Nov. 9th: Free Day in Rome

After an exciting day in Ostia Antica yesterday, we had the day off to catch up on some final paper research and prepare ourselves for the last road trip to Assisi, Ravenna, and Florence. It was a rather low-key day, with most people lounging around the apartments and catching up on some much needed beauty sleep. At one point or another, most of the group made their way over to the Frigidarium, our new favorite gelato place by Piazza Navona that dips the gelato in chocolate. Yum. Packing is no fun, but at least we had some gelato to motivate us!

 

Ciao,

Katelyn

 

Bonus Pic: Piazza Navona by night!

 

 

 

 

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Nov. 8th: Ostia Antica

“Ostia’s famous for lots of things.”

widely attributed to Roger B. Ulrich, Ph.D.

This was gonna be one of those days that started off just right and then got rained into oblivion. Assembling in front of the Pyramide train station, we proud, quick-witted and good-looking students of archaeology prepared for a ghostlike quiz on the reigns of Roman emperors. Ghostlike, because the prospect of spitting up names and succession dates was made a matter of certain fact by a menacing email we’d gotten earlier in the week from Katelyn, our formidable TA, but which had yet to be pounce upon us. Pop quizzes, much like death, are always lurking just around the corner of every waking second.


Despite the conditions, moods were up. The enlivening hustle and bustle of the early morning Italian commute is always sufficient to shoot our spirits into ecstasy. That, and the consumption of half a dozen lukewarm cappuccinos and espresso chocolates.


We got on the train, bound for ancient Ostia. Things were a little cramped, though our broad smiles seemed to take up more room than our rears. A man played wistfully on an accordion and shook a paper cup of change in our faces, which Brett was happy to fill to its brim with something like 68 euro cents. Lucas noted, quite poignantly, that the accordion's tune and tones had precisely the quality of what you’d expect to hear in the opening scene of an American B movie set in Italy. This FSP has been a consistent adventure in the many tiers of hyperreality.


A good day begins in a necropolis. A great day also ends in one. At its outset, this was looking like it would be at least a good day. The familiar backdrop of tombs in ruins, cypress trees and moist brambles hearkened back to distant days and wanton hours spent exploring in Norchia, Cerveteri and Hierapolis. Our intrepid professor, Roger B. Ulrich, Ph.D. stopped us before a tomb, but surprisingly directed our attention to the leaves of a nearby trees, whose branch he had clutched in his expert fist.

“Does anyone know what this is?”

“Ah,” I thought. “here’s a man who knows his flora as well as his fora.”

“Nobody? No? These are bay leaves. Does anyone know what you do with bay leaves?”

I knew the Beatles used to smoke bay leaves in cemeteries when they were teenagers. Perhaps it was in such a cemetery that they first spied the ELEANOR RIGBY headstone, on which they based their famous song. Art, like archaeology, has a quasi-magical way of bringing the dead back to life.

“You use bay leaves for cooking. I like to take these home” (rapidly stuffing a few hundred leaves into his OR & MI satchel) “and use them in food I make for my friends. Then I tell them their food is flavored with bay leaves from a necropolis in ancient Ostia! How neat is that?” (May the reader be gently-yet-firmly reminded that all quotations are, by nature, approximate. In some cases, they’re highly embellished.)


Well, I agreed it was pretty darn neat. But it gave rise to a secondary thought which swiftly became primary: not only does art give new life to the dead, and archaeology too, but so does food. After all, a simplistic chemical analysis will tell you that the trees growing in a cemetery are just the reconstituted material of the corpses therein. The cadaver is extracted from its coffin and made to stand upright again above the soil in the form of a bush or vine. When you eat the vine, the tree or its leaves, that very same material is reconstituted as….you. Dionysus was worshipped as a savior and giver of new life as he occupied the same religious and social space as other early mystery cults, one of which became Christianity. Perhaps Roger. B. Ulrich, Ph.D. will one day be worshipped in this way.


Roger Ulrich, Ph.D. also took care to point out the extravagant use of brickwork in the tombs. Lucas, just barely below his breath, uttered disparaging remarks in the direction of this particular material. “It all seems like it’s just a cheap knock-off of Rome. Were they just lazy?” Lucas, the eternal gentleman and emperor of style, could not believe that such radical changes in the people’s preferences for decoration could occur. How could anyone like uncovered brick?


As we entered the city proper, one of the first stops was the site of a grain warehouse. This inspired “Hip, Hip, Horrea!” one of many songs in the upcoming musical, based on the FSP and starring Katelyn Burgess as Katelyn Burgess, written and scored by Teddy Henderson and Aaron Pellowski.


Another important visit took us to a Mithraeum, the underground chamber of an imperial soldier cult imported from the east. Initiates would stand beneath a grate over which a bull was slaughtered, and let the beast’s blood pour down over them.And you thought your pledge term was hard.


All over the ancient city were installations of modern sculptures. Most were highly abstract and made out of “interesting” materials. One was a magnificent blotch of iron squiggles with a hornets nest inside of it. We’ve seen such shows in multiple places on our FSP, including, prominently, the Naples museum. What an effect these displays have, the great works of antiquity nested cheek-to-jowl with their contemporary analogs? Once effect is that it makes me furious. It’s ugly, it’s irreverent, and worst of all it’s hideously arrogant. Who are these fancy-free, “creative” people who think their work is fit to rub shoulders with the best of the centuries? They either have an overabundance of love for themselves or a deficiency of love for antiquity, or both. It also crucifies the whole atmospheric effect that’s supposed to obtain in environments like these. How can I envision the Roman world in the spaces real Romans occupied when there’s a gargantuan heap of over-crafted garbage smack-dab in the middle of the museum? I like to repeat the immortal words of my favorite author, Evelyn Waugh, which he included all throughout his private correspondences and which reflected his ironclad, pre-Raphaelite sensibilities: Death to Picasso.


One of our last stops was at an abandoned workshop where stacks of olumns lay, unfluted. These were the last columns to be shipped into Ostia, and there they were in jumbled piles, undisturbed through the ages. To anyone with a brain, these columns were reminiscent of the bodies at Pompeii. Unlike those bodies, however, these columns were not horrifying reminders of human mortality. In their lasts few gasps of thought, what were they thinking? Of family? Of God? Arby’s?


Allow me to close with three remarks. First, death to Picasso. Second, a despairing sonnet about the body casts at Pompeii:


all that unextraordinary death

made unextraordinary by the glass

immaculate before unuttered breath

inhuman human forms of open dusted mass

with limbs made mangled in the ancient storm

of mud made measureless in measured heat

suspends unscreaming all the tragic form

suspended, drowned in minutes incomplete

so curious that you, you passing eye

who, eying all the eyes that ages ate

who, forgetting how each cry recalls each cry

did not take this silent crier for a mate

you, who soon forgot his nameless fame

forgot to see yourself, so soon, the same.


Finally, to balance out the somber mood, a fun fact. The nearest Arby’s in the entire world is actually located in Turkey! (There aren’t any in Europe.)


Love,


Aaron Pellowski

 

Photos courtesy of Jin:

Welcome to Ostia Antica.

Waiting for the morning lecture to begin.

Impressive brick work.

Jiyoung just loves opus reticulatum. Smiles galore.
Examining the burial niches in one family tomb.

Speculation, smiles, and smirking.

Professor Ulrich and his bay leaves.
The group makes their way through the streets of Ostia.
Prof. Ulrich uses a Kindle to display a building plan. So high tech.
Imperial shrine in the firefighters' guild.
Mosaics in the Baths of Neptune.
Exterior of the Theater. Unfortunately, the majority of it is reconstruction.
Lighthouse mosaic.
Multi storey residential buildings! Woah, babe.
View from the upper level of an insula (aka ancient apartment building).
The famous statue of Cupid and Psyche embracing. It was on our entrance tickets!
The foreboding Capitolium of Ostia.

Frolicking in the Forum.

It's Eman! And some opus reticulatum.

“Hip, hip, horrea!”
Lounging in another bath complex.
Opus sectile in the House of Cupid and Psyche.
This meeting of the Cult of Mithras is officially called to order.

The Birth of Venus. Well, the ancient version.

 

Nov. 7th: Roman Forum, Colosseum

Today was our final day of oral presentations, our final day in the Roman Forum, and our final day of class within the city of Rome. Thus, today was imbued with a definite sense of finality, making it a very bittersweet day. On the one hand, we finished our presentations with skill and verve, ending on a high note; but on the other hand, we would no longer wander sites among the Seven Hills as a class, the realization of which left us sad and nostalgic already for the heady days of tomb exploration in Etruria.

We began at the apex of the Sacred Way through the forum, at the Arch of Titus with Yuhang’s presentation. Thankfully, the Forum was not as busy that early in the morning, so we were able to walk around the triumphal monument more or less unimpeded by tourists and tour guides. We saw the treasures of Jerusalem carted off to Rome in a triumph, with Titus at the head of his procession, and subsequently carried to the heavens on the back of Jupiter’s eagle.

From there, we climbed the Palatine hill and entered the palace of the Emperor Domitian. This man was quite the colorful emperor, given to fits of paranoia and jealousy, and one continuous fit of supreme megalomania. He insisted on being called “dominus et deus”, or “lord and God” by everyone around him, and built reflecting pools in his dining area so he could watch behind him for assassins. Little good it did him, considering he was assassinated in 96 CE. Anyway, Kathleen, in trademark bubbly and excited fashion made yet more bubbly and excited by her love of Domitian and his architecture, presented the palace. We sat where Domitian’s throne would have sat in the main reception hall; we wandered through the dining halls, past silent skeletons of fountains, and over the giant stadium-shaped garden. It was an amazing palace, made only more impressive in its time when it would have shimmered and shone in the evening sun sheathed in its skin of marble.

We then skipped ahead a century in time to the late 2nd Century CE and Lucas’ presentation of the Arch of Septimius Severus. Depicting Septimius Severus’ major victories in Parthia (modern day Iran), the triple bayed arch springs across the western end of the Sacra Via, connecting it to Titus’ Arch across the Forum. Domitian may not have liked older brother, Titus, but Septimius Severus’ sons, Caracalla and Geta, loathed each other. This fact is remarkably represented on the Arch, which is awesome (from a historical perspective). Caracalla, upon assuming the Imperial throne in 211, had his brother Geta murdered and his name subjected to the rite of damnatio memoriae, striking every reference of him from records and monuments across the city. Up on the “attic” of the Arch (the highest section, above the column capitals and entablature) contains a lengthy Latin inscription showing signs of extensive reworking. Archaeologists believe that Geta used to be mentioned, along with Caracalla, on their father’s monument to his successful sieges of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, but had his name gauged out on Caracalla’s orders. Caracalla would later go on to build the most impressive bath complex in Rome, a titanic achievement of sublime beauty and spectacle. Then, he would be assassinated himself while on campaign in the East. Those who lived by the sword in ancient Rome often did die by the sword, it seems.

We then rushed over to the magnificent Basilica Nova, also called the Basilica of Maxentius, or the Basilica of Constantine. The naming confusion arose when the structure was completed in 312 CE, when its patron, the Emperor Maxentius, drowned in the Tiber during the Battle of the Milvian Bridge with Constantine, who would put his name on the basilica to take credit for Maxentius’ truly awe-inspiring achievement. Three transverse naves cross and buttress the enormous central cross-vaulted nave, the largest of its kind. Beautiful coffering covers the vaults, lessening the weight of the structure, allowing for thinner piers that give the impression that the arches soar effortlessly from pier to pier so high off the ground. Though we only had a few minutes within the structure, it was clear from the remains that this gigantic basilica was truly a marvel of architecture in its time, and still challenges architects today to match its accomplishment.

We hurried down the Sacra Via to get inside the Flavian Amphitheater, or Colosseum, before it stopped letting visitors inside. Clearly Fortuna was on our side, since we made it in the nick of time, allowing Jiyoung to give her presentation from within the remains of the seating areas of the ancient amphitheater. It’s one of the largest, most complicated, and most famous structures anywhere in the world, with four enormous levels on the façade; five seating areas that could seat 70,000 Romans in total; a huge hypogeum (substructure) that held beasts in cages, scenery, and equipment; and a huge retractable awning system called a velarium. It’s amazing to reconstruct how it would have looked in Domitian’s time, when the hypogeum was finally completed, since it would have been opulently decorated, with a large sandy arena hiding trapdoors in the center of the massive towering oval ring of seats, filled with screaming, bloodthirsty Roman citizens.

Finally, with our feet aching and our eyes drooping, we stumbled back to the apartment for some much-needed R&R before tomorrow’s trip to Ostia and our next (and final) paper.

 

Tiredly yours,

Thomas Rover


Photos alla Yuhang:

Casual Column of Trajan sighting on the way to the Forum.
The Arch of Titus and the Colosseum: the respective starting place and ending place of today's adventures.
Yuhang leads us in our academic exploration of the Arch of Titus.
Can you find the reconstructed areas? We can.
The Countess is not amused.
Kathleen Wahl, our own personal tour guide for Domitian's Palace.
Jiyoung “Sing-Me-A-Song” is definitely the most photogenic of our group.
Confusion over roofing in the Aula Regia. So many opinions on the matter…

Fountains next to the Triclinium— don't worry, Domitian has got that covered.

To barrel vault or not to barrel vault? That is the question.

Private quarters of Domitian's Palace.

They call this the “Stadium,” but it's most likely a garden and fountain space.

Lucas lectures to the group on the reliefs on the Arch of Septimius Severus.

Majestic clouds behind the Temple of Saturn.

It's a quick visit to the Basilica of Maxentius and then we're off to the Colosseum.

Jiyoung provides a historical background for the construction of the Flavian Amphitheater, otherwise known as the Colosseum.

Glimpse of the Via dei Fori Imperiali from the upper levels of the Colosseum.

The Colosseum in the afternoon light.

 

Nov. 6th: Santa Sabina, Baths of Caracalla, Mausoleum of Santa Costanza, Catacombs

The day began with blood. I hiked up a mile from the bus stop to the gardens where we students convene feeling a sharp sting in my foot. Overlooking one of the most beautiful vistas of the Eternal city, and making an accidental figural allusion to the much-celebrated ancient statue motif of “Boy Extracting A Thorn From His Foot” I tugged off my right sock and shoe and removed a shard of glass from my flesh which had somehow managed to sneak its way in. Ouchy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

My pain was mitigated entirely by a lovely presentation delivered by the even more lovely (smart, kind and single too) Bridget-Kate Sixkiller McNulty. Drawing on her Catholic background, she took us on a tour of one of the oldest Christian spaces in the world– a tour which, from start to finish, was immaculately conceived. The jewel of BK’s presentation was undoubtedly her creative and sapient interpretation of Biblical scenes on the wooden back doors of the Church which, to everyone’s blustered amazement, were the originals, in situ. Up next was Teddy, docked to cover what had been Roger B. Ulrich, Ph.D.’s own final oral report topic back in the days before iPhones, when Presidents were still rosy-cheeked and honest, and the visual effects of Star Wars still impressed people.

The phrase “greatest mind of our generation” is thrown around a lot these days, so I, who am so characteristically hyperallergic to all things trendy, won’t use it. But I confess there were ample opportunities to deploy such a string of glorified adjectives as would rival the soaring sycophantry of Lucan when I beheld of much-anticipated presentation of the Baths of Caracalla by our own Edward Henderson.

For the Baths alone, infinite praise would be insufficient. Boasting some of the most extravagant brickwork and covering titanic spans, it pushes the imagination to the point of bursting to envision what awesome feelings must have obtained in the quaking heart of a Roman patronizing the Baths, standing beneath one of the legendary crossvaults. I’ve referred before the the poem ‘On Wenlock Edge’ by A.E. Housman, which now I will give in full:

On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble

His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;

The gale, it plies the saplings double,

And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger

When Uricon the city stood:

'Tis the old wind in the old anger,

But then it threshed another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman

At yonder heaving hill would stare:

The blood that warms an English yeoman,

The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,

Through him the gale of life blew high;

The tree of man was never quiet:

Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double,

It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone:

To-day the Roman and his trouble

Are ashes under Uricon.

Indeed, this poem has been the anthem of the entire FSP! But its splendor and symphony was for the first time awakened on full blast as I was led by that deft explorer of immaculate manners, fleet-footed Edward Henderson, slayer of history papers, the greatest archaeologist at Troy (would someone please kindly show H. Schliemann the door?). I craned my neck up as high as it would go, and it stayed there, my gaze drifting between the grandiose, indelible brick-red of the the walls and the violent blue of the late-morning Italian sky. I was seized by the distinct sentiment that this endless moment was the summation–nay, the consummation–of my entire career in classics.

I saw myself as a ratty thirteen year old, conjugating Latin verbs ad nauseum on notebook paper. Fourteen, reading Morford and Lendardon’s Classical Mythology cover to cover. Fifteen, taking the Texas State Junior Classical League Convention exam on Greek Life and Literature. Sixteen, reciting the opening lines of the Aeneid for a class assignment under the direction of my hero, Byron Browne. Seventeen, producing new, modernist translations of the love poetry of Catullus. Eighteen, walking home with a hardcover copy of the Oxford Guide to Classical Literature (a steal at a dollar in a used bookstore). Nineteen, gaping in awe at the complete Loeb Library in the lounge of the Dartmouth Classics Department. Twenty, reading Plato with Professor Riesbeck in his office. And now I am twenty-one, and I have stood in the Baths of Caracalla with Edward Henderson, and something–I know not what–ended and began.

After a wait that may have exceeded the reign of Antoninus Pius, the bus arrived at the bus stop. This day’s round of presentations was completed by Brett’s dextrous discourse on the tomb of Caecilia Metella, enigmatic in both its proportions and its dedication. Like the Eumachia building in Pompeii, the tomb stand out and one of very few monuments honoring a woman from ancient Rome, although, just as in the case of the Eumachia building, the dedicatory inscription does cite an affiliated male. Feast on the puzzling abundance of gendered power dynamics, ye critically-minded of the earth! The tomb towered above us in the style of a circular Augustan Mausoleum, inspiring memories of similar structures, such as the tomb of Plancus at the end of an arduous climb up a hill in the sleepy town of Gaeta, or the massive, magnificent mausoleum of Augustus himself.

I would love to be put to my final rest in such an edifice of eternity and everlasting power, but will settle for having my priceless remains taxidermized and wheeled into every board and faculty meeting (a la Jeremy Bentham) of the Edward Henderson Memorial Department for Near Eastern Art and Archaeology at Dartmouth College. There will be an endowed chair in the Department name for me, and another, named for my cat, a Maine Coon by the name of “Puss Wilberforce.”

TTFN,

Aaron Pellowski

Photos:

View of St. Peter's from the Aventine hill.

The gardens near Santa Sabina are an excellent place to enjoy your morning cornetto (or croissant).

Apse of Santa Sabina in the morning light.

Interior of the church of Santa Sabina.

Light shining through the alabaster window panes creates an ethereal effect within the church.

Bridget-Kate walks us through the different Biblical scenes portrayed on the original 5th century cedar doors in the narthex.

Cara jots down some notes at the Baths of Caracalla

Nymphaeum in the Baths of Caracalla.

This site requires a lot of head tilting to observe its massive features.

A peak into the frigidarium of the bath complex.

Colorful mosaics galore.

Lucas proposes an idea about the second level in the palaestra. Teddy is unconvinced.

Brett is all set, but Lucas and Prof. Ulrich look like they need a pair of sunglasses.

The presenter of the hour, with his trusty ol' pipe.

Aaron Optimus Maximus: “These sunglasses are FSP spolia.”

View of the Villa of Maxentius from outside the gates.

Church of San Nicola on the Via Appia.

The Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, aka part II of Brett's oral report.

Well, at least Jiyoung is smiling.

And then we were locked in. Scary at first, until the guard appeared from around the corner to let us out.

 

Nov. 5th: Museo della Civilta Romana, Santa Costanza

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.

Lucas

 

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.

 

Welcome to the Museo della Civilta Romana, home of the best plaster casts that Rome has to offer.

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.

Getting up close and personal with Trajan's Column.
Jin catalogues her findings. Teddy wanders off in the distance.
Winged Victory and trophies of war symbolize the end of the first Dacian campaign on the column.
Making the best out of the snack break.
The Julio-Claudian family tree.
Model of the Colosseum. You can't make that with Legos.
Monkey see, monkey do.
Piazza della Repubblica, our meeting spot for the afternoon.
Altar within Mausoleum of Santa Costanza.

Early Christian mosaics on the annular vault. So many Roman influences.

Effect of light and darkness within the mausoleum.

Teddy takes a moment to appreciate the beauty of the Church of Sant'Agnese fuori le mura.

The mosaics in Sant'Agnese glitter in the light.

 

Nov. 4th: Vatican Museums

Today was a real treat. After 8 weeks into the term, we finally went to the Vatican Museums as a group!

But before entering the Vatican, we learned about the Mausoleum of Hadrian, now known as Castel Sant’Angelo. Brett explained how the external, cylindrical shape and the interior plan were similar to those of the Mausoleum of Augustus. Apparently, there was no more room for imperial tombs in the Mausoleum of Augustus, so Hadrian began this project shortly before his death in 138 BC. Professor Ulrich enlightened our understanding of drum-shaped structures by drawing the connection between the cylindrical imperial mausolea and the round layout of early Christian baptistries and martyria.

We then entered the Vatican, where certain members of our group were dismayed (while others were utterly delighted) to find out that there was a dress code for entering the museum. But that’s nothing a cute, polka-dot jacket can’t fix! Right, Eman?

Our first stop was at the wing of early Christian art. We saw a cast of the famous sarcophagus of Junius Bassus. We saw a free-standing statue of Christ as the good Shepherd and images of scenes from the Old Testament and the New Testament.

We had special permission to enter the gallery with the Cancelleria Reliefs and funerary reliefs of the Haterii. There were plenty of other sculptures and reliefs, which we tried to admire and photograph as quickly as possible in fear of getting kicked out by the guards.

After a lunch break in the caffeteria, which was surprisingly reasonably priced, we came to a courtyard with people crowding around one particular statue: Laocoon and His Sons. The facial expressions, the detail of the body, the sculpting of Laocoon’s muscles… it is a spectacular statue.

Once formal class ended, we had free time to look around the museum and visit the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Another glorious day on the Rome FSP.

Yours sincerely,

Jiyoung

Photos alla Eman:

Piazza Navona on a bright November morning.
Castel Sant’Angelo, formerly the Mausoleum of Hadrian. The whole building is basically a prime example of spolia.
Angels and souvenir stands. Typical modern Roman cityscape.
Searching for foundations.

Teddy contemplates the miracles of Christ on (a copy of) the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus.

Raising of Lazarus on a sarcophagus fragment.

Mosaics from the Baths of Caracalla. Look at those muscles!

Christ as the Good Shepherd. Can you spot the Classical influences?

Adoration of the Magi. Possible Christmas card?

Ancient pine cone and peacocks. You don’t see that every day.

Exploring the Roman portrait gallery, where objects are often not very clearly labelled.

Remains of yesterday’s dinner. Done in mosaic. Interesting design choice…

The group takes advantage of our time in the Museo Gregoriano Profano to examine the Cancelleria reliefs.

Cancelleria Relief B: profectio scene. Fun fact: the face of Domitian was reworked to represent that of Nerva. Oh the consequences of damnatio memoriae.

Funerary relief of the Hetarii family. A particular favorite of Professor Ulrich’s that often makes an appearance in his ancient technology class.

The dome of St. Peter’s makes a guest appearance.

The Laocoon group. Please feel free to drool.

Claudius as Jupiter (yes, some of this is reconstructed).

Painting of a grain ship from Ostia Antica. A surprise find in the collections of the museums.

St. Peter’s at dusk.

Nov. 3rd: Free Day for presentation research

With the final round of presentations having commenced, the students were given the day off to continue research for their upcoming reports. On the good ol' Via Ippolito Nievo, Sunday is flea market day; as a result, many FSPers (including the Prof and TA), decided to begin their day by exploring the various stalls of the Porta Portese Market. Some came back empty handed. Others came back with their wallets significantly lighter. Kathleen and Bridget-Kate decidedly “won the markets.” €3 sunglasses? Three sweaters for €5? So many deals!

Happy with the morning purchases, most of the group took some time in the afternoon to visit their sites and do some research in the Rome Center. After having a standard meal of pasta with spaghetti sauce (we really are trying to get more creative here, so the occasional vegetable is added), all settled into our cozy beds to become well-rested for our expedition to the Vatican Museums tomorrow.

 

Buonanotte,

Katelyn

 

Colosseum on an overcast Sunday afternoon. The crowds are definitely more manageable than a month ago…

It's too bad the Arch of Constantine is under construction. The scaffolding doesn't really convey a particularly nice aesthetic. But, at least the reliefs are being taken care of.

Sunset on the Forum— a nice way to end an afternoon's worth of research.