Monday, August 8, 2011

Timeless weather

On my trip to Rome, I was initially disgusted when the only time it rained on the trip was the time when we were supposed to go to the Roman Forum (il Foro Romano), the center of government and public life in both Republican and Imperial Rome.   My tour group ended up huddled under an arch of the Colosseum (il Colosseo, aka the Flavian Amphitheater) for about a half hour waiting for the thunderstorm to end.  All this time I had notyhing to look at except the Arch of Constantine (Arco di Constantino).  i thought there was no point in taking pictures of it.  And it would have threatened to get water al over my camera lens anyway.

Except ... well, just look at these pictures I took after the storm had lightened up and I had second thoughts:

The Arch of Constantine was dedicated in 315 AD, to celebrate his defeat of Maxentius in 312 at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.  It is the only Roman triumphal arch celebrating the defeat of another Roman.  it is also the only such arch to use parts taken (stolen) from earlier buildings.

That said, it's a nice piece of work for the first Christian emperor.  But do you notice anything?

The rain.  You're used to seeing pictures of these monuments in the sun.  Perfect photography weather.  You rarely see them in inclement weather -- rain, snow or even clouds.

Rain.  The Arch of Constantine is almost 1700 years old.  The inconvenient storm did make me stop and think: how many rain storms has the Arch of Constantine endured? In 1700 years, how many storms has the arch survived?

Rain comes and goes.  People come and go.  Countries, nations, empires come and go.  But the Arch of Constantine is still there.

The age, the timelessness of this monument to ancient Rome struck me then and there, all because of an inconvenient thunderstorm.

For comparison, here's a pic I took shortly thereafter of the retreating storm clouds over the Colosseum.

The Colosseum was started by the Emperor Vespasian and completed by his son Emperor Titus (from both of whom the Colosseum derives its official name Flavian Amphitheater) in about 80 AD.  It's more than 1900 years old.

Rain comes and goes.  People come and go.  Countries, nations, empires come and go.  But the Colosseum stays.  Oh, sure, it's battered, it's bruised, it's gutted, but it's still there.

How many rainstorms has it survived?

Amazing.  Remarkable.  Incredible.  A blessing.

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