I am sunburnt. My forearms are going to be a toasty brown, as will my chest. If I don’t burn too hard, then it develops into a tan. Fortunately I realized what was happening and started hiding in the shade. The worst is actually the tops of my feet. They are actually a little sensitive, but they’re already looking better. It’s kind of funny, I have sandal lines on my feet.
Were my sunburns worth it?
After all that sunbathing, I headed down to the Area Sacra Largo di Torre Argentina (hereafter referred to as “Argentina”), where my next class was meeting.
I didn’t see these guys all of last week, and now suddenly they’re at every touristy/historical spot I visit. I have no idea who they are or what organization they belong to. It has to be more than just begging, right? I mean, what’s the point?
Something about Heracles here made me laugh. He looks like a kid whose mom is forcing him to take a bath.
Rome is just really pretty.
I also bought some souvenirs. I have a pewter gladiator at home, and when I saw these bronze gladiators I knew I wanted one. However, they were expensive, so instead I bought a bobblehead to add to my bobblehead collection. I stopped at another souvenir stand to see if there were any less expensive ones there, and the person said, “You want one?” I said, “Yes, but it’s too expensive.” He said, “Ten euro.” Well okay then. I bought it for 10€ instead of 35€.
I tried to get them to look like they were fighting but it didn’t work out.
After walking to the Colosseum, walking all around the Colosseum looking for my class, and then spending several hours in the sunshine drawing, then walking to Argentina, I was very, very tired. I actually took a nap. Like, on the streets of Rome. I bought some grapes and sat in the alley and read my homework for class. I don’t want you to think I was sitting among the dumpsters. I just don’t have a better word for it than “alley”. It was more of like a little street where cars couldn’t go, but it had motorcycles and lots of visibility. I fell asleep in an alley. Yup.
My next class was Rome to Augustus. We started at Argentina and wandered around the Area Sacra, where the teacher gave us some basics in Roman archeology. Did you know that temples were considered the houses of the Gods? Like, literally, their houses, so only priests and priestesses were allowed in. Sacrifices were performed on the temple steps.
Here is a picture that I posted last week of the Area Sacra Largo di Torre Argentina. It hasn’t changed much from when Mussolini had his architects dig through the area, way back in the 1920s. This is the Sacra part of Area Sacra. There are four temples on this site. Most likely, they were what my professor called “Victory Temples” — generals would pledge to build temples in their patron deity’s honor if they won the battle, either as a personal pledge or as a pledge to their troops. It also had the added bonus of making them look good politically back home.
The streets behind this area — to the left of this picture — used to be Pompey’s Theater. It was the first of its kind, since Romans considered actors to be like prostitutes and theaters to be like whorehouses. Also, theaters were places of gathering and a place for the spread of ideas; they were like little riot factories. Romans did build theaters, but they were temporary theaters, made of wood and built solely for festivals. It was a love/hate relationship, though, because Greeks thought that theaters were awesome and the Romans thought the Greeks were awesome. Pompey justified the theater by putting a temple to his patron at the very top of the theater. He also had a gigantic campus for the theater, which included these four temples that you see in the picture.
Senators were only able to meet in consecrated areas, and because there were so many temples in this area, there was a consecrated area for Senators to meet here. It’s a little off-panel; there’s two white buildings next to that red building. Underneath those areas is where the consecrated Senatorial area was. The main Senatorial area was under renovation in 44 BC, so the Senators were meeting at this consecrated area. Therefore, this is the area where the Senators lured Julius Caesar to his death.
Along our walk we also learned about the Pigna — Pinecone — that served as a fountain for an area of Rome. We learned about the brief popularity of following Egyptian gods rather than Roman gods (after Julius Caesar’s conquest until Octavian’s defeat of Mark Antony).
We ended at the Pantheon.
One of the few remaining parts left of Agrippa’s bathhouse, yyyyeahhhh (another part is in the Via del Ciambatta, or “Donut Street”, where the bathhouse’s donut-shaped roof still remains.)
Despite the name — Pantheon, Greek for “all gods”, the Pantheon isn’t really built as a temple. This is a picture of my class standing in the ruins of the original temple. The Pantheon has been lost twice due to fire, and the Romans put high priority into rebuilding it for some reason. The current Pantheon has been around since Emperor Hadrian, who is rumored to have designed the current Pantheon himself.
If you look at the picture, you’ll notice that there are only four steps leading from the foundation to the porch of the Pantheon. This indicates that, for some reason, despite the theological name, this was not a temple in the proper sense. People can look into the temple. People can enter the temple — always could, even when it was first built. Very mysterious.
It is now a Catholic Church, because Rome.
The interior is gorgeous. I’ll have to revisit it when I’m not in such a rush. The marble is all-original. The Romans have always put a high priority into preserving the Parthenon. Two walls’ marble facades have been removed to get at the metal bolts that keep it in place, but most of the marble is still there. Gorgeous marble, from all over the territories of Rome. Definitely check this place out if you like pretty things.
There is something in Rome that is making me obsessed with birds.
All that sunshine and walking around made me exhausted. I spent most of today still feeling exhausted. I took my first yoga class this evening, feeling headachey and just achey all over. Some stretching, some painkillers, and a hamburger from a tourist trap later, and I’m feeling much better.
Time for bed though.