Friday was another long day where I saw A LOT of stuff. We started bright and early and began at the Circus Maximus where a few intrepid young fellows decided to run (what they could) of the ancient track. I personally rooted for the Reds since the runner for said team was a fellow IU-Bloomingtonian—it was a good day, the IU Crimsons won!
The rest of the morning was spent looking at the Republican temples of the Forum Holitorium (Vegetable market) and Forum Boarium (Cow Market) which are all adjacent to one another. We first attempted to see the Ara Maxima which is currently underneath the Basilica Santa Maria in Cosmedin; in fact, the Ara Maxima has actually been carved out to form a chapel. We didn’t actually get to go into the altar until a little later (the guy who was supposed to let us in was late). I actually had a difficult time in there and left before the rest of the group. I am pretty claustrophobic; there were a lot of people in there and the air felt really close and I just had to get out of there even though it was interesting. I am hoping that I can handle the catacombs in a couple of weeks.
We then walked to the Forum Holitorium temples which are currently built into one church, S. Nicola Incarcere. We explored the foundation levels of the temple which are currently underneath the church. I explored for a bit and did a bit better under there than I did at the Ara Maxima even though it twisted and turned.
After that we walked to the banks of the Tiber and discussed the oldest bridge which crosses the Tiber, the mythical foundation of Tiber Island, and the foundation of the cult of Asclepius (which is reflected by the continued presence of hospitals on the island). The last stop in the morning was the temples in the Forum Boarium to the Temple of Hercules and Portunus.
After the lunch break, we went to the Capitoline Museums. I was PRETTY excited and that feeling only increased when the FIRST thing I saw were the Marcus Aurelius panels and then the SECOND was the bust of Commodus as Hercules. I could spend hours there looking at these works and not get tired of it. Fortunately, we will be returning to the Capitoline and I think I will return alone to do it at my own pace.
This blog was originally posted here, with pictures!