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Video transcript

[Music] I'm with dr. Bernie Frischer the creator of Rome reborn it's a beautiful day and we're flying low over the Tiber River this is Rome in the year 320 C II you see this big Plaza that's the so called Circus flaminius beyond which is a theatre the theater of Marcellus and to the left is the Capitoline Hill and now we're approaching a large stadium a place for sporting events this is the Circus Maximus used for the chariot races among other things it also was used for parades for example the triumphal parade it could seat up to we think 250 thousand people that was quite a big complex and there's an island in the middle around which the chariots would race you can see right in the middle of that the large obelisk this is one of the first to very call obelisk brought from Egypt to Rome by the first emperor Augustus it symbolized to the Egyptians and the Romans knew this a sunbeam and the Romans thought this was appropriate for the circus because the circus itself had a temple of the Sun God and this temple to the Sun is placed directly across from the Imperial box and just to the left of the stadium is the palace the great Imperial Palace at the end of the Circus Maximus is a triumphal arch we know that was dedicated to the emperor Titus and celebrated his victory over the province of Judea the reason that there's a triumphal arch of Titus here is that that parade known as a trample procession went through the Circus Maximus and all along the triumphal procession there were temples triumphal arches and other monuments and aligned with the arch of Titus we can see in the distance one of the great bath complexes of ancient Rome that's the baths of caracalla now we're looking at the sealian hill you can see the cloudy and aqueduct in the valley between the sealian hill and to our left the Palatine Hill you see a plume of smoke going up from the Imperial bath complex on the Palatine Hill to our right were passing by a great complex a garden in the middle of which is a temple and that's a temple to divine Claudius Claudius was made a god after his death and Nero incorporated this piece of land into the Golden House which covered 120 acres what I find so fascinating is that so much of the ancient architecture that I associate with Rome in the Coliseum district is really a reaction against Nero as a reaction against his excesses everywhere you look the selfishly expropriated public land under Nero is given back to the public and the public was very happy these are all public facilities so think of the Colosseum of beyond that we have some smoke coming out those are baths the Baths of Trajan to open to the public in front of that is a smaller bath complex the baths of titus we're now flying just over the arch of constantine which is another landmark that survives into the modern era yes another triumphal arch in front of that you see that cone that's the Metis UDON's a great fountain and to the right is the Flavian amphitheater also known as the Colosseum but you can see why it was called the Colosseum in the Middle Ages not in antiquity because of that enormous hundred foot tall bronze statue which is a statue of the Sun God now that was originally a statue of Nero after his death the station had the head taken off and had it converted to a statue of the Sun God we see just beyond the second arch of Titus in the city and just to the right of that the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine yes and these are all structures that remain and now we're just veering off to the left and at the top of the hill is the palace we're seeing it from the other side yeah this is the palace the top of the Palatine because the Emperor's lived up there the word Palace became synonymous with where a leader would live we're turning now away from the palace and looking over toward the Roman Forum which in the ancient era the Forum was a place for oratory it was a place for government in the Republic yes it was a place for meetings of the assembly as well as the Senate the Senate had its own building but the people would assemble in front of the speaker's roster are platform to listen to their leaders explain policy proposed laws and debate each other when they were running for public office we seemed to be flying just through the smoke of the Temple of Vesta the Temple of Vesta famous for its eternal flame and beyond that is the triple arch of Augustus that celebrates the restoration by the Parthian in modern-day Iran of military standards interestingly enough we're looking now at a rostro speaker's platform right ahead of us that's a late antique start dating to the end of the third century AD but we can see the original just a little further off yes book ending the forum Plaza the other end is another rust or the Augustine roster originally built by Julius Caesar and in between the rostra there's this beautiful equestrian sculpture this was actually the early 3rd century AD Emperor septimius severus and we know about the statue being there both archaeologically from the remains of the base but also from coins that Illustrated were surrounded by public buildings and by temples we can see over to the right to temple of castor and pollux straight ahead as a temple to divine julius caesar if you look closely you can see the cult statue inside we know about that from a coin that illustrates it Caesar was shown as an augur a priest up in the pediment of the temple you see a star it illustrates the comet that was seen in the sky over Rome in the summer after Caesars assassination were surrounded by columns and these were honorary columns yes there's in front of the law court known as the Basilica Julia and we know from plenty that to portray a human on top of a column was in effect to make him a God or make him godlike what we see now in front of us is one of the two tragic reliefs that interestingly enough in their backgrounds illustrates the Roman Forum as it appeared in a time of the Emperor's Trajan and Hadrian a lot of people are surprised to see that set up here on the Forum Plaza that's actually where they were found at the end of the 19th century but now they're in the Senate they were moved there in the 20th century to protect them from the elements when you go into the Senate to see them you don't see these Blues you don't see those yellows you don't see these greens almost all Roman sculpture was painted and this is one of the great breakthroughs of the last 10 years or so development of a number of non invasive techniques to detect color even little traces of pigment left on the surface of white marble now we're seeing the so-called statue of focus it's called the statue of focus because it was excavated at the beginning of a 19th century and they found an inscription to the Byzantine Emperor focus but we think that focuses inscription was added on top of an older inscription to the Tetrarch Diocletian and he is therefore the figure shown on top of the column we're now looking up the hill that leads to the Capitol line masking the hill is the tabularium of the state record us in the background in front of it are three temples to the left the temple of Saturn in the center the temple of a station and Titus worshipped as gods after their deaths and then to the right the temple of Concordia that celebrated the harmony between these social classes of Rome and then during the Empire its symbolized the harmony between the imperial family and the Roman Senate we're passing over the Augustine rostra now and just to the right is the arch of septimius severus he left a very big mark in the forum and his arch even today overshadows so much of the forum yes it's very well preserved let's move now to the Imperial fora as opposed to the Roman Forum these are fora that individual emperors built to honor their own rule for as the plural of forums of the Roman Forum in the Imperial fora starting from the time of Julius Caesar it was recognized that the old Roman Forum was too crowded if you were an emperor and you want to honor your favorite God or eventually after you died have a temple to yourself you needed to build a new public space where better to do that than adjacent to the old roman forum so julius caesar's forum which we're now over uses the backside of the senate as a part and parcel of this new forum you liam the forum of julius caesar which is dominate at the end of its main axis by the temple of venus kanna tricks his favorite goddess the other emperors followed suit so across the way as the forum of augustus dominated by the temple of his favorite God that God Mars the war god the temple is actually flanked by two Hemi cycles yes and in those Hemi cycles were niches with some of Rome's leading historic figures and also the Julian ancestors of Augustus going all the way back to Aeneas you can see other Imperial fora that are squeezed in especially the transitoria yeah the transitorium is also called the forum of nerva it's basically just a monumental ization of the argyll a tomb the street that runs next to the Senate House into the Roman Forum and then going in the other direction to the east up into the Saburo the slum a part of Rome filled with tenements were lots of people lived but if the transitorium is squeezed in you would never say that about the forum of Trajan now the last one of these Imperial fora is the forum of Trajan it's the biggest by far it's fairly well preserved at the end of it as the temple of the divine Trajan that was built after Trajan died but he actually started building this well he was still alive in front of the temple is the column of Trajan that celebrates his two victories over the Dacians the people in modern-day Romania and flanking the column are two libraries in front of the libraries in the column is a bigger building the Basilica Ulpia which probably served as a law court and had some other functions it was a big multi-purpose space just coming into view is one of the most famous extant Roman monuments the Pantheon now we're flying to the northern campus martius which was filled with funerary monuments temples whose three nights were Emperor's bodies were cremated columns like the column of Marcus Aurelius and the first Roman Emperor built his own mausoleum the Muslim of Augustus we can see this round structure at the northernmost part of the Campus Martius now we've just swung around so we've got a great view of the Pantheon we can really see the Pantheon we have this hypothetical arch said a lot of people think was in front of the Pantheon and to its left was the most prestigious shopping center of Rome the site de Yuliya and next to that is this great Egyptian temple of the goddess Isis you can see two obelisks so what we're seeing is a city that is filled with monuments to Roman rulers monuments that celebrate their achievements their military victory the wealth that they brought to the city yes but now as we turn and go back to the south and the southern part of the Campus Martius we see that these emperors were not only selfish but they created a lot of public facilities and built up their popularity that way so we've just been flying through the entertainment part of the city of Rome when you walk through Rome now this city that's so layered with history it's sometimes difficult to reconstruct in your mind how these ancient monuments fit together this recreation provides such rich detail it allows us to see the city literally as if we had traveled back to the fourth century the idea is to take all of the monographs and studies of the individual monuments and weave them together into something that gives us a synthetic view of the whole city in the past we've been able to study just the Pantheon or just the Roman Forum again it could take decades of your life now thanks to this new 3d technology within a very short amount of time even just a day I would really say the average person can know more about the ancient city than even a PhD in the field of Roman archaeology did five or ten short years ago you
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