Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 1 March 2021

The Glory that was Rome

Today the remains of the Mausoleum of the Emperor Augustus reopens in Rome after a lengthy period of restoration. 

There are articles about the remains and their history from the Mail Online at Mausoleum built 2,000 years ago for Rome's first emperor  is restored  and from iNews at Rome's Mausoleum of Augustus reopens after 100 years of neglect There is an outline of the restoration project from its organisers at The Mausoleum of AugustusClassical Wisdom has a post about the choices implicit and explicit in the design of the Mausoleum at The Mausoleum of Augustus: Propaganda, Deification and Dynasty

Mausoleum Augustus
A model of the Mausoleum of Augustus 
Image: colosseumtickets.com
Today the Mausoleum, stripped of its marble facing and decoration, may be but the core of what once existed, but restoring the remains and making them physically and intellectually accessible is clearly an excellent thing to do.

The bronze statue of Augustus which crowned the Mausoleum is often thought to have been copied in the marble statue discovered in Livia’s villa at Primaporta as well as in other copies as an official depiction of the Emperor, perpetually young and confident, the author of peace and master of his world. As Emperor Augustus never updated his portrait on the coinage - he was always to be presented as in the prime of life.

The Primaporta statue is considered in two videos on YouTube which can be seen at Augustus of Primaporta, power and propaganda and The true colors of Augustus of Prima PortaThis is also a reminder that Classical statues were painted to be lifelike, rather than the polished pale marble we have been so accustomed to since at least the Italian Renaissance 

New archaeological techniques have revealed the plan of the Roman city of Falerii Novi entirely through radar imaging and suggest that this is a significant site, with a relationship to a sacral landscape as well as all the accustomed amenities of civic life. The discoveries are outlined at Archaeologists map ancient Roman city buried underground

Meanwhile at Pompeii a wall painting depicting hunting scenes which was uncovered in the 1913-14 but which had deteriorated due to exposure has been restored and conserved as can be seen in a Mail Online report at Lasers removed stains on fresco in Pompeii's House of the Ceii

The continuing excavations of the city have now yielded a truly remarkable find, even by the standards of that remarkable site, in the form of a ceremonial chariot, possibly used in connection with wedding celebrations. There  are accounts of the discovery which can be seen from BBC News at Pompeii: Archaeologists unveil ceremonial chariot discovery and from the Guardian at Archaeologists find unique ceremonial vehicle near Pompeii

Somewhat later in time and on the north west perifery of the Empire debates about aspects of life around Hadrian’s Wall continue as outlined in a report in the online Daily Express which can be seen at Archaeologists stumped by 'so many remaining mysteries' at elusive Hadrian's Wall

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