October 7th, 2013

The Eternal City – Roman Forum Ruins

forum view large
It’s entertaining and edifying to learn about ancient Roman culture from bits and pieces of buildings. I can see how they were an advanced culture (minus the bit about all the slaughter at the Colosseum), ahead of their time, in the remains of the homes, buildings and public places left behind.
We toured the Roman forum, a group of preserved remains of the old empire dating as far back as 50 BC. There were temples, churches, the senate building (birth place of so-called democracy), triumphal arches celebrating leaders/tyrants sacks of neighboring lands, as well as the mundane markets, houses, watering holes and orchards of the average folk.
As we moved away from the dense old city center into the sprawling gardens and green space of the Palatine hill, I could almost feel what it was like to be live here. The climate is so mild, the abundant sea close, markets to trade and hear news and politics, public places like temples, churches and baths to come together; I can see how these people thought they were the bee’s knees.
The drone of traffic, horns and sirens faded away. All that could be heard was the cooing of birds and a gentle breeze through the olive trees. The green grass was sprinkled with wild thyme and periwinkle phlox and it almost felt like other places I’ve been, like Vermont or Oregon, until I almost trip over a cache of column bits or decapitated statures.

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