Highlights: Well, the whole episode, but specifically?
"Octavian, have you penetrated anyone yet?" AHAHAHA, oh dear. Between that and poor Octavia having to take those 'gifts' to Servilia ("a good penis is always welcome"), Atia is surely the Desperate Housewife of Republican Rome (with Livia naturally being the Imperial DH), not to mention one of the most embarrassing mothers.
I've come to like Pullo more than Vorenus. That short scene where he offered libation to the household Lar was a nice touch. Also, his everyman-ness is amusing and welcoming at the same time.
Upon watching an episode of the BBC Pride & Prejudice this afternoon (just happened to catch it on the ABC), I've realized that the actor who plays Cicero (David Bamber) is bloody Mister Collins. Ahhh! He played Collins so well, I shall need to see more of him to be truly convinced that he can play Rome's best orator. He'll surely feature next week (Battle of Pharsalus YAY!), so I'm looking forward to it. But Mister Collins...oh, that makes my head hurt just a bit.
And now, I'll talk a bit more about the Rome I visited. Saturday ended up being a mishmash of everything, since it was our first full day back in the city. Pictures of where we went are here. There are few pictures, largely because of the 'NO CAMERAS PLZ' rule in the churches we visited.
In Florence, I ended up making a list of all the places we wanted to visit in Rome but didn't in our first week, with the goal that we'd see them all before we left on Tuesday afternoon. I'd say that we got through most of those places on Saturday. There was the pyramid of Gaius Cestius first (again another Roman monument seen frequently in lecture slides), followed by Santa Sabina on Aventine Hill, which was visited on the recommendation of one of my parish priests. The best view of Rome is from Santa Sabina, and the church itself is quite beautiful (the wall paintings are gorgeous!). What got me a few days later however was that if we'd visited on Sunday, we would've seen the wonderful Dr Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) preaching there. So disappointing!
From Santa Sabina we continued onto Santa Maria in Cosmedin, an old Greek church not too far off from the Aventine. This is where the famous Bocca della Verita is, the wall carving that you're meant to put your hand into and if you've told a lie, your hand will be bitten off (as seen in Roman Holiday). I didn't do that, largely because a huge group of tourists were surrounding it having their pictures taken. Couldn't get a photo of it either because of all the tourists. Bah! The church itself was just stunning (fast running out of adjectives to describe all these wonderful churches!), with the very old mosaics that are over a thousand years old. It also houses the relics of St Valentine (which are brought out on his feast day). Across from the church lies the Forum Boarium as well, and you'll see I got some shots of the temples there (also featuring in many a lecture slide).
The next church was San Giorgio al Velabro, though our visit there was a flying one as the church was being prepared for a funeral. A bone fragment from St George's skull is housed in the altar. Then there was San Bartolomeo all'Isola (where the relics of the disciple Bartholemew are kept, also in the church's altar) and a walk where we managed to see more remains of temples and the Theatre of Marcellus. We also revisited Capitoline Hill, to see Santa Maria in Aracoeli (since it was closed the first time we went there). The steps up to the church are gruelling, but I was determined to see the artwork depicting Augustus having the vision of the Virgin Mary. And the frescoes are also very much worth a look.
Well, we looked everywhere in that church, but there were no paintings or anything. We asked the staff in the giftshop, and they had no clue(!), but Brendan did buy a book from them that set us straight. The depiction was featured in the high altar. We looked all about the altar, and it wasn't until we peered down under the altar that we could see it. As this particular myth arose in the middle ages, the scene was a small one with Augustus and Mary being depicted in the medieval style (Augustus wearing a crown- he wouldn't have liked that!). I hate to say it, but I felt rather disappointed. I think after seeing all the magnificent work of Caravaggio, Giotto, Bernini and Michaelangelo, I was rather underwhelmed to see what would make such an amazing painting actually done rather simply, and situated where no one could really see it. Ah, well.
We had lunch on the Via Santa Chiara, as I was interested in seeing Gammarelli's, the tailors who make the papal vestments. The shop was closed however, so we headed into the shopping district to look around. The roads must have been closed, because people were just walking on the roads. The number of shoppers was HUGE. I'd hate to think what it'd be like in the week before Christmas if the streets were full in late November! We did some shopping ourselves there, and I was able to take a photo of the Spanish Steps.. Brendan wanted to visit the Babington Tea Rooms, but we didn't because it was getting dark and thought it better to return to the hotel. I really regret that now, so the next time I find myself in Rome, that's where I'll be going for morning tea.
I'll try and get the next set of pictures up by Sunday. After last year's fiasco, I'm not going out for new year's eve again in a hurry. Going to stay in and watch the Last Night of Proms on Ovation instead with a big glass of Kahlua or Malibu. Boring? Yes. But I'll enjoy myself a lot more knowing that I won't have to angst over the lack of cabs after midnight.