Sunday, 13 April 2008

Surrounded by history

I can't remember if I mentioned that I moved room in February. My new room is on the 3rd floor and is on the inside of the house, overlooking the garden, looking towards the Quirinal Hill. It is quieter than the other room and so I am getting better sleep than before - Deo gratias.

This building was given to the Americans by Pope Pius IX because he wanted them to be closer to him at his palace on the Quirinal. We are at the foot of that hill, not far from the entrance to Trajan's Forum. There must be a wealth of archaeology beneath this site and even in the garden there are remnants of ancient pillars and other assorted masonry. Everywhere in Rome there is evidence of this marvellously alive city's history amidst the teeming of tourists, pilgrims, Italians and varieties of immigrants. For example, on the ides of March some of us passed the statue of Julius Caesar on the way to a Station Church and noticed that some flowers had been placed there by some admirer to commemmorate the anniversary of his assassination. That event was seen by the perpetrators as the only way to secure liberty (or their own interests); it became the means ultimately of ushering in exactly what they had tried to prevent - an on-going royal/imperial style of government.

1 comment:

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

The Greeks are ever with us aren't they? The one lesson I picked up when reading the Oresteia was that everything we do in life to try to prevent tragedy will inevitably bring it about. In the years since then, despite my belief that pagan fatalism was erroneous, it seems to come more true.