Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Walking Through the Ruins

Today we went to the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, and the Colosseum. We started at the Palatine Hill and worked our way down. The Palatine was where, according to legend, Romulus and Remus were raised by a wolf in one of the caves there. Later, the Palatine became a very popular place for emperors to build their palaces. Augustus was born here and later continued to live here. You can see his old house and also the House of Livia, his second wife. The emperors Tiberius, Caligula, and Domitian all built large, fancy palaces here. This is a picture of the stadium that was part of the Imperial Palace and was used by emperors as a private garden.

We had seen most of the Roman Forum from afar as part of class but we walked through it to get a better look. My favorite was the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. It was first dedicated by the Emperor Antoninus Pius to his late wife Faustina in AD 141. It was later rededicated to them both after the emperor's death. In the 11th century it became a church because it was thought that St. Lawrence or San Lorenzo was condemned to death there.

The Colosseum is one of my favorite places here in Rome. It is right outside of our apartment and we pass by it at least twice a day. Every time, I am mesmerized by this vast structure. We had a few readings for class about the Colosseum that enriched my visit there. This was the site of mass slaughters of both people and animals. It is famously known for its gladiator fights. But many Christians died here for their faith, refusing to follow the Catholic faith. Sometimes they were killed by animals, other times they were set to fight another person, sometimes a prisoner, who were both fighting for their life and their freedom. When visiting the Colosseum, you could see under the floor where the animals and people were kept prior to their fights.

*Added information from DK Eyewitness Guide to Rome

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