The Coliseum, Roman Forum, Keats , Audrey and a cat sanctuary


Ok , again this was another huge wow moment . . . So I could type in all the statistics about this wonderful monument. But I think I would rather talk about what really piqued my interest. Fortunately for us we had the delightful Amy ( as our tour guide again and she was determined that we would really understand what we were going to see. She set the picture from the start.
Including how we would need to hire a toga and how we would need to purchase our tessera ( a small terracotta token) to get in, each tessera would identify the entrance arch you entered.

With the assistance of a book and electronic media we were shown how wonderful this building once was.  But what interested me was about the "theatre " of this place, you see I kind of had the Russell Crowe gladiator image of the coliseum. But Amy illuminated it for us. The forum show had several different performances throughout the day. The first were Venationes ( hunters) vs animal, around lunch time they would have the public execution of criminals. In the afternoon the real gladiators would come out, these were the stars of the show these were the guys all the women wanted. The gladiators didn't fight to the death though, because they were worth too much money.... Months probably years of training went into these guys. The other interesting thing about the gladiators were that they wore different armour which gave them advantages and disadvantages and they were pitted against each other based on these advantages. For example a  Murmillo wore head to toe armour making them safer, but they were less agile and thus easier to attack, whereas a Retarius wore very little armour and had a net and trident and was very agile.

And if all this wasn't interesting the theatre side of the show is just amazing. Within these mazes of corridors were lifts , operated by men and ropes and at anytime throughout the tournaments they could pop a tree up in the middle of the arena or an animal and they could change them at anytime. The coliseum was all about the theatre.... 
There is so much else I could tell you about the coliseum it was a truely amazing building but I think this will already be a extremely long post. 
After the coliseum Amy took us up onto Palentine hill. She made the ruins come to life , we even had a 3D book ( which she gave us ) to help visualise what we were looking at. 

Circus maximus

The circus maximus was the first and largest Roman chariot racing stadium it was situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palantine hills. Built around 6th century BC, it wasn't just chariot racing that took place here , all sorts of entertainment occurred including animal fights and 
gladiatorial fights ( this was pre the coliseum s time.  This stadium was used for over 1000 years, and was was rebuilt several times once by Trajan and once by Julius Ceaser, mainly due to the fact that it was originally built of wood. 

The Roman Forum

The Roman forum is a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of ancient government buildings in the center of Rome. In Ancient Rome this area,  originally a marketplace, was referred to as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.
for centuries this was the  center of Roman public life: the site of triumphant processions, elections, the venue for public speeches,  gladiatorial matches and even criminal trials. 

Again Amy brought these ruins to life for us, showing us images of how the various buildings would of looked telling us tales of the people who lived here. Including the vestal virgins whose job it was to keep the eternal flame alive.

Sorry another poppie shot, I just love the red against the green , with the ruins behind.

The temple of Antonius and Faustina

The temple of Antonius and Faustina is within the Roman Forum ruins complex and is probably the best preserved building. This is attributed to its conversion to a Church. When you look at this image you can see that the doorway is several meters above the level of the base of the columns. So it's story goes a bit like this. The temple was originally built in 141 AD by Antonius Pius in memory of his Wife Faustina after his death his name was added to the temple so it became the temple of Antonius and Faustina. It continued to be used over the next 200 odd years then ceased being used. In around 600 - 800 AD it was incorporated into the church of San Lorenzo. So my initial thoughts about the lack of stairway to the doors was that over time they had been lost ..... But no, the Roman forum sits in a valley and overtime multiple floods occurred and the silt had built up so much that in around 600 AD  The ground level was at the level of the doorway and a new building was created on the skeleton of the original temple. 

The grave of Keats

This is the grave of John Keats.  If you zoom in on the image you will notice his name is not on the tombstone. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. He had travelled to Rome for the warmer climate and in the hop of prolonging his life.  At the time of his death his work was not recognised as being very good. He asked his friend Joseph Severn not to put his name on his tombstone, but merely the quote 
" here lies one whose names was writ in water" 
Meaning that Fame and indeed life, is fleeting.

Not the best photo but this is 
The mouth of truth, made famous in the 1953 film Roman Holiday starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn the mouth of truth is a image carved into marble of a face.  It is believed to have been part of a fountain or could possibly have been a man hole cover . . . . 
But its main claim to fame is it s role as a lie detector. originating in the Middle Ages  it was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off.

The image above is the Roman ruins largo Di Torre Argentina discovered in 1929 these ruins are believed to include the Ruins of the theatre of Pompey, were Julia's Ceaser was assasinated. Now adays this area is a cat sanctuary. The cats here are cared for a group of volunteers. There are approximately 250 cats residing here and the majority are either blind , or mammed in some way.
This was a HUGE day, as you can imagine but it was an amazing day filled with so many interesting things to see.


Googy Girl 


Anita said…
Sounds like a fantastic guide!
Oh soooo amazing Trish...learning so much! Saw the Paris book on your side bar....I have that but not read it yet....Any good?

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