Sunday, May 11, 2014

CAPITOLINE MUSEUMS - GALLERY OF THE GARDENS (second part)

Exedra of Marcus Aurelius
Architecture by Carlo Aymonino (1926/2010) on the area of the GIARDINO ROMANO (Roman Garden) between the properties of the Conservatives and the Caffarelli family
In 1876 Virginio Vespignani had built an octagonal pavilion to preserve the works of art
"Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius" (161/180) about 176 AD, the only ancient equestrian bronze statue to reach our times of the many that were in Rome: a late imperial description lists no less than twenty-two Equi Magni (big horses)
It was saved from melting and recycling only because mistakenly believed to be the representation of Constantine the emperor who legalized Christianity in 313
The original location is debated. It was moved from the Lateran Square to the center of the Piazza del Campidoglio in 1538 by order of Paul III Farnese (1534/49) and placed on a pedestal designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti
In 1979 it was damaged by a bomb during a terrorist attack that didn't cause a massacre only because a storm had broke out and Piazza del Campidoglio was empty
It was restored in the years 1981/90
In 1997 a copy was placed in the center of Piazza del Campidoglio
"From the Aedes Aemiliana Herculis in the Forum Boarium probably dedicated in 142 BC during the censorship of Scipio Aemilian from an archetype dating from about 320/300 BC recognized in the Lenbach type Hercules similar, on stylistic grounds, to works of Lysippus or his school, to which refer features such as the smallness of the head (not without echoes of Skopas) or the pronounced twisting of the trunk" (Lucio Fiorini - TMG)
"Head", "Hand" and "Orb" in bronze of Constantine (306/337) or his son Costatius II (337/361) believed to be part of the same statue
"Orb" originally placed on top of the Vatican Obelisk, removed in 1586 by Domenico Fontana. According to an ancient tradition it was believed to be the tomb of Julius Caesar, but Fontana only found rust. It was transferred to the Capitoline Museum in 1589
The holes in the orb were made by bullets from guns of mercenaries during the sack of Rome in 1527. They are the only tangible evidence of that tragic event, along with the holes in the Belvedere bronze Pine Cone and in the bronze peacocks, originally located near the Pine Cone in the atrium of the Basilica of St. Peter
Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus
Also known as TEMPLE OF JUPITER OPTIMUS MAXIMUS the Roman version of the Greek Zeus. Temple of the Capitoline Triad, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva founded, according to legend, by Tarquinius Priscus (616/579 BC), the fifth king of Rome who wanted to dedicated it to Jupiter Optimus Maximus in exchange for victory over the Sabines
Maybe it was also built to emphasize the new religious as well as political importance of Rome over other cities of the Latin League who previously gravitated around Alba Longa and the Temple of Jupiter Latiaris on Mons Albanus, now Monte Cavo
Tarquinius Priscus' son, Tarquin the Proud, continued the construction but it was dedicated only in the first year of the Roman Republic, on September 13, 509 BC by the consul Horace Pulvilli
The legend says that during the construction a skull was found, which gave its name to the Capitolium hill (head in Latin is caput), hinting that that was where the center of power in Rome would have been in the future
It measured about 62 x 54 m (203 x 177 feet)
It suffered fires in 83 BC, AD 69 and AD 80 and it was always rebuilt with the same dimensions. Only part of the foundations in cappellaccio stone remains
THREE PARALLEL CELLAE separated by walls, under the same roof with the simulacra of worship inside: on the left Juno, in the center Jupiter and on the right Minerva
Rites took place in the Temple before wars and triumphal processions ended here. The Sibylline Books (books to predict the future) were kept here, it was a symbol of Rome and it was reproduced in all the newly founded cities
The huge STATUE OF JUPITER with a thunderbolt in his right hand was made by the Greek Apollonios, perhaps the same Apollonios Nestor's son who signed the Belvedere Torso in the Vatican Museums
On the roof there was a CHARIOT MADE OF TERRACOTTA by Vulca, the only Etruscan sculptor known to us
The legend says that during the baking the oven that contained it cracked, another harbinger of the greatness of Rome
In 296 BC the terracotta chariot was replaced with a bronze one by the Ogulnii brothers the aedilii of that year, the same ones that had made the bronze she-wolf of the Lupercal
In front of the temple there was a square, the AREA CAPITOLINA, full of statues and monuments:
A square foundation remains on either side of Via del Tempio di Giove, maybe part of the ALTAR TO JUPITER CUSTODIAN (Ara Juppiter Conservator) erected by Domitian to thank the god for the narrow escape during the siege of the Capitol ine Hill by Vitellius' party, when he had hidden in the Capitoline Temple of Isis disguised as a priest of Isis, as represented on the altar
More likely, the square foundation is the nucleus of the ALTAR OF THE GENS JULIA maybe identifiable with the ARA PIETATIS AUGUSTAE dedicated by Claudius in 43 AD but voted by the Senate in 22 for a serious illness of Livia. The reliefs included in the rear fa├žade of the Villa Medici probably belonged to this altar
The TEMPLE OF CAPITOLINE ISIS dated at least to 58 BC, when it is mentioned for the first time by the sources. It was located in the area where the church of S. Maria in Aracoeli is now. Maybe the Celimontano Obelisk dating back to about 1250 BC at the time of Ramses II (1297/1213 BC) belonged to temple. It was moved in 1582 to Villa Celimontana
On the south side of the Temple there was the TEMPLE OF FIDES (trust), the divinity guardian of the treaties and diplomatic relations, the remains of which crashed in the area of S. Omobono
Among these materials, fragments of a black marble base with victories and trophies in relief were also found, maybe the base of the bronze group with the scene of the surrender of Jugurtha donated by the king Bocco of Mauretania to Sulla and a statue of Aristogeiton one of the tyrannicides (along with Harmodius) copy of the group of Critias and Nesiote formerly made by Antenor in 476 BC to be erected in the agora of Athens, now in the Museum of the Central Montemartini: the event represented temporally coincided with the expulsion of Tarquin the Proud and the beginning of the Roman Republic 
On the Clivus Capitolinus (the road to the hill) maybe at the entrance of the Area Capitolina there was the ARCH OF TRIUMPH OF SCIPIO AFRICANUS built in 190 BC, one of the oldest in Rome
According to ancient tradition the VILLAGE ON THE CAPITOLINE HILL was the oldest of the ones on the hills of future Rome. It would have been founded by the god Saturn himself. Archaeological excavations made it possible to date the origin of the village of the Capitoline Hill to the fourteenth or thirteenth century BC
The Capitoline Hill is the smallest among the hills of Rome: it measures only 460 x 180 m (1,510 x 590 feet) and it is 46 m (150 feet) high above sea level, but the slope was much steeper in the past than now and it was protected from possible enemies
Remains of the decoration of an ancient temple from the sixth century BC found in the Sacred Area of S. Omobono in the Forum Boarium
The decoration of the pediment of the Corinthian type is the oldest example of a closed pediment of the Etruscan and Italic architecture in the archaic period
"Fragmented acroterial group with Hercules and Athena" second half of the sixth century BC. "Polychrome antefix (roof decoration) with female head" end of the sixth century BC
"Coating clay slab with a parade of chariots" second half of the sixth century BC. The temple was located at the point of beginning of the triumphal procession. The figure of Hercules was traditionally linked to the triumph as a man transformed into a god and he represented the consecration of power
"Laconic cup with roosters facing each other" sixth century BC
"Miniature pots and pans in bucchero" used for small offerings to the gods
"Ivory plaque in the shape of a feline" with Etruscan inscription of the beginning of the sixth century BC, maybe used as a pass, symbol of mutual hospitality, the so-called tessera hospitales
"Fragment of Amazon" in terracotta still polychrome, early fifth century BC. It was found outside the Esquiline Gate (now Arch of Gallienus) and maybe it was part of the decoration of the temple of the goddess Libitina, the goddess of deaths linked to the funeral rites
Reconstruction of the discovery of a "Girl's grave" dating to the tenth or ninth century BC found on the Capitoline Hill to prove the ancient human presence of the hill, which, judging from ceramics found in the S. Omobono area, was inhabited at least since the fourteenth or thirteenth century BC

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