Three Thousand Years in Nine Days – Day Two

A warm and sunny spring day is perfect for walking around the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Capitoline Museums.

The Roman Forum

There are so many things to see in the Roman Forum. Big iconic structures with lots of known history, and little bits of marble with their stories untold.

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina dates from AD 141 and was dedicated by the Senate first to Faustina, wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) and then to Antoninus when he died in 161.

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

An interesting piece of marble that caught my attention.

IMG_0045The cult of Vesta was one of the oldest and most important cults of Roman religion. Vestal Virgins tended the sacred fire of Rome, its life force. Except for the Pontifex Maximus, men were forbidden to enter the temple.

Temple of Vesta

Temple of Vesta

The House of the Vestal Virgins was attached to the Temple.

Atrium of the House of the Vestal Virgins

Atrium of the House of the Vestal Virgins

The women who became Vestal Virgins were chosen from aristocratic Roman families from the ages of 6 to 10. They served in this prestigious post for 30 years.

Statue of a Vestal Virgin

Statue of a Vestal Virgin

The Palatine Hill

This was the hill where the emperors lived in palatial palaces. 130 m long and once clad in decorated marble, the Neronian Cryptoporticus was an underground corridor that linked the huge imperial palaces of the Julio-Claudian period (1st century AD).

The Neronian Cryptoporticus

The Neronian Cryptoporticus

The Palatine Stadium, not its historical name, was part of the Flavian Palace (2nd half of 1st century AD). I was amazed by its size which I’m not sure the photo shows. The gardens and grounds covered an area of 160 x 48m, and the walls around it tower over it.

The Palatine Stadium

The Palatine Stadium

A view of the Roman Forum and the Capitoline Hill from the Palatine Hill.

Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill

Roman Forum and Capitoline Hill

Capitoline Museums

In Michaelangelo’s courtyard outside the Capitoline Museums is a copy of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius made in 1997.

Copy of Equestrian Statue of M. Aurelius

Copy of Equestrian Statue of M. Aurelius

Inside is the original dating from around AD 176-180.

Original Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

Original Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

I liked the statue of the Emperor Commodus (reigned AD 180-192), son of M. Aurelius, as Hercules. Commodus was not a popular emperor (Joaquin Phoenix played him in the film Gladiator), and he ended up being assassinated.

Commodus as Hercules

Commodus as Hercules

Detail of Commodus as Hercules

Detail of Commodus as Hercules

Detail of Commodus as Hercules

Detail of Commodus as Hercules

Another impressive statue was the Dying Gaul. It is a Roman marble copy of a Hellenistic bronze original which probably dates from the 2nd or 3rd century AD. Notice the Celtic torque around his neck.

The Dying Gaul

The Dying Gaul

 

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