Terme di Diocleziano

It was on the cold side while we were visiting Rome, so we decided to duck into a museum for the rest of the day. The Natioal Museums of Rome are pretty impressive, and were strangely uninhabited when we were there.

Terme di Diocleziano, front garden

The fountain in the front garden. The Terme di Diocleziano is located among one of three sites of ruins of the former Baths of Diocletian. The baths were built in 306 AD, could accomodate more than 3000 bathers, and encompassed an area of 28 1/2 acres. The baths were constructed so as to allow the sun to heat the caldarium while keeping the frigidarium cool. They functioned for over 200 years, until the Roman aquaducts were destroyed by the Goths, rendering all the Roman baths useless and ruining the sanitary water supply of Rome, thus driving the nail into the coffin of the Roman empire.

We found the detail work around the edge of the fountain highly amusing. Having seen the Mannekin Pis in Belgium, we are well aware that female figures of the same ilk are far more unusual.

Terme di Diocleziano, central garden

Pass through the entrance, pay your five euros for a three-day pass to all the National Museums of Rome (which has to be one of the best tourist bargins in the world), and enter into the central garden. The sculptures here aren't in as good of a condition as the ones inside, but it is amazing to simply wander through the walkways and garden paths in the company of the 2000 year old statues.

Terme di Diocleziano, Rome, sarcophogus

The Egyptians certainly did not have a corner on the market of building elaborate sarcophogi. In addition to the strange creatures in this scene, which seem to include either a lioness or a tiger, a satyr, and a couple of centaurs, there are also the two young men on the far left. Is that Cupid over their shoulder? Given the norms in Roman times, it is certainly possible.

Terme di Diocleziano, Rome, Apollo cult base Imperial raven

This marble base is carved with images from the cult of Apollo. Apollo is the god of medicine, archery, light, and truth. He is also the god of music and poetry, and of the Delphi oracle. He originated in Etruscan mythology as Apulu, and was originally associated with plagues (as in the Trojan war), although over time he became better known for the healing of them. I do not know what the raven as to do with Apollo.

Terme di Diocleziano, Rome, Apollo cult base Imperial marble

This is a close look at one side of the marble base. I think the shiny stuff is mica, mixed in with the marble. The base dates from the Imperial period of Rome, sometime between 100 BC and 200 AD. It was found near the Tiber river.

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