View Page: 13 Settembre
University of Washington Honors Program in Rome

13 Settembre
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The sites we visited today were Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Piazza del Campidoglio, and the Capitoline Museums. Santa Maria in Aracoeli has a (painted) carving of a baby Jesus. Il Bambino is attributed with many miracles and many sick people come to touch the figure when it is brought out once a year. We saw it in its chapel with its beady little eyes and rosy cheeks. Most people find the likeness disturbing due to the inhuman color of the paint and the awkward vertical position. A baby Jesus is almost never found standing alone in swaddling clothes without either a manger or mother.
At the Capitoline Museums they have the original (and very old) bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius of which a copy adorns the Piazza del Campidoglio. The museums also contain the statues from the Forum, such as "The Dying Gaul", and many busts of emperors. Outside as they have always been are the remaining pieces of a massive statue of Constantine: his face, feet, and hands. The pieces are almost comical in their size; the grinning head of Constantine is unaware of its disimbodiment, his foot a few feet away.


For the past two nights there has been a chess tournament in the Campo dei Fiori. Although it is a somewhat exclusive tournament, the benevolent chess players thought ahead to set an oversized board for the plebeians to play on. Whitney and Paul M. took up the challenge and routed the local homeless community, including Marco and Beninio. Their ongoing consumption of alcohol did not improve their chances even though Whitney failed to notice the plastic covered box that served as the white knight.

Hand and Head of Constantine
This massive statue of Constantine once had a wooden body and the massive extremities that remain
Massive bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius
This is a copy of the original statue which is housed in the museum

The size of Constantine's statue fits in well with the scale of Rome. Many Christians were martyred for refusing to honor the emperor as a god, which is how he must have seen himself. This Bronze of a triumphant Marcus Aurelius is the centerpiece of the piazza designed by Michaelangelo. The statue was saved from being melted down by a lie. It would have been melted if people thought that it was of a pagan emperor like Marcus. It was saved by the name of Constantine showing the repercussions inflicted by Christians.