I went to an exhibition on Friday that I won’t bother to take the class to see. It wasn’t nearly as interesting as it could have been. Looking at this ivory up close (and taking a photo!) was worth the price of admission for me, though.
An apotheosis – perhaps the apotheosis of Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, late 4th/early 5th C. British Museum, London. M&ME 1857,10-13,1. 30.1×11.3 cm. Really something to see. Symmachus was one of the last great pagans – an opponent of Ambrose and Theodosius. The organizers of the show wanted to suggest that it was an emperor – but at the very least it’s a deeply nostalgic pagan senator recalling imperial funerals and apotheoses – or just apotheosizing himself. Hence, Symmachus.
Visible signs that the crisis (la crisi) has not abated in Italy – a closed gallery of really important sculpture in the National Archaeological Museum Naples. That’s the Tyrannicides Group in there!
One of the nicest things about being somewhere for a semester rather than for a vacation is that one doesn’t feel compelled to go out in the rain.
Rome is showery today – and since I don’t have anything to do before Italian lesson at 2:15 (no HWS classes on Fridays, now that the students are out of Intensive Italian), I can stay home and read!
I just hope one of those sunny moments happens about 2 . . . .
Wow – I feel a good bit better this morning (I’ve been battling a head cold this week). And today is without students – my only commitment is Italian lesson. I’ve done a lot of talking this week and I need some rest.
I’d go that far.
In service for the Food and Culture in Italy course (being taught by our GustoLab partner, Sonia Massari) we visited Eccelenze Campane, which is kind of hard to describe. The name means Campanian Specialities or Excellences. It’s a foodie paradise for organic, fresh, and local stuff in Campania – a combination of grocery store, restaurant, and production center. We watched people making mozzarella and ricotta di bufala – and then got to eat it. Wow. We watched people making pasta – and some of us ate that for lunch (I had alici fritti, myself – yum, yum). We watched and helped people making pastries – and you see me eating a sfogliatelle with a filling made with fresh ricotta di bufala. It was over the top good, and I finally understand how they get all the flaky layers!
We had a cloudy, showery day until the late afternoon, and Vesuvius never cleared off. But then again, it didn’t do this, either, for which I am profoundly grateful.
John Wright of Derby, Eruption of Vesuvius in 1774. Wikimedia Commons
and LOTS of pictures to file and post.
Also, commentary on the young man from Bates College who died last week.
Walking away from Piazza Navano. Santa Maria dell’Anima, whose spire is on the left, is a German language church – and what’s more, it’s a German Hallenkirche! Very unusual in Rome.
Christine, my colleague, asked me some day this week if there was anything in Rome I was over (though she put it more gracefully). I had to admit that I don’t go to the Colosseum except with students. You come visit me in Rome, I’ll point out that the Metro stop is called “Colosseo” and that admission to the monument costs €12 – but your ticket will get you into the much more interesting Forum and Palatine.
I dunno – it’s structurally very interesting, if you’ve never thought about that kind of thing before; Romans had been building things like this for more than a century, since the Theater of Pompey. The gladiator shows and beast shows tell us a lot about the unpleasant side of the Romans (human sacrifice and animal-torture?). The only thing that really interests me are the legally established seating arrangements – if you walked into the Flavian Amphitheater you would see senators (and Vestal Virgins) down front, the Equites (Knights) behind them, and then regular citizens. Slaves and women to the rear!
I could explain that at any number of sites, but I will say that everyone seems to enjoy at least one visit to the Colosseum. I just kind of wish I didn’t have to go, too! I hope that didn’t come across – unlike the poor fella at Rutgers who explained he was not teaching the “Human Aggression” course voluntarily, because it isn’t really his field. Never admit your weakness! You always know more than they do. God knows I know more about the Flavian Amphitheater than I care to tell my charges. On to the Ara Pacis tomorrow! THAT I care about.
I don’t know what it is about them, but I do love columns in entasis* – that is, contained inside the width of a wall (as though the wall is hollowed out around them). Michelangelo liked them, too – and used them on the Palazzo Nuovo on the Capitoline.
*eeek – “in antis.” My brain was not working right.
A childhood friend who now lives in England is visiting Rome this week with her family. I met up with them yesterday afternoon; we took a walk, looked at some things, then had a long and splendid lunch. Very pleasant! Somehow, we took no pictures.
I’m feeling much better – I had a cold (I wish I could blame the tour of the Fori Imperiali, but I have spent too much time walking in the rain this semester to believe that!). Lots of sleep helped. And Friday I wore sunglasses for the first time this semester; not that there haven’t been some days when I could have used them, but I had gotten out of the habit of shoving the case into my bag. Yesterday my hyacinth (I guess) bloomed, too – one of those little things that makes a rental apartment in Rome feel like home.
NOW I’m cranky. I woke up at 5.30 this morning with a dry mouth. I had a drink of water and went back to bed – having noticed that it was not raining. My alarm went off just before 7. I was still lying in bed when the DOWNPOUR began.
7.32 and it’s still raining hard – and I have a rendezvous with my class at 9 a.m. at the foot of the Vittoriano to walk around the Imperial Forums. Couldn’t it have waited until 11, when I would be home and Christine’s INDOOR class would be in session?
Ah, the lovely column base of Antoninus Pius – it was the base for a triumphal or commemorative column, and shows the apotheosis of Antoninus Pius (emperor 138-161, between Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius) and his wife Faustina. I’m always charmed by how unconvincing I find their pose on the back of the winged figure flying them to Olympus. And . . . in restauro.