This morning we headed to the Forum for a look around. Back in the ancient Rome this was the center of day to day business in Rome. They did everything from trials, to trading.
They had temples to their gods, such as Mars and Minerva.
This is even the spot where Julius Caesar was cremated.
The courthouse was about three times the size of what you see here.
The Forum came under disuse during the middle ages. At that time the river, which they had fight to keep at bay, flooded and brought mud into the valley. The mud got so high, in fact, that the green door you see here was once at ground level.
Much of the marble was “upcycled” to new buildings, such as St. Peter’s Basilica, which we saw yesterday.
They started excavating the Forum around 1803 and efforts still persist to day.
We also took some time to look at the Arch of Titus, which is victory arch celebrating Titus’ Siege of Jerusalem in AD 70. Here you can see them delivering a menorah back to Rome.
While we were touring the Forum it started to downpour! It wasn’t long until my jacket and shoes were completely soaked! I even had an umbrella with me, but the wind kept turning it inside out. I don’t know if this picture really shows it, but it was like a little river running down the cobblestones. It was actually kind of cool! But cold!
Luckily our next stop was the Colosseum, which has at least some areas to hide from the rain. The real name of the Colosseum is the Flavian Amphitheater, named after the dynasty that built it. It was nicknamed after a giant statue of Nero that used stand outside it called Colossus Neronis.
We all know that they used to make gladiators fight in this ring, but they also brought animals from all over the world, they would bring them back from the conquests. They would make the animals fight each other, or humans. Even starving the animals for days in advance of fight to make them angry. At one point, 11,000 animals were killed in just 120 days.
All the spectacles were free to attend, including food and drinks (a lot of times they ate animals killed in the ring). The most important people set on marble benches near the edge of the ring. You can see some of the benches in this picture. That put them very close up to the action, so a metal net was constructed to keep them safe from any rogue animals or fighters.
The middle class sat on brink benches on the next two levels, and finally the poor would sit at the top on wooden benches. Jokes on them! Wooden benches would be way more comfortable than the marble ones!
The floor of the colosseum was wood, with sand over the top. There were a network of tunnels and cages under the stage, and huge trapdoors that were used to get the animals and men from the area below onto the playing field.
The Colosseum really is a marvel of architecture, hard to believe that most of it is still standing today, over 1,900 years later. At one point, it even had retractable sun shades that were operated by sailors.
From there we headed back to the hotel. During the walk in the rain, I realized that I couldn’t fight it any longer, I needed to take the rest of the day off. After over a week of being sick and having this cough, and still feeling feverish on-and-off, I needed a day to sleep. Also, my ankle was giving me real issues this morning. Tomorrow there will be a lot of walking in Pompeii, and it came to a point when I needed to just give my body a rest. It can be really hard to make decisions like this, but sometimes you have to make the hard decisions.
But I am looking forward to get rolling again tomorrow!