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Treasure Hunt in the Roman Forum

8th April 2014

On Tuesday 25th March, Year 3 and Year 4 toured the Roman Forum in the heart of Rome. This is an account of the visit in their own words. 

Year 3 and Year 4 went on a treasure hunt in the Roman Forum organised by Safari d'Arte.  Our guide, Luigi, was excellent.  When we arrived there were two immense lion statues to greet us at the entrance to Piazza del Campidoglio.  The ancient lion statues were made of black Egyptian marble.   Luigi told us that when there was a new Pope a type of Roman wine called Bacco would come out of the lion's mouth.

The next statue we saw was of Marcus Aurelius riding his horse.  This fascinating statue was made of bronze but was a replica.  The real statue is in the Capitoline museum.   Sometimes the Romans would melt down bronze statues and make them into coins but they didn't melt this one because they thought it was Constantine, the emperor who brought Christianity to Rome.

Afterwards we admired a lovely fresco that depicted the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  We had to find the dove which represented the Holy Spirit.  The Ancient Romans made frescos by painting on wet plaster so that when the plaster dried the paint had sunk into the plaster and become part of the wall itself.

After we saw the fresco we had to find the She-wolf, the symbol of Rome.  The She-wolf was on top of a column and was suckling Romulus and Remus.  Romulus and Remus argued as to where they should build the city.  Romulus stood on the Palatine hill and Remus stood on the Aventine hill.  Whoever saw the most birds would win and then build his city on his hill but they both thought they saw the most birds so Romulus killed his brother Remus and founded the city of Rome on the Palatine hill.

The next thing we saw was a church decorated with bees.  The bees were the Barberini family symbol.  The Barberini family appreciated the bees because they made honey, worked together, worked hard and pollinated the flowers.  The church was built in the 16th century.

Later on we saw a carving of a bull's skull on one of the columns of Basilica Emilia.  A basilica is a covered place where public events such as trials were held.

On a magnificent temple that was later converted into a church we saw eight griffins.  In various legends griffins were said to protect the Roman Gods' treasures.  Griffins were half eagle and half lion.

Last but not least was the Arch of Titus.    It was built to celebrate Emperor Titus conquering Jerusalem in 70AD. On the arch we saw carvings of warriors, slaves and the Menorah (a seven branched candleholder which is a traditional symbol of Judaism).  We saw the Emperor Titus holding an eagle.  It is said that when he died the eagle took him to heaven.  

We had a wonderful time and highly recommend going to the Roman Forum.

This report was put together using contributions from Year 4 students.

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