Loci In Locis

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Loci in Locis is an art and Classics blog that pairs artwork from sites in Rome with a thematically-linked Latin or Greek text. Posts aim to replicate on a small scale the context-based learning experience provided by Paideia’s Living Latin in Rome programs on a bimonthly basis. By marrying text, place, and image, we are able to form close and personal relationships with the classics in a way we might not be able to through text alone.

Loci in Locis is written and run by Paideia’s Rome Fellows. This year's Rome Fellows are: Tyler Dobbs, Gabriel Kuhl, Amanda Reeves, and Rebecca Williams. The blog is edited by Meaghan Carley, Senior Rome Fellow.

On Grief, Ruins, and the Theater of Marcellus
January 14, 2017

On the southwestern flank of the Capitoline Hill between its museum and the Jewish Ghetto stand the remains of a large structure that has a series of open arcades, Doric and Ionic columns, and a plain frieze. But a closer look reveals a series of residences on the top. What is this strange construction? A lost tourist might be understandably confused, mistaking it for its more famous, similar-looking sibling up the Viale dei Fori Imperiali, the Colosseum. This strong resemblance is no accident, as this structure served as the model for the Colosseum, though predating it by nearly a century. Built in honor of a young man whose potential was never realized, this is the Theater of Marcellus: an excellent exemplum of the complicated mishmash of history that the city itself represents.

Who Had the Last Laugh? The Deaths of Saint Lucy and Diocletian
December 30, 2016

Nailed to a cross, hurled into the sea, devoured by wild animals, hacked to pieces, crushed under the weight of marble, burned, beheaded, and buried alive: when it came to killing Christians, the Roman prosecutors exhausted their options. Adorning the circular walls of the Basilica of Saint Stephen are thirty four graphic scenes of martyrdom commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII in 1583 and painted by Niccolo Circigani and Antonio Tempesta.

Celestial Cestius
December 10, 2016

Who, then, was Cestius,

        And what is he to me? -

Amid thick thoughts and memories multitudinous

        One thought alone brings he.


I can recall no word

        Of anything he did;

For me he is a man who died and was interred

        To leave a pyramid


-Thomas Hardy

Flood Markers
November 25, 2016

In the Piazza della Minerva, a small square just next to the Pantheon, the first thing one might notice is a small but fascinating obelisk on top of an elephant bearing a hieroglyph-covered obelisk on his back. (Ignore him for now--but when you’re done here, if you find that you’re still curious, check out this blog post). Beside him is a church: Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which gets its name from the Roman temple whose ruins composed its foundations in the fourteenth century. Walk a bit closer—closer—no, no. Don’t go inside…well, do, it’s really quite a lovely church, but I need you to do something else first. Thanks. 

October 28, 2016

The woeful story of the satyr Marsyas, memorably captured in ancient literary sources, has served for centuries as a lightning rod for interpretation. In it, Marsyas challenges the god Apollo to a musical contest. The prize for winning this contest allowed the winner to do whatever he liked with the loser. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Marsyas lost; Apollo hung the satyr from a pine tree and flayed him alive. The ultimate symbol of human hubris, Marsyas has long since represented the audacity of man and humanity’s largely disastrous relationship with the gods. But in fact, some ancient sources present Marsyas’ flayed body in an entirely different light: as an image not of recklessness, but brave defiance.