The colosseum, otherwise known as the ‘Flavian Ampitheatre’, is perhaps one of the most iconic buildings in Rome. Interestingly the word colosseum derives from the colossal statue of Nero which once stood close by to the amphitheatre.
The Hypogeum of Via Dino Campani, Via Latina is infrequently opened to visitors. We were privileged to be able to visit this stunning this funerary complex. The iconography depicted inside the chambers was a peculiar mix of Pagan and Christian scenes, with known scenes from both mythology and the Bible. Below is depicted my favourite painting what is known as “Philosophical lesson” this, an early Christian fresco depicting details from the Life of Aristotle, shows a number of philosophers learning medicine, specifically the difference between body and soul, from the examination of a corpse.
While in Rome we were all asked to research a project, throughout this blog I will interject phases of my research project.
The archaeological site named the Fountain of Anna Perenna is a little known site now preserved underneath a carpark in Northern Rome. The site is named thus due to the evident connections (via the inscribed altars), with the Ancient Italic deity Anna Perenna. This site is also famous for its later phase of occupation and use. Epigraphic material; defixiones (curses), wax figurines and stacked jars, attest to a different form of worship taking place at the site. This second phase can be described as a period of cthonic, ‘magical’ or heretical practice directed in part to the daemon Abraxas. Below is an image from one of the defixiones showing the daemon Abraxas with a heretical inscription on his belly.
Palazzo Altemps, which illustrates well the aristocratic Renaissance phenomenon of collecting antiquities, is composed vastly of the former Ludovisi collection. This collection comprises of infamous pieces such as the ‘Galatian Suicide’, a Roman copy of a Hellenistic bronze. This marble statue group (depicted below) shows a man plunging a sword into his breast, whilst supporting a dying woman.
Trajan’s Column in Rome, dated to AD 113, stands in the Forum of Trajan some 125 feet tall, celebrating victory in the Dacian Wars. The Column, shaped like a scroll, has a spiral frieze depicting events in Dacian Wars (First War – AD 102-3 and Second War – AD 105-6).
In this scene from the column Trajan is presented with severed enemy heads by two auxiliaries.
This Mithraeum (sometimes named the Mithraeum of the Circus Maximus due to its proximity to the famous public space) dates from the second/third century AD. Below I have attempted to reconstruct the colours that would have adorned the marble relief dedicated to Mithras, showing him slaying the bull.
The ‘Horologium’ of Augustus, often named the Augustan Sundial, was dedicated in 10 BC. This huge sundial, of which we were able to see a small part preserved in the basement of a house (Via di Campo Marzio), is inlayed with bronze and refers to the Greek signs of the zodiac. The sundial was interpreted by a obelisk pointer, which is now set up in Piazza di Montecitorio.
Image ref:archive1.village.virginia.edu (25/6/16)