- Tourists will now be able to explore more of the Colosseum after extensive restoration work in the underground passages.
- It is planned that this new area can also be used for other events.
- Emperor Nero will get a new story with an exhibition about his life.
ROME (AP) – After two and a half years of work to shore up the Colosseum underground passages, tourists will be able to go down and walk through part of what was the “backstage” of the old stadium. Italy’s culture minister formally announced the completion of work to restore the underground section on Friday in the presence of the founder of Tod’s, the shoe and luxury goods manufacturer, who paid the bill.
During the centuries when spectators flocked to the Colosseum to watch shows packed with gladiators and wild animals, the audience was banned from venturing below stage level. The prohibition lasted from AD 80, when the amphitheater was inaugurated, until the last show in 523. Dozens of mobile platforms and wooden elevators were used in ancient times to bring vivid decorations to the stage, as well as artists and animals for dramatic appearances.
The Colosseum is renewed
Colosseum director Alfonsina Russo said tourists will be able to walk down a 160-meter (530-foot) long walkway to see some of the original 15 corridors that surrounded the underground levels. Restoration work by teams of engineers, surveyors, laborers, architects, and archaeologists was disrupted during part of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tod’s founder Diego Della Valle responded several years ago to a call from the Italian government for private sector funding for restoration projects in light of the country’s inability to raise the cash needed to care for its immense art and archaeological treasures. . Della Valle also paid for a multi-million dollar cleanup of the Colosseum, a monumental project that removed decades of soot and grime that made the amphitheater look dull and gloomy. Last month, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini detailed a project to build a lightweight stage within the area so that visitors can admire the ancient monument from a central vantage point. The stage will be retractable. The original arena had a stage, but it was removed in the 19th century for archaeological exploration of the underground level. The new stage will also allow the holding of cultural events that, according to the minister, would be respectful of the Colosseum as a symbol of Italy.
Bad reputation: British Museum gives Nero a new look
LONDON (AP) – The British Museum’s new exhibit on the Roman Emperor Nero opens with fake news from the ancient world. Visitors are greeted with a picture of Peter Ustinov as Nero in the movie “Quo Vadis” strumming a lyre, a famous image of the cruel tyrant who notoriously fiddled while Rome burned.
However, the exhibition says, that tale is a myth. As such, it is a fitting introduction to an emperor whose story was written largely by enemies after his death, creating what curator Francesca Bologna calls “the Nero we love to hate.” “Our goal here is to show that this image, as popular as it is, is actually based on very, very skewed narratives and therefore we must challenge it,” Bologna said Monday during a preview.
“The Nero story is about how we should approach information, how we should always approach our sources critically. This is relevant to Nero, it is relevant to historians, archaeologists, it is relevant to ordinary people who live their daily lives ”. “Nero: The Man Behind the Myth” opens to the public Thursday, six months later than originally planned as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The exhibition, which runs until October 24, comes a week after UK closure restrictions were lifted and London museums were allowed to reopen with limited capacity.
“Nero: The Man Behind the Myth” opens to the public Thursday, six months later than originally planned due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show, which runs through October 24, comes a week after UK closure restrictions were lifted and London museums were allowed to reopen with limited capacity. It is based on the vast trove of Roman artifacts in the British Museum, as well as objects from collections in Italy, France, Germany and other countries, on loan despite pandemic-related restrictions.
Problems in the mandate
“Everyone in Europe and the UK came to our rescue,” Bologna said. “They were really understanding. They helped us throughout the entire process. Even the colleagues who were locked up working from home were amazing. ” Through more than 200 artifacts including statues, helmets, weapons, jewelry, and ancient graffiti, a young ruler with a strong imperial line is presented; Nero was the great-great-grandson of the first emperor of Rome, Augustus.
In 54 AD, at age 16, he became emperor of a Rome that was unrivaled in power but plagued with problems, including war with the Iran-based Parthian empire in the east and an uprising. led by the Celtic queen Boudica in the newly conquered Great Britain in the west. A vivid section deals with the harsh reality of life in Roman Britain: there are lead ingots mined in Wales, along with thick chains from the slaves who did the hard work.
There is also a bronze head of Nero found in an English river after his statue was toppled during the uprising, and a family hoard of coins and jewelry, hidden for safekeeping during the violence and discovered in 2014 under a shop floor. in the city of Colchester, in the east in England. The evidence suggests that Nero was popular during his reign. He oversaw large public projects, strengthened the links between the city and its port to ensure food supplies, built a public market and a spectacular set of public baths.
He sponsored lavish gladiator shows, lion fights and chariot races. He even competed in the races of the Circus Maximus in Rome and was the first emperor to perform on stage. The young emperor was also a style leader, popularizing a boy band haircut that the exhibition calls “gallant but refined.”
He did not start the fire that swept through parts of Rome in AD 64, nor did he play the violin while it burned. It wasn’t even there at the time. Later, Nero rebuilt the city, introduced stricter building codes, and a luxurious palace, the Domus Aurea or Golden House, was also built. Little remains of her, but the exhibition offers a taste of her opulence. Hounded by conspirators, Nero committed suicide at age 30. His death unleashed a period of civil war and then a new ruling dynasty.
Like politicians throughout the centuries, the new rulers blamed their predecessor for Rome’s troubles. Almost 2,000 years later, Nero is still a metaphor for bad government. As classicist Mary Beard recently wrote in the Daily Telegraph, “There is hardly a political cartoonist who does not occasionally disguise a modern leader in a robe, laurel wreath and lyre, against the backdrop of smoking ruins, to make clear that he is not taking some contemporary crisis seriously. ” Nero’s rule was undeniably brutal: he had his mother killed, along with one and possibly two of his wives. But was he more violent than other Roman rulers? “Not really,” Bologna said. “Each and every one of the emperors had people convicted and executed. Even Augustus, who is the epitome of the good emperor, came to power in a really bloody way. ”
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