The Blog

Writings from the mind of Steven Tammen. Occasionally comprehensible.


Today we visited the Mausoleum of Augustus and the remains of the Ara Pacis (“Altar of Peace”) and discussed exactly how these things related to Augustus’ PR strategy. We also visited the Palazzo Altemps and looked at some statuary that combined ancient parts with reconstructions by sculptors hired by the Ludovisi family, as well as a Roman copy of a Greek piece called “The suicidal Gaul.” Mausoleum of Augustus Augustus’ tomb, and that of his immediate relatives.


Today we talked about the transition from the Republic to the Empire in the context of political and social considerations. We also went to the Palazzo Massimo, a large museum that we only saw bits and pieces of. When there, we discussed Roman portraiture, among other things. Walls of Rome Servian wall: 4th century BC Not actually built in the Regal period by Servius Tullius. Rome won’t have a wall again until 700 years later.


Last week we talked about the early history of the city: the regal period, but also a bit of Rennaissance (turtle fountain, the Borghese Palazzo). Today: brief overview on the transition from the Republic to the empire. In particular, an examination of how this transition affected the city fabric itself. Civil war, Augustus, and rebuilding Competition between generals comes to a head. 100 BC to 31 BC: near constant state of civil war in the Roman state.

Fixing Image Display

My camera Since I started my Rome study abroad I have been taking pictures with a point-and-shoot camera rather than my phone for a couple of reasons. It has a larger sensor (so can handle lower-light situations better), it has pretty decent optical zoom (although not without its drawbacks: the non-removable lens does restrict aperture when highly zoomed), and it can shoot in a dual RAW/JPG mode. The best part about it is that it is small enough that I can slip it quickly into a pocket when not in use, so it is not nearly as unwieldy as a DSLR or full-frame mirrorless with attached lenses.


Today we talked about a wide variety of things: Tiber island, a couple temples near the Forum Boarium, the Campus Martius and triumphs, the Largo Argentina and the victory temples therein, the theater of Pompey, and Giordiano Bruno, whose statue is in the Campo de’ Fiori. Tiber island Background 19th century walls around Tiber: Rome suffered from devastating floods of the Tiber; the walls help prevent this.


Today was our first day-trip. Today we visited Etruscan tombs at the Monterozzi necropolis in ancient Tarquinia and the Banditaccia necropolis in Cerveteri (Caere). Monterozzi necropolis in ancient Tarquinia Herodotus on the mythological origins of the Etruscans: founder = Tarchon, Lydian prince. Story associated with ancient Tarquinia. Etruscans are from Lydia. Came as a result of a famine. Herodotus portrays them as a lascivious people. The location of ancient Tarquinia was an advantageous land (I mean, just look at it!


Today we talked about the history of the Borghese family’s property, and also spent some time examining the Etruscans. We went over quite a bit on our museum tour, so this post is a necessarily incomplete record. The Borghese park’s history Geographically outside the city of Rome in antiquity. Also outside the city of Rome in the 1600s, when it was acquired by the Borghese family. Was originally an active vineyard.


Today we focused on the founding of Rome, and in particular how the development of Rome was influenced by the Greek and Etruscan civilizations. Relationship to the Greeks, mytho-history The Romans felt socially inferior to the Greeks (in terms of art, literature, etc.). Romulus and Remus: descendants of the Trojan prince Aeneas. Sets up the Romans in relation to the Greeks. Gives them another divine ancestor in Venus.


Today was the first real day of the trip. It was still more introductory in nature, but we got to see more of the city outside of the bit near us. First stop: Piazza della Repubblica This plaza has distinctive curving buildings. The ancient city of Rome imposes its shape upon the modern city. Rather than altering the structural base, modern architects follow what is already there.


Outbound flight Today I flew to Rome for a Classics study abroad program. There was not too much traffic through the Atlanta airport when I went through the international terminal on my way to Rome. Checking the bag was easy, getting to the gate was easy, and getting settled in the proper seat at the proper time just required paying a bit of attention to the announcements to make sure I was boarding with the correct group.