Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Romulus and Remus Cave Discovered Again

photos by marguerita (my sons in Rome )

Juvenal's famous phrase, panem et circenses
(“bread and circuses”) has become proverbial to describe those who give away significant rights in exchange for material pleasures.
Juvenal was themost powerful of all Roman satiric poets.

We think Juvenal's full name was Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis. He may have come from near Monte Cassino. His father may have been a rich freedman and rhetorician. This deduction is based on the lack of a dedication in Juvenal's satires. Since Juvenal didn't dedicate his work, he probably didn't have a patron, and so may have been independently wealthy. We don't know Juvenal's birth or death date. Even the period at which he flourished is debatable. It is possible he outlived Hadrian. What is clear is that he endured the reign of Domitian and was still alive under Hadrian.

Juvenal wrote 16 satires -- the last unfinished -- varying in length from (xvi) 60 lines to (vi) 660. Topics, as stated in the opening programmatic satire, include all aspects of real life, past and present. In reality, the topics center on all aspects of vice.Here one of his quotes:

Peace visits not the guilty mind.

(Nemo Malus Felix)

Last week, the nation was again able to take comfort in its edifying history. During archaeological digs on the Palatine -- a hill with a magnificent view of the Circus Maximus -- where the luxurious palaces and villas of the Caesars and affluent Roman citizens once stood, researchers discovered a richly decorated cavern.Directly under the palace of Augustus -- the first emperor of Rome (63 BC to 14 AD)

-- lies a chamber "16 meters below the surface," says Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome's La Sapienza University and the site's chief excavator.Then Carandini drops a bombshell. He says that he is "reasonably certain" that this vault is indeed the sanctuary referred to in ancient texts as the Lupercale, from the Latin for wolf. In other words, researchers have unearthed the nursery of Romulus and Remus, where the citizens of old Rome used to celebrate a bizarre annual ritual."This is one of the greatest discoveries ever made," said Carandini. The news unleashed a media storm. One of Italy's leading newspapers, La Repubblica , ran a two-page story rejoicing the discovery of the vault, proclaiming that the cradle of the heroes had been found. Germany's mass circulation Bild newspaper wrote that "one of the most famous myths of mankind" had been deciphered. Even the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung mused that the "navel of the world" had been finally found."Italy surprises the world time and again with archaeological discoveries," Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli proudly announced. "It is incredible that a myth has become a real place." Rutelli had invited an entire team of experts on antiquity to rubberstamp what Rome's top official for archaeology, Angelo Bottino, alleges to be the "find of the century."Impressive claims. But are they true?,5538,26650,00.html

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