By: Jenn and Eva
Today was an early start. We got our own breakfast and met up with the large group around 8:30am. We made our way to Augustus’ Mausoleum. We admired the circular design that was built up of Earth and brick. This was the site where the Imperial families (of Augustus) would have been buried. We walked around the structure and headed into the building where the reconstructed Ara Pacis is now kept.
The Ara Pacis was so cool. The Ara Pacis, or the Altar of Peace, is essentially a rectangular marble box with a big altar in the middle meant for sacrifices. It is ornately decorated and very large. We got to walk around the entire structure and were even able to walk inside of it! While walking around, we played a little game of “Find the Lizard/Bird.” The outside walls contained many acanthus leaves and friezes displaying sacrificial acts. It started raining rather profusely and so we decided to wait out the rain a little bit. While waiting, we sketched a part of the Ara Pacis for our journals.
After leaving the Ara Pacis, we attempted to make our way through the rain, but it just wouldn’t let up. We decided to wait under a porticus next to the Column of Marcus Arelius to see if the rain would stop soon. It actually started raining even harder. Some of us jumped and screamed when the thunder crackled. Eventually the rain let up a little and we were able to head over to the Pantheon. On our way, we passed the Egyptian obelisk. It was tall and made of marble with a pointy iron structure on the very top. We also stopped by the Temple for what we believe to be for the deified Hadrian. Here we were able to see where the ground would have been during ancient times. It was still drizzling during this time, but we were pushing through!
We finally arrived at the Pantheon. Nick and Geneva helped us to learn a bit about the structure. The Pantheon is made of Roman concrete, which is the best type of concrete. We know what Roman concrete is made of, but we don’t know the ratios for the ingredients. Darn :(. The original structure would have had steps leading up to the it, but in present day the entrance is at modern ground level. The Pantheon burned down 3 times and was rebuilt, however the dome ceiling is completely original. It was beautiful inside with slippery marble floors and painted columns. There were various tombs placed all around. Since the dome ceiling was open we were able to see the drops of rain falling into the Pantheon. Dr. Goldman then showed us how to get to various food places and we were free to roam around Rome for the rest of the day where some of us decided to explore the Catacombs and the Vatican.