Created with Sketch.
Get Ready for Rome
20 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
A War of Ideas in the Vatican Necropolis
Today we investigate two tombs under St. Peter's Basilica, one of a saint, the other of a sinner, or so at least the saint would say. But this sinner defends himself.
22 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
Augustus’s Transformation of the Roman Forum
We have already examined five of Augustus's major building project in Rome, but we have not yet considered how he changed the beating heart of Ancient Rome, the Forum. Today we do.
22 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
Mussolini's Celebrations of Empire
One way Mussolini tried to make Italians proud of their nation was by acquiring an empire in East Africa. After conquering Ethiopia, he brought an obelisk back to Rome and likened himself to the Ancient Romans. Today we review Mussolini and the monuments celebrating the imperial efforts of modern Italy.
23 minutes | May 25, 2021
A Visit to the Tombs Buried by St. Peter's Basilica
When Constantine built the first St. Peter’s Basilica, he buried a burial ground that was not excavated for over 1,500 years. It included tombs of both Pagans and Christians, perhaps including that of St. Peter himself. We visit it today.
20 minutes | May 18, 2021
Augustus and the Obelisks of Rome
Augustus and his imperial successors erected Egyptian obelisks in ancient Rome, and 13 of them are landmarks in the city today, though no one of them stands in its original location. Why were they so important for Augustus and his successors?
23 minutes | May 11, 2021
Mussolini’s Recasting of Garibaldi on the Janiculum Hill
1932 was the tenth anniversary of the Fascist March on Rome and the Fiftieth Anniversary of the death of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the most lionized leader of the movement to unite Italy under liberal political principles. As a major part of his attempt to associate his Fascist Blackshirts with Garibaldi’s patriotic Redshirts, Mussolini added a statue of Anita Garibaldi to the Janiculum Hill and hosted three days of celebrations as her mortal remains were interred in the base of her statue. But would Garibaldi really have thought the Fascists were good representatives of his principles?
10 minutes | May 6, 2021
Historical Vertigo in Rome
From week to week, my topics jump from Ancient Rome, to Christian Rome, to Modern Rome. This rapid leaping across the centuries may lead to a sort of "historical vertigo," so why don't I just march through Rome in chronological order?
25 minutes | May 4, 2021
Catacombs and Early Xian Art
Recent episodes have followed Bernini as a preliminary guide to the spirit of Christian Rome in the time of the Counterreformation, when the new St. Peter’s and the Galleria Borghese were built. But what about the earliest Christian Romans? Today we survey their burial places, the catacombs, to begin to learn how they understood the world and their duties in it.
24 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
Augustus, Antony, and Apollo’s Temple on the Palatine Hill
Augustus boasted that he turned Rome from brick to marble, and I think he did. But did he also turn it from a republic to an empire and, if so, did his architectural projects help? We consider his majestic Temple of Apollo on the Palatine Hill.
22 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
Mussolini and the Piazza of Augustus the Emperor
Mussolini wanted to identify Fascist Rome with Ancient Rome, but more than this, he wanted to associate himself with Augustus, the first and founding emperor of the imperial period. To see how he did this in architecture, we today visit the Piazza of Augustus the Emperor.
23 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Back to the Borghese, Bernini, and the Baroque
We return to the Galleria Borghese to consider the remaining two of Bernini’s four masterpieces, his Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanias, and his David. Both statues may represent the virtue of piety, one based on a Roman story and the other based on the Old Testament, though Bernini’s David looks well equipped to defeat Goliath even if he should fail to receive God’s support.
22 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
Augustus: The Man and His Forum
Today we visit the Forum of Augustus, the second of the five Imperial Forums of Ancient Rome. Apart from providing a general overview, I hope to show another case in which Augustus used art and architecture to advance his political ends.
20 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
Mussolini’s Gutting of Rome in Search of its “Romanness”
Mussolini represented a revolutionary change in Italian government, and he sought to transform the look of Rome as well. He did this partly by the structures added but also by what he stripped away. We consider today two of his main “eviscerations” of Rome, which added roads and made ancient monuments more visible but also displaced thousands of Romans.
24 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
Bernini Meets Ovid in the Villa Borghese
We visit the Galleria Borghese and focus on two sensual statues sculpted by Gianlorenzo Bernini, both based on stories told by the old Latin poet Ovid. Both were commissioned by the Borghese family which then also held the papacy and was helping to build the new St. Peter’s Basilica. How do Ovid and these two statues fit into the Catholic worldview that was then being expressed in the new basilica? Or don’t they?
10 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
Back to the Beginning: A Quick Review of My Goals
On this six-month anniversary of Get Ready for Rome, I review the goals of this podcast series. They are partly straightforward: to introduce Rome's main monuments, churches, and works of art. Beyond this, they are to show what might be gained from a study of Western Civilization rooted in Rome.
23 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
Augustus: The Man and His Mausoleum
Today we discuss the Mausoleum of Augustus, the huge and once-beautiful funeral monument Augustus built for himself and his family. As the Altar of Peace was an apt symbol of Augustus’s claim to have brought the blessings of peace to Rome, so the Mausoleum is a visual reminder that he became Rome’s first Emperor and passed that power down in the Julio-Claudian Dynasty.
8 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
Mazzini and the Power of Ideas
We saw that Mazzini believed that the spread of ideas was the first and most important step in starting the revolution he wanted to transform Italy. It is attractive to think that history moves by ideas, not mere force. But does it move by true ideas or, sometimes, merely meretricious ones? What does a society need to judge well the alternative ideas that are set before it?
25 minutes | Mar 9, 2021
Giuseppe Mazzini: The Man and His Monument
Giuseppe Mazzini prepared the soil for the unification and eventual democratization of Italy by forty years of high-level writing urging Italians and other Europeans to support these goals. Since he also furthered them by revolutionary activity, he lived his life in exile and had to have his powerful words smuggled into Italy. Even after Cavour, the King, and Garibaldi had transformed Piedmont into Italy, Mazzini continued to attack the new country as insufficiently democratic. Eventually, his contributions were recognized, and in this episode we visit his statue, which is perched above the Circus Maximus on the Aventine Hill.
20 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
Bernini, the Baroque, and the Borghese
Our subject is the Villa Borghese, a sprawling park on the north side of Rome and home to Rome’s most wonderful museum, the Galleria Borghese. Unscrupulously assembled by Scipione Borghese, nephew to Pope Paul V, the art collection in the Galleria includes several of Bernini’s finest statues, as well as works by Caravaggio, Canova, and the greatest Renaissance artists. In moving from St. Peter’s to the Borghese, we again move from halos to nudes and so have another chance to see the dramatic changes initiated in the Renaissance.
21 minutes | Feb 23, 2021
Augustus and His Altar of Peace
The Altar of the Peace of Augustus lay buried in the muck of Rome for over a thousand years, but it is now recognized as one of the best examples of classical relief sculpture. It is also important evidence of the way Augustus wanted to present his achievements to the people of Rome. But who was Augustus, and what can his altar tell us about him?
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021