Tuesday, September 2, 2008


This morning we took a guided tour of Rome. We saw countless fountains and many sculptures. One of my favorite sculptures was one of a man, and all over the base of the sculpture were complaints about the Roman government. At the time when popes governed Rome, the citizens would vent by writing up poems of complaints and pasting them on sculptures. As time went on, old ones were taken down or new ones covered the old complaints.

We also visited the Pantheon, an incredible work of art. The dome was the largest dome in the world until the 19th century. It has a whole in the top, called the sun dial, and there is no covering for it, so there are several holes in the flooring to drain the water after rainy days. The huge columns are made of marble and imported from Egypt. Each marble column is a whole piece rather than several chunks of marble put together, so they required very large ships for transport. Inside the pantheon, the first two Italian kings are buried there and the artist Raphael. Raphael was born on Good Friday and died on a Good Friday at the age of 37. The Pantheon is also used as a church every Sunday (provided that the weather is nice).

Then we visited my favorite, the Coliseum. It was incredibly large despite the fact that a good portion of it is missing. In about 500 A.D., Rome’s population decreased from about one million to about forty thousand due to the fact that the government changed and they lacked the agriculture to provide everyone with food. At this time the Coliseum was no longer being used for entertainment purposes, so whenever a new building needed to be built the government would steal parts of the Coliseum rather than paying for and shipping in new materials. Not until the 18th century, restoration was considered important and old architecture was protected and preserved.

Until our tour, I did not know that being a gladiator was considered prestigious. At this point in time, the average life expectancy was only about 42 provided that you even survived child birth. In addition, one of the main careers for men was being a soldier, so violence was a main theme among careers. Most gladiators were criminals, traitors, or prisoners from other areas. Rome did not have prisons, so criminals were either executed or sent to be a gladiator. Many men chose to be gladiators because they received training, good food, fame, and women.


Larissa said...

Oh my gosh...I love all your pictures. Keep them coming! I want to know about everything!


Caitlin said...

Maggie, it makes me very happy that you pretty much give a history lesson with the pictures and descriptions. seriously. glad u made it safely and did not get lost, i mean the signs are in another language.