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Album: By Country | By Date Italy | February 2001 < Prev: Rome | Next: Drawing at the Forum and a New Companion >
Travelogue: By Country | By Date Italy | February 2001  

February 2001 - Palatine Hill Ruins

The ruins of the palaces of Roman emperors and a great place for a picnic

Getting oriented in front of the Arch of Titus.  The Arch was built to commemorate the sacking of Jerusalem in 71 AD. Young girl on ancient stone If you look closely you can see the Romans carting off the menorah from the temple in Jerusalem Farnesiana Gardens.  Cardinal Farnese bought Palatine hill in 1550 and had a villa built with marvelous gardens.
One of the walls of the Aula Regia part of the domus Flavia.  Romulus started Rome on Palatine Hill.  For centuries Romans built houses here because it was far from the marshlands and the heat and noise of crowds but relatively close to the Forum.  After Augustus had consolidated his power, he built a house here to connect himself with the legend of Romulus and help make his emperorship, a novel institution, more secure.  This room, 30 meters high, was a sort of throne room. Looking across the corner of the banquet hall.  At the base of the building are the remains of an oval fountain which guests could view while eating, drinking, and whatever.  Like other Roman buildings, the banquet hall was built with a space below it that allowed it to be heated. Maggie wandering between ruins.  The Romans used brick and mortar extensively.   Often bricks were laid with mortar as forms for an interior of concrete.  The disappearance of Roman power in western Europe during the 5th century led to a decline in building technology. Brickmaking became rare and was not revived until the 14th century. Concrete disappeared entirely, and it would not be until the 19th century that man-made cements would equal Roman concretes. We've read that Roman bricks were most often triangular and were laid apex inward, but we haven't been able to see this on our own. This was a "small" stadium in the emperor's palace.  Beyond the stadium are the ruins of Septimus Severus's extension of the palace.  He ran out of hill so he created level space by constructing it using huge arches to support it.
Pondering the ruins and the guidebook Picking flowers in the palace Looking north north west from the hill Looking down into the part of the palace that was built off the western edge of the hill.  The oddly shaped pieces at the top right are the remains of a fountain in the lower courtyard
Looking from the palace, where the emperor had a private box, out to the Circus Maximus.  The cedar on the left side of the picture is on the end of the spina, a low wall running nearly the length of the Circus.  The Circus was 621 meters long and 118 meters wide.  It could hold 250,000 spectators.  Supposedly a collapse of the stands once killed 13,000.  According to our guidebook, chariot races didn't have many rules.  Knocking over competing charioteers or squeezing your opponent against the spina was just part of the game.  Looking off Palatine Part of Severus's extension.  The picture doesn't capture how high the arches are. Self-crowned emperor
Looking through the Arch of Titus across the Forum and over to the twin top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument Colosseum Colosseum