Friday, May 08, 2009

Archetypes and Icons

You all know that image, right? What? You don't? Well, it's all over Rome.

For those of you in need of a refresher, this sculpture depicts Romulus and Remus, who according to legend were the twin sons of Mars and the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia (gods didn't have the same respect for the Vestals that people did) and were floated down the river in a basket to save them from being killed by their mother's uncle (remind anybody of anything?) They were protected by a river god and nursed by a she-wolf, then discovered and raised by a kindly shepherd and his wife. We found out in Rome that lupa means not only she-wolf but was also slang for "prostitute," so some people interpret the legend that way, but the 'raised-by-wolves' version holds much greater currency, and you see variations of the image in that statue repeated endlessly in the Eternal City. The legend continues, you see, with the twins growing up and killing that jealous great uncle (d'oh!) and reinstating their grandfather as king (I guess some god or other must have told them the deal.) They then decided to build a city of their own on the spot where the lupa had nursed them, but then had an argument about how to do that and Romulus killed Remus (d'oh!!) named the city after himself and established the three tribes that would populate it.

We saw this piece at the Capitoline Museum, which is one of those places that we could have blown off, but it's so good we didn't. Amazing pieces in there, including this Etruscan beauty. (Well, there's some debate as to whether the Etruscans actually made it, but for now I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.)

This is one of my favorite shots from our trip. It's the Temple of Saturn, from the Forum.

And here's the curve of the Colosseum, streetlights and all.

And finally (for now) a shot of your friendly neighborhood blogger continuing the conceptual continuity of dancing in front of churches he started more than 10 years ago in London, this time in front of the Holiest of Holies.

More on the Vatican later...

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