ROME This city rivals Jerusalem as the recycled holy center of antiquity.
A municipality of monuments to the past and promises for the future, Rome traces its legendary history to 753 B.C. Religion, including emperor worship, played a key role in the city's development.
Today, the city encompasses a separate domain called The Vatican, home of the Roman Catholic Church, second only to Jerusalem as a holy city for Christians.
At the pinnacle of its power, the Romans celebrated their triumphs with victory marches and enormous arched gates carved with the story of the conquest. Emperor Constantine's arch is just outside the Colosseum.
About the fourth century B.C., the Servian Walls were built for security. Rome's prosperity grew quickly, along with conquest of a steadily growing area.
As a result, "the look of the city also changed, thanks to construction of new public buildings in marble and travertine, including the great basilicas of the Forum, temples, patrician palaces and villas..." according to "Art and History Rome and the Vatican," a publication created and designed by Casa Editrice Bonechi.
The marble facade of Rome's Colosseum was reused for churches, and the metal in the walls was extracted for making weapons, thus the holes that dot the building's exterior.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY BETH PRATT AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
An article in the March/April issue of Biblical Archaeology Review about the building of Herod's temple in Jerusalem quotes Roman historian Suetonius:
"He (Augustus Caesar) found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble."
Caesar, in first century B.C., enlarged the Roman Forum, creating the nucleus of what was to become the Imperial Forums. His successors followed his lead with huge construction programs.
Then the Emperor Nero's infamous fire in A.D. 64, and another fire in 80 A.D. gave opportunity for rebuilding the city in the image of imperial ideology, according to the Jubilee Edition of "Art and History."
"Ancient Rome achieved its maximum expansion in the second century (A.D.), when it was divided into 14 districts and counted more than one million inhabitants," say the historians.
A major remodel of St. John Lateran Church in 1650 reused sculptures from Medieval and Renaissance tombs to decorate the four aisles of the church.PHOTO PROVIDED BY BETH PRATT AVALANCHE-JOURNAL
With the threat of invasion present, Emperor Aurelian (A.D. 250-275), built another, larger defensive circle around the city, more powerful than the walls constructed six centuries earlier.
A period of decadence followed, leading to fewer residents and suspension of monument building and maintenance.
A new force, Christianity, came into play and was to "radically change the face of the city," according to "Art and History."
Under the rule of Emperor Constantine, Christianity became the official religion. Constantine began the process that turned Rome into a city of marbled churches.
"The first sign of change was the construction of what are known as the Constantinian basilicas" as places of worship.
| From the Vatican|
Exhibit: "Medieval Frescoes from the Vatican Museums Collection."
When: June 2-Sept. 15.
Where: Museum of Texas Tech, Fourth Street and Indiana Avenue.
Museum hours: 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Sundays, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays and Fridays-Saturdays, and 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Thursdays. Closed Mondays.
Tickets: Free. However, tickets must be reserved in advance by calling 742-6800 or toll free (866) 803-6873. Those reserving tickets must know the date and time of day that they want to attend. Approximately 200 ticket-holders will be admitted each hour.
More information: vaticanexhibit.com.
This is where the recycling really gained momentum as the city's monuments were stripped of marble to furnish the new churches. Some churches, such as San Nicola in Carcere (St. Nicholas in Prison Church), were built upon Roman temple foundations.
Some of the 31 "Medieval Frescoes from the Vatican Museums Collection" that will be exhibited June 2-Sept. 15 at the Museum of Texas Tech come from St. Nicolas.
"Art and History" terms the church "emblematic of the history of ... Rome itself, in which almost every monument is the result of the superposition of different eras and styles."
Columns and capitals inside St. Nicholas do not match, showing that they were taken from earlier buildings. The church's "medieval walls enclose the remains of three Republican-era temples of the Forum Holitorium, rebuilt in the first century A.D."
In A.D. 312-315, the basilica of St. John was built on the property of the Laterani family.
St. John Lateran was the cathedral of Rome, the center of papal power, throughout the Middle Ages. It's foundation is about 14 years older than that of St. Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican.
According to a tour guide, the marble for St. John Lateran Church came from the Colosseum.