The Pantheon, such a cool experience!
Good question, Andy! Well, on our visit to the Pantheon, we got to meet Susan Ashley who explained the significance of the Pantheon’s design. We noticed that inside the Pantheon, there are seven niches in the walls: three round and three rectangular. In the dome, there are five rows of squares with twenty eight layers in each. The general theme of the Pantheon’s design is circles and squares, and the dome is actually a perfect circle. The Roman view of the cosmos is also a circle. The five planets recognized by the Romans were Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn, which are represented in the five rows of squares in the dome. The moon and the sun added to the planets makes seven, which are represented by the seven niches in the walls. The twenty eight layers in the dome represent the days of a luner month. Lastly, the dome itself represents heaven.
We learned all of this in just one trip, amazing!
Yeah, that was such a cool experience!!!!
I also liked how she explained the origins of the word “porta” … Door
Katie, that is so cool. Glad you are having a great time and learning so much!
A sketch from Castel Sant’Angelo
Some of the ruins at Ostia Antica
The first cooking group learning how to buy things from the open air market
Our day at the Forum
Our day in Florence
Prompt: Are you any different from a typical tourist who visits Rome? What makes you a student?
I think that we are different from the typical tourist because this is a “study abroad” and not a vacation. On vacation, the point is just to relax, see some cool stuff, maybe learn a few things, take some pictures, and escape for a while from your regular environment. I feel that a study abroad program is very different from a vacation. As part of a study abroad program, a student has the opportunity to experience history first hand, learn about the lives of people in the past, and how different events led our world to where it is now. The most important aspect of a study abroad, as well as the difference between that and a vacation, is the process of reflection. As students, we get to experience and learn about the history of places and then take the time to think and write about what we’ve learned. Reflecting also allows us to make connections with the past to our lives today and appreciate how far we’ve come.
Reflection on the Basilica of San Clemente:
When we first walked into San Clemente I was struck by the ceiling because of its elaborate design. I heard that it was an early Christian church but I wasn’t sure what that meant or what to expect. We went downstairs and saw many rooms that were all made of stone. When we went down to the first level, we learned that it had been an open air market with shops. I thought that was really interesting because with the stratification you couldn’t tell that that level was ever open. Next we learned that the second level was built so the Christians could have a place to worship. I personally found this concept very interesting because the whole church is now a sort of timeline. The bottom floor was built as a market with shops that served a specific purpose. Then, when people started establishing religions, the church was built on top to fill that specific need. On the middle floor there were pieces of artwork, one of which depicted a very early cartoon-like picture in early vulgar language. Also on the middle floor were two tombs in the ground. I think there were actually priests that were buried there. Behind the two graves at the back of the room was a large alter. I sketched the alter from the position of where the priest would stand looking out because it gave me an interesting look into what it was like to practice religion there. Going back up to the top floor with the church I was really amazed and impressed by the artwork and how the church was decorated. It was really beautiful and one of my favorite places we’ve been so far.
Reflection at Saint Peter’s Basilica:
I’m sitting here in front of an alter with just a few people. Not really praying, just sitting and feeling. All of a sudden, as older white couple came and sat down slowly together in a pew in front of me. The woman kneeled and started to pray. I looked to my left and saw an Indian man praying with his arms outstretched. In front of him was a monk in his robes, kneeling and praying with his head resting on his hands. No one is speaking out loud. Everyone is either kneeling with their head bowed or sitting with their eyes lifted and fixed on the alter. At this moment, I felt tears come to my eyes. Seeing others practice their religion made me reflect on my own faith. Although I attended Catholic school my whole life, I don’t go to church very often. When I do, it always feels like coming home. To me, religion is a beautiful thing. It can provide such powerful hope and strength in a person’s life, like that light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how dark your days are, no one can take away your faith. I’ve seen and felt how God works in my life. It’s something that I can’t explain, but something that I know in my heart is real. Being in a church always brings an emotional reaction for me, and this one is no different. This place feels very special, where differences between people don’t matter, only faith.
I too love St. Clement. For one thing, it shows us literally how Christianity “build upon” the Roman religions, both physically (erecting a 3rd century church on top of the shrine to Mithra (the god of Sun) who feast day was December 25th when the sun “returned” (equinox). So the Christians made that day the B-day of Jesus!
Lovely notes and photos!
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