The morning seemed quiet enough. We had a long day ahead of us. It all began at the metro station at Piramide. We took the metro to its penultimate stop and as we exited, we discovered that we had traveled seventy years into the past. Surrounded by fascist architecture (read extremely ugly buildings), we discovered that there was a gem in the rough. It was a very imposing building with two large rectangular wings connected by a very tall portico. It was the EUR / the Museum of Roman Civilization. Despite its large façade meant to put you in your place, it was filled with very helpful plaster casts from all over the world. In fact, it was one of the first museums to which I have been where nearly nothing is original and yet it was the most important museums contributing to my understanding of Ancient Rome. If nothing else, one should go to see the large model map of Rome. An entire room is dedicated to it and it is a great feeling to be able to recognize buildings that no longer exist. It’d be a great way to entertain someone for a few minutes at a party before you realize that normal people often aren't as interested in classics as you and you have to spend the next five minutes explaining how this really is a big deal, I swear.
There, in an underground tunnel in the EUR, we saw the reliefs of Trajan’s column. It was the subject of an incredibly detailed presentation by none other than Thomas Rover and Aaron Pellowski. Their names to be mentioned in full so that it can go down in the record books that these two successfully gave the longest presentation in FSP history falling just short of 2 hours and 50 minutes. Fortunately, it did not fall on deaf ears. We classics scholars are extraordinarily passionate people and to us something that long is welcome as long as we are learning something new and boy were we. We learned about Trajan’s column as a piece of monumental literature and the extensive military history and weaponry involved in the column. Wow
After such a presentation we traveled across the city. In fact, across almost the entire city to reach the mausoleum of Constantina. There Liz gave another great presentation on a building that was like a basilica turned into a circle. We also learned about how mosaics can lead you through a structure and how the use of light wells in a structure can draw your attention to certain areas.
Photos courtesy of Jin:
Lots of unhappy faces while waiting for the group to arrive. One would assume they didn't enjoy the overpacked bus ride to the station.
The TA needs a coffee, Teddy is concerned about the bug that he just inhaled, and Brett is unamused. We are quite a lively bunch this morning…
The EUR's famous model of Ancient Rome.
Observing the model is like playing “I Spy” with ancient buildings.
Early Christian mosaics on the annular vault. So many Roman influences.
Effect of light and darkness within the mausoleum.
The mosaics in Sant'Agnese glitter in the light.