Note: To help our scholars familiarize themselves with their host country, we asked each to watch a different 25-30 minute youtube video about a particular region of Italy. Each video stars Rick Steves, a foremost expert on European travel. After they watched their assigned videos, Scholars were asked to provide a summary of its contents and highlight a topic it covers that especially interests them – this could be anything from a moment in history to a place or a person. In addition to explaining their personal interest in the topic.
Rome was once the capital of the western world. Today, its ruins show the monumental architectural accomplishment, culture, and history of the great city.
Classical Rome lasted from 500 BC to 500 AD. As the legend goes, Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus. These two brothers were abandoned as children and raised by a she-wolf (I hope those three years of middle school Latin pays off). In reality, the first Romans mixed and mingled in the valley that became the Roman forum. An example of Rome’s great architecture is the Via Sacra. It served as public relations tools. Romes economy was fueled by plunder and slaves gained by war. The Capitoline Hill, which sits among the other buildings of the modern city, is the home of the city’s government. The Pax Romana was a time of stability, military dominance, and good living. Roman history of the Pax Romana can be found in Roman art. A statue of Caesar Agustus -one of the first great emperors of the peace- has trusting and strong eyes that create a feeling of stability and well being. Another statue shows that the peace was coming to an end. The statue is of a boy that is about to become head of state, surrounded by nervous senators (expresses the lack of confidence in the government).
The Romans created many amazing structures, such as the Roman aqueducts and the Appian Way. The Colosseum is an incredible demosntat=raion of the Roman genius. The structure was used as an entertainment house for the million inhabitants of the city. Criminals, warriors, and animals fiercely fought each other to the death as the raging crowd watched and cheered. I would definitely prefer the modern day football over the gory fights of Roman entertainment. The colossal building was made possible by the Roman made concrete and their well-known arches. They respected they Greek culture by decorating the structure with greek of columns-Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian. The passageways under the wooden floor, allowed people and animals to be shuffled around out of sight.
Buildings like the well-preserved Pantheon showcase roman greatness (Its one-piece columns are so huge it takes four tourists to hug one). Modern days architects still marvel at its brilliance. The dome is made of poured concrete which gets thinner and lighter has it rises. The highest is made of pumice, a volcanic stone. The building was used as a place of worship. Emperor Constantine eventually legalized Christianity. As Ric Steves states ” In the year 300, you could be killed for being Christian. In the year 400, you could be killed for not being Christian. Church attendance boomed and Constantine built the first Christian church “San Giovanni in Laterano”. The adjacent holy stairs are a major stop for pilgrims Thousands scale the Scala Santa on their knees, the stairs believed to be the stairs that Jesus climbed the stairs on the day he was condemned.
Rome collapsed after decades of corrupt rulers, and instability of the great Rome fell in 500 AD. Although the ancient civilization fell, Rome’s political, cultural, and architectural accomplishments are still felt today. Buildings and art are beautifully preserved and can be found today in the equally beautiful country of Italy. I am very excited to see the greatness of Ancient Rome in person.