Roman Forum - part 2

We ended up on the Roman Forum again, on the way to the Palatine Hill. The Palatine is where we derive our word palace and was the home of the upper crust of Rome for most of its history.

hooded crow

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum... one of the hooded crows hung out on a column for quite a while, close enough for me to get several good pictures before he got annoyed and flew away. This one's my favorite, especially for the way it is framed by the column in the background.

columns antonius and faustina

A closer look at the columns on the Temple of Antonius and Faustina.

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A lovely little tree growing on the edge of the Forum, in an area where active excavation is still happening.

temple vesta

Another view on the Temple of Vesta, with Ace in the foreground.

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A longer view of the same place. Here you can see our destination, the Palatine, off to the right.

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Hidden near the stairs that lead up to the Palatine hill is this little grotto. It seems to have gone unnoticed and unmentioned in all the catalogues of the Forum and the Palatine. Perhaps it is a Nymphaeum, a temple/fountain dedicated to nymphs... or maybe it's just a fountain. The statues look relatively recent, but of course that says nothing about the age of the fountain or the grotto itself.

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It does seem like it would take at least a while to build up this much calcification, though.

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The first thing we found in the Palatine was the small museum, the Palatine Antiquarium, which houses artifacts found in the excavations of the Palatine Hill. The museum is housed in a building that is clearly old, but it is not quite clear how old. The guidebook claims the museum is located in a former convent built over the ruins of the Domus Augustana, part of the Imperial Palace of the emporer Domitian. Whatever it's foundations, it's not a terribly impressive museum as Roman museums go. Most of the pieces are badly damaged. However, knowing that we are looking at a piece that decorated the private homes of the Roman emporers is pretty neat, even if it's only a fragment.

This piece is from the Imperial Palace in the 1st century AD.

paris of troy

This piece also decorated the Domus Augustana, and depicts Paris of Troy. The piece is a 1st century AD copy of a 4th century BC Greek original. Even this ancient work is unlikely to be a faithful representation, as the traditional date for the Trojan war is still several centuries earlier, in the 13th century BC. The Trojan War itself is known only from stories, and likely is an amalgamation of several wars fought by the early Greeks, so there may never have been a real Paris. But there was a real Troy - located in modern-day Turkey. It was previously thought to have been a fort rather than a city, but excavations in the 1980's uncovered evidence of a city of 5,000 to 10,000 people - large enough to have been the legendary Troy.

hera borghese

One of the most common themes in Roman statuary, a Hera Borghese (Hera in the style of the piece that is held by the Borghese family - the original is from the 5th century BC, this piece is from the Imperial era). This fractured piece shows something interesting, though - it gives a look into how the Greeks and Romans sculpted the marble to give it the luminescent quality of flowing fabric. How they managed to carve it into delicate sheets with Bronze- and Iron-age tools, though, I do not know.

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