Daniella Rubio: Italia as Text 2022

Roma As Text

Roman Forum at Rome. By Daniella Rubio/ CC by 4.0

“The Roman Superpower”

by Daniella Rubio of FIU at Rome, 19, May 2022

The Ancient Romans put so much effort and dedication into building the strong empire that it once was. And while they have had many traditions and activities that have been of influence, what captivated me about them is their eagerness to build monuments to commemorate their victories and accomplishments. One area in Rome that is filled with these types of monuments is the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. 

While many of the monuments in these locations are spectacular, the ones that interested me the most are the Roman Triumphant arches. Once omnipresent throughout Rome’s city, today, only a few still stand. That being said, the remaining arches surrounding the Forum and Colosseum continue to be a reminder of the city’s accomplishments and have become an architectural inspiration for other countries.

The three most influential arches standing today within the Roman Forum are the Arches of Constantine, Titus, and Severus. The arch of Constantine was dedicated to the Emporer Constantine by the Senate of Rome after he successfully defeated his rival, Maxentius, and legalized Christianity. While there are no depictions of the battle between the two along with no biblical references, the arch has become a reminder to many Christians that without Constantines’ victory, Christianity would have never taken root within the Roman Empire and, essentially, within the rest of the world. The second monument found within the forum, the Arch of Titus, was built after the emperor’s death. While there are many references to the emperor’s Godliness and divinity after his passing, what really stands out is the arches story. Throughout the arch, we are able to see Titus’s success in capturing Jerusalem and how sacking and looting the city helped fund many other monuments, such as the Colosseum. Prior to the establishment of Isreal, many of the Jews living within Rome had refused to walk through this arch. The last arch seen within the Roman Forum is the Arch of Severus. Compared to the arches of Constantine and Titus, this monument does not incorporate many architectural designs. That being said, for many living within Ancient Rome, this arch is deemed as dominator due to Severus’s success in the Parthian’s submission along with integrating most of Syria into Rome.

While I found all three of the victory arches to be magnificent, the one that stuck with me the most had to be the Arch of Constantine. In addition to being the largest and the most decorated with statues and reliefs, the message behind it has stuck with me the most due to my Christian background. That being said, all three of these arches have helped me comprehend the influence Roman monuments have had on countries like the US, along with putting into perspective the superpower that Ancient Rome once was.

Pompeii As Text

Pompeii at Naples. By Daniella Rubio/ CC by 4.0

“The Buried City”

by Daniella Rubio of FIU at Pompeii, 19, May 2022

Frozen in time, Pompeii is one of Italy’s most significant and historical cities. By walking through its roads, one is able to immerse themselves in the cultures and lifestyles of its citizens. And through a fantastic tour guide, like Antonio, you are given a better understanding of the incident that occurred along with the city’s advancements that have been an influence on a global scale.

One of my favorite moments in this excursion had to be the retelling of the fall of Pompeii. On August 24th, 79 AD, the great city of Pompeii was suddenly wrapped in a black sky. Mount Vesuvius erupted, and ash and toxic gas began to cover the advanced city. Deemed cursed by the gods, the Romans avoided the area, and many residents were able to flee; however, the city and over 2000 victims were buried and abandoned for more than 1500 years.

While I find that the story of Pompeii is one that is worth retelling, was stuck to me the most is learning about the city’s advancements and influences on things such as roads, architecture, and plumbing. For roads, some practices that I found interesting were the usage of marble in between stones to see better at night and large stepping stones that were used to avoid mud and water while also allowing chariots to pass through. When it came to the structuring of households, it was intriguing to see how Pompeiians would put a small hole in the roof along with a well on the floor to collect rainwater. Additionally, I found the usage of sliding doors for many of the stores within the city to be a game-changer. Lastly, I found that the plumbing within the city was ahead of its time. Through the usage of pipes throughout the city and atriums, Pompeiians could have restrooms for the public and even on the second floor.

As a history buff, visiting Pompeii had to be one of my favorite excursions thus far. Learning about the citizen’s lifestyles and inventions regarding the roads kind of reminded me of some of the major cities in the US, such as New York. If it weren’t for the incident that occurred on August 24th, 79 AD, it makes you wonder how much more advanced the world could have been if this buried city was never punished by the gods.

Author: daniellarubio1

Daniella Grace Rubio is a second-year student pursuing a double degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice. Passionate about politics and the law, she aspires to work in D.C. and has already involved herself in various political campaigns, law firms, and programs like the Senate Page Program. After graduating with both majors, she would like to continue her studies and attend Law School, where she would then work her way up to pursue her dream career of becoming a judge. Her primary hobbies have included reading, hiking, cooking, and boating. During her time at F.I.U., Daniella has already integrated into fraternities like Phi Alpha Delta and honor societies such as P.A.T.H. Currently enrolled in J.W. Bailly’s Italy Study Abroad, she is looking forward to learning about Italy’s omnipresent influence on art and culture and is excited to travel to Europe for her first time.

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