Number 22: January 2017: Foucault and Roman Antiquity: Foucault's Rome

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Cover photo © Shreyaa Bhatt

Shreyaa Bhatt writes about the photo:

The Roman forum was the administrative and commercial centre of Roman civic life. Today, the site is filled with a deep, but puzzling, sense of history. Existing structures enmesh original ancient ruins dating from the Republican and Imperial periods with Christian and Renaissance facades. At the centre of the photo is the Temple of Saturn, originally dedicated in 497 BCE, and rebuilt several times over the course of the next approximately 800 years due to fire. To the left of temple is the triumphal Arch of Septimius Severus, erected in 203 CE and suggestively built in front of the Temple of Concord to imply the restoration of peace following the victories against the Parthians. Behind the arch is the Curia, the meeting place of the Roman senate, the building works of which commenced in 44 BCE by Julius Caesar and completed in 29 BCE by Augustus. The building was in use as a senatorial curia up until 630 CE, when it was converted into the church of Sant’ Adriano by Pope Honorius I. Between the major monuments which still stand, or partially stand, today are broken columns, fragmentary bases of statues and remains of old paths and stairwells, leaving a chaotic and confusing sense of a monumental past, which, in its own day would have been extraordinarily polished and orderly.