Monday, July 13, 2009

Rome March 2008.

I usually try to visit Rome at least once per year, and the photos accompanying this post are from March 2008. I am planning to visit later this month (late July 2009) and so will add an update to this post after that trip. The pictures enclosed within this post are just my personal highlights, and number only three.

The first picture is of the Pantheon - which is now a Christian Church. It's an astoundingly interesting building originally built by Augustus' right-hand man - Marcus Agrippa, but later altered under the auspices of the Emperor Hadrian. There is considerable debate about it's original form, and this is exacerbated regarding Hadrian's habit of plastering the names of the original builders whenever overhauling or upgrading a building, making it difficult to decide which part was intended/built/funded by whom. Despite this, the current form is a breathtaking building that is, to my mind, the best preserved Roman building in the world.

Originally the Pantheon was built on a hill, and with it's enormous bronze dome, it constituted a dominant part of the Ancient Roman skyline. Sadly, changes in topography since that period mean it now lies somewhat in a ditch, although it's a testament to it's enduring majesty that it still dominates it's surroundings.

The second picture is taken from one of the bustling transport hubs of the modern city - Largo Di Torre Argentina. Despite the buzz and movement, the four Republican temples which form the centre of the square are immensely interesting. This area was formerly located in the Campus Martius (The fields of Mars) just outside the Ancient City, but is now in the centre of one of the world's busiest cities. Nevertheless the square holds large significance, not least because the ruins of Pompey's theatre are also here, and indeed these hold the spot where it is believed Julius Caesar was murdered. My picture shows the areas relevant to that significant event.

The final picture is taken from inside the Temple of Julius Caesar in the heart of the Forum Romanum. It was taken a few days after the anniversary of his murder on the Ides (15th) of March 44 B.C.E, ergo the arrangement of flowers and other memorials. In many ways I found this very surprising, but when one considers the sheer impact of Caesar on modern culture (touched upon just a little in my last post) it's really not a great surprise. Either way, it's quite moving and very interesting.

Clicking on any of the pictures will render them full size and as a result much clearer.

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