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A Roman Forum Historical Site: "The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken"

A Roman Forum Historical Site: "The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken"

Old Mar 27th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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A Roman Forum Historical Site: "The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken"

7yrs ago I was so excited to find this site in the Roman Forum. Standing on the entrance ramp peering thru binoculars for 15min at a floor, searching, until I found them.
But today the section is reopened and you don't have to be a binocular searching geek, you can just walk right up and see it!
And it is (drumroll!!!) green stains on a marble floor! Please try and contain your excitement . But how they got there is the interesting part. Regards, Walter

"My voice sticks in my throat and as I dictate, sobs choke my utterance. The City which had taken the whole world was itself taken. Nay more famine was beforehand with the sword and but few citizens were left to be made captives. In their frenzy the starving people had recourse to hideous food and tore each other limb from limb that they might have flesh to eat. Even the mother did not spare the babe at her breast." St. Jerome 412AD

Rome has been declining for decades, it's vast far reaching Empire is just a memory and what is left is basically split in two between the East and West.

But on August 24, 410AD it receives a mortal wound from which it will never recover. And 66 yrs later (476AD) the 'Dark Ages' begin.

 Many historians say, that what happened on that August day in 410 marked the Fall of the Western Roman Empire.  And there are small pieces of physical evidence that you can see, an historical 'timestamp' so to speak of this event that caused the Fall of this once great Empire.

 But let's start with what happen on August 24, 410AD:
King Alaric and his Visigoths have besieged Rome for ~18 months. His army is encamped at the present day Villa Borghese Park when someone opened the Salaria Gate (now called the Porta Pinciana at the end of the Via Veneto). The gate was possibily opened by slaves who were spies for Alaric or by servants of a noblewoman, perhaps to end the seige or for a reward?
It has been almost 800yrs since the City Walls were breached by a foreign invader but this won't be the last time.

 The 3 day sacking of Rome has begun. The Visigoths are also Christians like the Romans so as far as sackings go, there have been alot worst in history. Loot is what they are most interested in rather than wholesale murder and rape. But they will put some bldgs in Rome to the torch, including this Basilica.

 Look at this photo
http://wings.buffalo.edu/AandL/Maece.../ac822606.html See the wall on the left and a doorway. This Basilica was connected to shops on the otherside of this wall and there were 3 doorways into the Basilica, 1 in the middle that you see and 1 at each end.

These shops were on 2 stories and part of the 2 storied Porticus of Gaius and Lucius. The shops, the porticus and the basilica were all part of the same bldg.
 These shops were high-end in a *prime location* and used by the Money-changers who were just like modern day bankers. So of course they have money handy! Gold and silver coins, jewelry plus other less precious metal coins.  

 Today, on the floor of this Basilica at this end there are small coin-sized circular green stains (like the green you sometimes see on brass or copper) in the marble floor.
 Now this end of the Basilica was never rebuilt after the 410 fire, the other end and the porticus was built over with structures.

During the Renaissance this end was excavated for the plundering of bldg materials. And pre-410AD coins were found on the floor.
There is also evidence of fused coins at the opposite end of the Basilica.

So coins *are* on the floor when the Basilica is torched. The burning wooden roof over the central nave collapses onto the floor. The intense heat causes an oxidation process and some of the coins stain or semi-fuse into the floor.
 But how did these coins get there?
 How about an educated guess .
  August 24, 410AD the gate is opened and the Visigoths come storming into the city. The whole area around here (Roman Forum, the other Forums, the Palatine & Capitoline Hill, hi-end shops all over the place, rich and important people, etc) is where the bulk of the money is.
 Where would you be heading if you were a Visigoth ?

 The Bankers hear people screaming and see them running in terror, shortly there after followed by barbarians storming into the Forum.
They grab their money planning on escaping by running thru the doors and then thru the Basilica. But they are caught there and robbed. In the fear and confusion some coins are dropped perhaps some resisted and were beaten or killed (I said the Visigoths were Christians, not Saints ). And perhaps other Romans ran in the Basilica for safety and were robbed of their money pouches.
 Because there is evidence of coins also at the opposite end of the Basilica, these coins were not dropped by just one person.
The few scattered coins are just left there, perhaps because people have other things on their mind during a Barbarian Invasion and picking-up some pocket change isn't likely one of them .

The Basilica is put to the torch and the burning wooden roof collapses on top of them.

Ok look at the photo again. This is taken from the ramp leading into the Forum from the Via d. Fori Imperiali Roman Forum entrance.
See the 4 column stumps (left to right 1 2 3 4) well ~1.5m (~5ft) past stump #2 there is a group of circular green stains. But you can't see them from here unless you have binoculars which is how I found them 7 yrs ago plus Ed's twenj.com had a photo showing their general location (sadly his site is off-line).
 The good news is the scaffolding that once covered this ramp is gone and now you can access the corner of the Basilica just to the left of column stump #1.
  So walk down into that corner by stump #1 and look to the left of that #2 column stump (1.5m/5ft) and with the naked eye you can see a group of 6 circular bright green large coin-sized stains.   More detailed: Look a #2 stump, now move your eyes to the left, the marble is busted-up in this area but you will see a small black section and to the left of that are the coin stains and to the left of that is sand that covers a large section of the floor. Think of this: Coins :::, Black Section z, Marble Floor xxx, Column Stump #2 o, Ramp || :::zxxxo||

There are others in this area and some are just partials but you need binoculars to find them.
ParadiseLost is offline  
Old Mar 27th, 2005, 04:58 PM
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thank you Walter
Your research on Italian culture and history is always so valuable.
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Old Mar 27th, 2005, 05:02 PM
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Opps! I forgot to mention the site's name . It's usually called the 'Basilica Aemilia' but is aka the 'Basilica Paulli', 'Basilica Fulvia-Aemilia' and the 'Basilica Emilia'. Regards, Walter
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 05:16 AM
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Walter -

Thank you for the history lesson on Rome. I printed out this thread and put it in my Italy file, for future travels.

And thank you, not just for this thread, but for the many others that you have taken the time to post. Whenever I see the name ParadiseLost, I know I will probably learn something new today. Thank you for the knowledge. Peace

Robyn >-
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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 06:29 AM
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Thanks, Pl, for a very interesting lesson.

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Old Mar 28th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Walter, thank you for the history lesson. If I ever make it back to Rome I will try to find this spot. Had a lot of fun following your directions in the agora in Athens.

Did anybody find Waldo?
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