home?"

They needed a new word to describe the new house that he had built. It became known as The Palatine, after the hill it had been built on. The word still survives in our modern language. We know it as Palace. :)

The walls were covered with tablets of marble and other semi precious stones like Porphyry, a volcanic rock that the Romans mined from existance in Egypt.


Dragonfly said...

It is all so big, huge...I feel closer to the Renaissance times in Rome than to the Empire. Tese building are beautiful but they scare me.

Martin said...

I take a walk through the renaissance later on. A bit more Roman for a few days, then I bring on Raphael and Michelangelo.


Dragonfly said...

:) Deal.

Alexander said...

Your first photo is wonderful. The way the road cuts across it like a sword, and the trees lining the road. Great stuff. I'm not sure which Italian era I belong to. Mussolini's fascist era? Hopefully not :) Mind you, some interesting architecture even came out of that era. There is a section of Rome dedicated to the neo-architecture they used at that time, including a "cubical colosseum". It really is bizzare. Unfortunately I didn't know about that sector when I visited Rome. I only learned about it afterwards. Here is an short article on it. Their description is spot on. Although it captures the grandeur of Imperial Rome, it is in a cold clinical way. Rather dehumanizing.

Martin said...

Funnily enough, the modern Romans arent too happy with Il Duce. There is a huge road that leads from the Colosseum to St Peters, past the Wedding Cake (a giant monument to Italian Reunification. The Italians think it is gaudy and not in keeping with the style of the city.) And the road he had made just ran over ruins and foundations that were never exavated. Theyve not forgiven him for that.

Alexander said...

Yeah,Mussolini built the road up to St Peters,which for many ruins the whole point of the St Peters design. I read somewhere that it was designed cleverly so that people walking around crowded noisy rome in old times would suddenly stumble upon a breath of fresh air,literally in the form of a fresh clean open space. A representation of spiritual liberation. With the oval columns designed to emulate a welcoming "hug". Mussolini kind of dented the impact to an extent,by building that road. I think it was a kind of symbolic imposition by Mussolini. Almost saying to the Vatican - "My power & influence is greater than yours. I own you".