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© Copyright 2018

Gianluca Pica
 


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BLOG OF A TOUR GUIDE IN ROME

14/11/2018, 20:10

#rome, #roma, #romeisus, #arco, #archeologia, #marmo, #ImperoRomano, #Foro,



ARCO-DEGLI-ARGENTARI


 A wonderful marble architrave, with fine reliefs, is a perfect example of the so called "damnatio memoriae". Moreover, some legends are related to this small beauty....



The "Arco degli Argentari" (Arch of the Silver Men"), is located next to the Church of San Giorgio al Velabro, not so far from the Circus Maximus. Although its name, this small monument is not an arch, in an architectonical way: if you see better you can understand how you are in front there is a marble architrave lean at the portico of this medieval church. Probably it was one of the entrances for the ancient area of the Foro Boario, the first important market of Rome. Imagine how, according to the traditions and archeologists, the Foro Boario was set when Rome was a village of sheperds, just after the foundation of the Eternal City. I’m talking about the VIII-VII century BC! And over the centuries this important market, set next to the river, was used mainly for animals like bovines or sheeps. This new entrance was donated, at the beginning of the III century AD, to the Emperor Settimio Severo by the "argentari" a sort of corporation made of merchants and businessmen, We could not consider them as bankers, but their main business turn around money, buildings and trades. First of all, getting i touch with this architrave, we will appreciate the details of the marble reliefs. But looking better we can see something strange: there are profiles of men, probably member of the royal family (Settimio Severo was the emperor, Geta and Caracalla his two boys). There’s a problem: one of the three profiles is completely erased. Why? It seems that somebody erased it, because he would like to to that! We are in front of a clear example of "damnatio memoriae".  The tranlsation is "cancellation of your memory". When somebody was officially declared the enemy of Rome, of the institutions and of the Roman community (for example traitors), they must be simply cancelled by Rome, also in an artistic way. All the statues, busts, works of art or buildings related to the man who had this special punishment must be destroyed or buried by other things. And probably, in this case, we can see the "damnatio memoriae" made for Geta. For Caracalla, the youngest child who became emperor, his brother Geta tried to betray the father, taking the throne before his time. Probably it was not true, but keep in mind how the ancient Roman politics could be brutal and unscrupolous... But there’s something more! Over the centuries the "Arco degli Argentari" became the main location for some strange legends. It seems that this marble masterpiece is a sort of special gate between our world and a dark world, the Hell. According to other versions, the "Arco degli Argentari" should hide a secret passage that will lead us to a treasure... and it seems that centuries ago a man, who hold a special and esoteric book, was able to find this secret entrance, disappearing forever... #romeisus #Rome #Roma #arch #marble #archeology #unaguidaturisticaroma #atourguiderome


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