Imperial Palatine and the Colisseum

Day 36
October 20th 2007

Michael “Captain Apollo” Poppler and Chelsea “Mehr Bear” Mehr signing in.

Spirits were running high in the 007 squad this morning after hearing about the surprise engagement of Craig Dent and our lovely Canadian T.A. Briar Teron. Both of these lovebirds were on the 2005 FSP...

Michael: “Hello ladies….”

Michael’s love life aside, we now turned our attention to the Flavians and their architectural additions to the Palatine Hill (with a little Augustus too). The opening attraction of the morning was the Arch of Titus. This arch commemorated the Roman defeat of the Jews and the sack of Jerusalem. On the left side (looking towards the Forum), we saw a relief of the triumphal procession displaying the wealth and riches taken from the temple of Jerusalem. On the right, the four-horse chariot (dubbed “quadriga”) followed by the winged goddess of victory was depicted. Like emperors before him, Titus is also called divine on the arch’s inscription. Though Michael considered adopting this title as well, the professors explained that at this time, this title could only be awarded following death.

Spirits were high again as we turned our attention to the Palatine. These spirits again were short lived when Professor Stewart notified the group that the tickets cost 167 Euro. See, the cost of the tickets at a museum has a direct relationship to the amount of time the group spends at a museum as the more money we spend, the longer we stay. 167 Euro, in theory, would have extended our Palatine visit to approximately December. Luckily, the 007 squad thrives on museum time. HOO RAH! We were more than ready to tackle what the Palatine had to offer.

“Caesar Ave,” as Michael dubs it, must have been gorgeous in its day. The palaces of three Caesars – Augustus, Tiberius, Domitian – have been uncovered on the hill. We talked a good while about a “very important lump of concrete” called the Temple of Apollo. The patron god of Augustus, Apollo became a vehicle for Augustus’s domination of the Roman state religion, most clearly shown by the temple’s location directly next to Augustus’s palace. Being a strong supporter of  “the home office,” Augustus also convened the senate here.

 Like Augustus, Domitian also had a beautiful palace on the Palatine, though much of its former splendor has been lost over the ages. Due to some obvious confusion in the explanation of the “hippodrome” garden of Domitian’s Palace, Michael exclaimed “Whoa, that’s the biggest triclinium ever!” Let’s get it together Michael…

All in all, the Palatine was stunning (not to mention the great views). The memory capacity of our digital cameras was tested to the max.

Having visited the Roman amphitheater at Capua, the Colisseum of the Flavians posed little academic challenge to the esteemed group, especially compared to the masses of tourists at the site. Though we were a little annoyed to find that, like the Red Sox, the gladiators had the day off and thus no games would be presented. We thus thought resentfully of the 100 days of games that were featured when the Colisseum was completed under Vespasian. Drui and Michael offered to engage in combat but when Irat offered to fight the winner, the gift shop became the destination of choice for all parties involved.

After allowing our imaginations to ferment in the grandeur of the Colisseum a little while longer, we surrendered to fatigue and made our way home. And that’s the way the cookie crumbled.