Palatine Hill and Forum Romanum 3.12.2016

The tour that we’d bought for the Colosseum also covered the Palatine Hill. We had a small wait and got a new guide, Stan. He was from the States and he really knew how to liven up history. To become a guide in Rome isn’t all that easy, historical facts are disputed by scholars anyway, so if you can make the story lively, why not? The piles of rock an rubble aren’t complaining.

Stan started off with the fabulous tale of the god Mars seeing some vestal virgin, leading up to the birth of Romulus and Remus and the wolf bringing up the boys. Now what most history books never told me, is that the latin word lupa, meaning female wolf, is also an ancient Roman slang word for prostitute. So, putting history in perspective, the wolf suckling two baby boys and then found by a shepherd, might just have been a way for a single young woman to avoid being killed. Let’s stick to the legend since it’s catchier than any prostitute tale.

The Palatine Hill is where all the kings of Rome lived. The kings were before the emperors and the republic and stuff. Google it for more info. Today, it’s just a pile of rock and rubble. The fun fact with these piles are, that all the brickwork is original. These guys could really handle their brick and mortar and developed how to build arches that could withstand an enormous amount of weight.

The Forum Romanun was the downtown of ancient Rome. Shops and offices and temples for all kinds of gods. Even though there is only little left to see after a couple of millennia, I think it’s absolutely amazing that there is anything to see at all. The amount of stealing and pilfering over time is amazing. All the marble is of course gone. I learnt this new saying

“What the barbarians didn’t steal or break, the Barberinis did”

The Barberinis being an influential noble family. That’s why the ancient places look like they do. On the other hand, we have absolutely wonderful marble structures in public and private buildings of Rome, and the rest of Europe.

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