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Trying to Absory Rome’s History

Wesley Virt ‘17 – Today, I was in awe with my surroundings. I was amazed at the ingenuity, creativeness, and mysteries that surrounded the sites we visited. Today we visited the Epigraphical Museum, the catacombs under St. Peter’s, and St. Peter’s Basilica. At the Epigraphical Museum I realized that Roman life is extremely diverse. After looking at artifacts in this museum, I saw various aspects of Roman life that I never thought existed. This included hair dressers, freedman (who were free in a unique sense), and musicians. I could see these unique characteristics of Roman life portrayed through artifacts that were collected in this museum. One artifact that stood out to me was a stone carving that dealt with a freedman who had two patrons to serve. I can’t image being a slave set free and serving not only one patron, but two patrons for the rest of your life!

After this museum, we made our way St. Peter’s Basilica. We received the special opportunity to go underneath the basilica where we got the chance to see the necropolis and the tomb of St. Peter. I could not believe the intricacy of the paintings in the necropolis. These people buried in the necropolis under St. Peter’s really cared about what other Roman citizens thought about their life after death. After visiting the city of the dead we ventured back up to the land of the living to view the present day basilica.

In the past, I have gotten the chance to visit the Cathedral Basilica in Missouri. So I naturally assumed that St. Peter’s would be about the same as this other basilica. I don’t think I could have been more wrong. While both of these churches were massive, St. Peter’s had so many details in every part of the church. It was an overwhelming experience just standing in the Basilica. As Dr. Hartnett warned us before entering the basilica, “If you try to absorb everything in St. Peter’s you will get a headache.” This couldn’t have been more of an accurate statement! Overall, I had a great day. I realized how much history lies within this city piled layers and layers deep.