I continue to follow developments on the billion Euros construction of the Metropolitana line C in Rome, this is a new subway line which is several years late and at least 2 billion Euros in cost overrun.
Line C is a new subway line which will cross the Roman Forum under the Via dei Fori Imperiali and though the line is well buried below ground the archeologists, historians, academics of all stripes are up in arms about it. Though this is not the first line to cross the Roman Forum some 80 years ago Benito Mussolini had line B come right into the Forum area where the current Colosseum station is located and back then the equipment did not exist like today to dig very deep, so a few antiquities were sacrificed.
At the same time 7 columns of the Temple of Peace built by Emperor Vespasian and Domitian to celebrate the triumph of Titus, have been re-erected, they like most of all the temples and public buildings in the Roman Forum had been quarried for valuable materials after the two sack of Rome in 410 and then in 455 AD when Rome was no longer the Capital of the Empire and the Bishop of Rome (Pope) was running the show with a few barbarian chieftains and needed a lot of construction material for new Christian churches, so all the luxurious coloured marbles and bronze was looted.
The Temple of Peace housed many treasures taken by Titus after the final sack and demolition of all of Jerusalem in 70 AD this included the complete destruction of the Second Temple of Salomon. The treasures of the temple were brought back to Rome as war booty, including the Ark of the Covenant with the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments Moses brought down from Mount Sinai and the great Menorah of the Temple.
All was safe in the Temple of Peace in Rome until 455 AD when it all disappeared never to be seen again. Who took it and when, no one knows, was it the Visigoths or the Vandals?
Many archeologists have been against this project to re-erect the 7 columns but others point out that it gives a better idea to people visiting the Roman Forum where the temple was located. It is only a small fragment of this large temple most of which is under the street or under a monastery and church next to it, strangely enough dedicated to Saints that never existed and are no longer in the Christian pantheon.
In this photo you can see the 7 columns and the ruins of the Temple of Peace. Line C is under construction just a few meters away, left of the photo.
Today computer enhanced photos have been published of the Temple of Rome and Venus, the largest temple ever built in the Roman Forum. There has been an idea floated for some 90 years that part of that temple should also be re-erected. All that remains today is the double cella which housed the Deities Rome and Venus, some columns and coloured marble floor with the actual platform on which the temple stood. The temple is directly across from the Colosseum.
This is where the Disneyland concept comes in, many academics and historians see any attempt at rebuilding a temple some 1600 years after it vanished under the pick axe of looters as a form of cultural vandalism to please mass tourism.
Temple of Rome and Venus today, on either side some columns, the impressive platform of the temple itself and the cella in the middle where the deity’s statue stood. Rome is the goddess protecting the City and Venus is the ancestor of the first Imperial family the Julii, thus Julius Cesar and his nephew Octavian Augustus could claim divine origins.
If the temple still existed today this is how it would look, seen from the same spot as above. https://rometheimperialfora19952010.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/roma-archeologica-restauro-architettura-foro-della-pace-le-nuove-colonne-via-dei-fori-imperiali-nuove-prospettive-fonte-sandro-sciosci-facebook-1412205/
Side view from the Metro station entrance. As you can see it is impressive and by giving it a modern computer enhanced setting in Rome today with tourists around and the sign of the Line C under construction it makes it all too real.
But I wonder if it would be right to re-built such noble temples just to please the mass tourism market.
Today the goddess Roma stands guard just down the street above the tomb of the unknown Italian soldier at the Altar to the Nation. Maybe it should stay that way.