Sunday, November 11, 2007

2,000 years later

When I first saw the Roman Forum in 2005, it was just after Hurricane Katrina and in my mind, the two were linked in devastation. Most of the damage to the ancient government center of Rome, however, was not due to a force of nature or even invasivion of hordes of barbarians. But rather the building efforts of the Barberini family 1,200 or so years after the fall of Rome. They, among others evidently, used the ancient buildings for the source of their new building materials. When you look at broken columns like this, it is hard to imagine what ancient Rome must have looked like. Or even, really think about their technological and artistic capabilities. After all, its just a bunch of old and broken stuff. Even the reconstructions available in books and pamphlets don't make it real.

Then every once in a while, when you see the rare example of near perfect preservation like this capital.

Or this floor from a garden on the Esquiline Hill seen in the Capitoline Museum. Then you know it must have been a quite a sight and you can get your head around it.

(Click on photo for a better view)

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