Pergamon: the sanctuary of Athena

The sanctuary of Athena, Pergamon © David Gill

The sanctuary of Athena is located on a terrace immediately above the theatre on the acropolis at Pergamon. The temple of Athena, built in Doric order, was placed on the western edge for dramatic affect.

The propylon of the sanctuary of Athena Nikephoros, Pergamon (now in Berlin) © David Gill

The entrance to the sanctuary was through a two-storeyed propylon, now reconstructed in Berlin. The inscription shows that it was constructed by King Eumenes II to Athena Nikephoros (who had brought victories over the Galatians, among others). Trophies from the victories are shown in relief on the propylon.

The propylon of the sanctuary of Athena Nikephoros, Pergamon (now in Berlin) © David Gill
The Dying Gaul, Museo Capitolino, Rome © David Gill

The temenos displayed a number of sculptures celebrating these victories. Among them was probably the original of the ‘trumpeter’ (better known as The Dying Gaul) now in Rome.

The full effect of the sanctuary has been lost on site but it can be reconstructed in our imagination through the architectural reconstructions in Berlin as well as the copies of some of victory monuments from the sanctuary itself.

Damnatio Memoriae: The Arch of Septimius Severus

The Arch of Septimius Severus © David Gill

The Arch of Septimius Severus stands at the west end of the Roman forum. The inscriptions that appears on both sides of the arch remind us of how individuals can be erased from history. The original text would have been in bronze letters attached to the marble.

The inscription refers to the emperor Septimius Severus (in line 1) and his son Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla) in line 3. The titles of Severus as well as his son allow the inscription to be dated to AD 203.

The Arch of Septimius Severus © David Gill
The Arch of Septimius Severus © David Gill
The Arch of Septimius Severus © David Gill

The fourth line currently reads: Optimis Fortissimisque Principibus (‘excellent and strongest princes’). The holes on line 4 show that the inscription originally read (Claridge): P. Septimio L. fil. Getae Nobiliss(imo) Caesari. Line 4 was preceded at the end of line 3 with et (as line 3 is preceded by an et at the end of line 2).

The arch was originally dedicated to Septimius Severus, Caracalla (M. Aurelius Antoninus) as Augustus and P. Septimius Geta as Caesar. In AD 211 Geta was murdered by his brother Caracalla: and Caracalla then proceeded to erase the memory of Geta from public monuments.

Rome: The Hadrianeum

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Relief probably from the Hadrianeum (Capitoline Museum) © David Gill

The Hadrianeum in Rome lay in the Campus Martius on the west side of the Via Lata, to the south of the Ara Pacis. Parts of the temple can be seen along one side of the Piazza di Pietra. Eleven Corinthian columns, made of Proconnesian marble, as well as the north side of the cella are incorporated into the Borsa.

There is no epigraphic evidence to confirm the identity of the temple although Antoninus Pius dedicated one to him in this area in AD 145; this is the most likely interpretation for this structure.

A series of 24 reliefs cut from Proconnesian marble have been associated with the temple. They were probably incorporated on the cella. The figure shown here, holding a vexillum, probably represents the province of Mauretania. The relief showing shields and an axe probably represent trophies.

For more of the reliefs, including those in Naples, see Following Hadrian.

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The Hadrianeum, Rome © David Gill

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Relief from the Hadrianeum, Rome (Capitoline Museum) © David Gill

Guidebooks by P.K. Baillie Reynolds

Thornton_EH
1951 (2012 reprint)

Paul Kenneth Baillie Reynolds (1896–1973) wrote a number of guidebooks for monuments in state guardianship.

Thetford_MPBW
1956 (repr. 1970)

Baillie Reynolds was educated a Winchester College, and Hertford College, Oxford. His studies were interrupted by service in the Royal Field Artillery (1915–19) when he served in the 4th West Riding (Howitzer) Brigade. On completion of his studies he became a Pelham Student at the British School at Rome (1921–23). He published Thomas Ashby’s notes on the Castra Peregrinorum as well as a study of the troops based there in the Journal of Roman Studies (1923). In 1923 he was made an award by the Craven Fund to continue his research at the British School at Rome; the other awards were made to William A. Heurtley of Oriel College, and C.A. Ralegh Radford of Exeter College.

In 1924 he was appointed Assistant Master, Winchester College, and later the same year Lecturer in Ancient History, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (1924–34) where the principal from 1927 to 1934 was (Sir) Henry Stuart-Jones, a former director of the British School at Rome. Baillie Reynolds published The Vigiles of Imperial Rome (Oxford University Press, 1926). From 1926–29 he directed the excavation of the Roman auxiliary fort at Caerhun (Canovium) to the south of Conwy in north Wales; the final report was published by him in 1938. In 1931 he was responsible for excavating the north gate, and in 1932 the west gate of Verulamium as part of the wider project directed by (Sir) Mortimer and Tessa Wheeler. He was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (1929).

In 1934 he was appointed Inspector of Ancient Monuments for England, Ministry of Works. In 1936 in his capacity as Inspector he supported the proposal to preserve the remains of the Jewry Wall in Leicester that had been excavated by Kathleen Kenyon. In 1935 he was elected to the Council for the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, serving alongside Ralegh Radford.  In 1947 he was one of the people who helped to acquire the Roman site of Wall from the National Trust.

Baillie Reynolds joined the Royal Field Artillery (TA) (1927–39) while he was in Aberystwyth, and during the Second World War served as a Major in the Royal Artillery (1939–45).

In 1954 he became Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Ministry of Works (1954–1961) replacing B.H. St John O’Neil; A.J. Taylor was appointed Assistant Chief Inspector. One of his projects was the intervention at Corfe Castle in 1959 to stabilise the ruins. Another was the restoration of West Kennet Long Barrow and Wayland’s Smithy; he defended his decisions in The Daily Telegraph (28 July 1962) describing the work as ‘no more a “fake” than is the reconstructed Portland Vase’. In 1960 he advised on the restoration of the Claudian aqueduct that ran through the grounds of the British Embassy in Rome. He retired in 1961 and was succeeded by Taylor.

In 1963 he was elected President, Royal Archaeological Institute (1963–1966) succeeding Ralegh Radford. He was made OBE (1950) and CBE (1957). Baillie Reynolds died in 1973.

Obituary: The Times 25 August 1973.

Rome: The Arch of Claudius

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Inscription from the now lost Arch of Claudius, Rome © David Gill

Among the inscriptions in the collection of the Capitoline Museums is a fragmentary Latin inscription originally displayed on the arch of the emperor Claudius over the via Flaminia. This records the emperor’s conquest of Britain with the subjection of eleven [not on this fragment] kings of Britain (Reges Brit[annorum]). The number is based on a fragment found in 1562.

The main fragment was recovered in 1641. The original inscription would have been approximately 6 m wide. The arch is dated by the titles in this inscription to AD 51 or early 52.

A suggested translation by Barrett reads:

The Senate and People of Rome [dedicated this] to Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, son of Drusus, Pontifex Maximus, during his eleventh tenure of Tribunicia Potestas, Consul five times, hailed as Imperator twenty-two times, Censor, Pater Patriae, because he received into surrender eleven kings of the Britons, conquered without loss and he first brought the barbarian peoples across the Ocean under the authority of the Roman people.

  • Barrett, A. A. “Claudius’ British Victory Arch in Rome”. Britannia 22 (1991): 1–19 [JSTOR]

Rome, 1944

The British Army on Leave in Italy, June 1944
The British Army on Leave in Italy, June 1944 © IWM (TR 1960)

I was intrigued by this image of ‘Gunner Smith’ of the (British) Royal Artillery and a colleague taking leave in Rome in June 1944 (shortly after the city’s capture earlier that same month). The  photograph was taken by the official war photographer, Captain Tanner.

The Death of General Wolfe


Earlier this evening I attended a lecture by Loyd Grossman on Benjamin West’s painting ‘The Death of General Wolfe’ that hangs in Ickworth (see here). One of the points made was West’s knowledge of classical sculpture from his Grand Tour visit to Rome. Wolfe’s body evokes, to my eye, the Dying Gaul displayed in Rome. Note that a musket lies at Wolfe’s feet instead of the sword and trumpet on the base of the Dying Gaul.

Dying Gaul © David Gill
Dying Gaul © David Gill

Detail on the base of the Dying Gaul © David Gill
Detail on the base of the Dying Gaul © David Gill

Whose heritage?

Image
© David Gill

Standing at the west end of the Athenian akropolis the viewer is faced with a dilemma about the heritage. The main entrance to the akropolis was constructed in the third quarter of the fifth century BC as part of the Periklean building programme. But the Attalid dynasty from Pergamon (in modern Turkey) constructed a victory monument on the north side. This in turn was remodelled in the early Roman imperial period.

So this Hellenic monument can be linked to a range of modern nation states.