No Textbook Matches Seeing Things in Person


Boyd Hayley ’17 –  First, I would like to thank anyone who made this trip possible for me, including my parents and the staff at Wabash College. It was  an amazing trip. Today specifically we started out by going to the column of Trajan and doing some in depth analysis of the different panels as it went up. In class we talked about the location and it was very interesting to see the actual monument and not just see it in a book. Seeing the column of Trajan was important for me because later in the day I presented on the column of Marcus Aurelius which as I learned in my readings has very specific ties to the column of Trajan.

Later in the day we headed up to the campus martius to see the Horologium, ara pacis, and I got to give my presentation on the column of Marcus Aurelius. Actually going to the campus martius was so eye opening because in my classical Roman classes I always end up either writing a paper or giving a presentation on something in the campus martius. To see how all the monuments fit together and the ideas that they bring up is something you can only do in Rome, I don’t think I would understand them as well as I do now if I hadn’t have been able to go on this trip. It was a good first trip outside of the United States and truly an experience I will not soon forget.

 Nolan Fenwick ’17 – On Thursday our group went on top of the Capitoline Hill to go inside and look at the ancient artifacts that were at the Capitoline Museum.  Inside we saw many works of Roman art, including the colossus of Constantine.  The utter size of this monument was truly mesmerizing and thinking about all it would have taken to create such a behemoth is rather awesome.  Across from that were the reliefs from the Hadrianeum, each relief representing a different province that was located within the Roman world.  It was educational to witness how many Romans pictured the different regions of Rome and how they were understood as a culture to the rest of society.

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius stood glinting inside, with just enough gold left on it to show its power.  It was very large and foreboding to be underneath of it.  The statue stood as a symbol of strength and power and it was easy to see why it was seen this way.  The Statue of Commodus portrayed as Hercules was very cool.  It was so well preserved that the marble still shined bright.  The amount of detail that was included was truly staggering.  Afterwards a large portion of us decided to attend the Lazio vs Dnipro soccer match.  It was the first professional soccer match for many of us and was considered to be a cool experience.  The crowd was small though because the Lazio fans are upset with the president of the club and were boycotting attending the match.  All in all it was another very exciting day in Rome.

Onward to Ostia

Blog4Nick Gwinn ’17 – Our trip to Ostia was one of my favorite parts of the trip because the ruins were so open to walk through and explore compared to other places on this trip. The ability for us to explore the ancient port city really put the way cities laid out and how the Romans lived in perspective. Seeing the buildings such as the fullery, the bar and the theater with the portico behind it allowed us to imagine how some of the hang out spots in Rome may have looked like but on a smaller scale. For example, I imagined the theater in Ostia was a lot like the Theater of Pompey because of the permanent stone theater and the portico behind it.

Another thing that I thought was extremely cool was the road to actually get into Ostia was the actual road from Roman times. We saw so many times in Rome that buildings were built on top of each other, but these roads were the real ones and the fact we could still see the wheel ruts from the thousands of carts that carried various materials and supplies was simply fascinating.

Colosseum Lives Up to Expectations

For many students a visit to the Roman Colosseum proved to be a big highlight.

For many students a visit to the Roman Colosseum proved to be a big highlight.

Dylan Mayer ’17 –  After visiting the Forum Romanum, we visited the place that I have dreamed about since I was 6 years old, the Colosseum. Since the moment that I heard Russel Crowe shout his powerful line “Are you not entertained?” I knew that I needed to visit the Colosseum in Rome before I was too old. Even being able to just walk up to it and see how massive it really is places everything you’ve ever seen into perspective. Knowing as you walked into this circular arena that there were people who died here fighting others or even animals created a somber mood in my heart, but it didn’t diminish my excitement one bit.

As I stepped through the entryway out into the open for the first time, I finally saw one of my childhood dreams come true. When you enter the Colosseum, I also was able to see and understand all of the things that we had talked about in class leading up to this trip, such as understanding the layout. In the Colosseum, there are numbered entry arches, which when entered (with a ticket labeled with the number of an arch), would take you to wherever you were supposed to be seated. The higher class or prominence that you were, the closer to the floor you were able to be. While we were there, some of us even stopped at some of the exhibits that they had, which explained how the trap doors worked and explained the different types of battles that took place. Nothing has made me feel as excited as seeing the Colosseum in person.

Jordan Smith ’17 – Today we looked at all the buildings we read about in class. The thing that was surprising to me was how close and on top of each other, all the buildings were. When I pictured the forum of Augustus and the forum of Divine Caesar they were not cramped with all these other buildings. It was cool to actually see what we study come to life. I am also impressed with how well the buildings have age over the thousands of years.

One of the things I enjoy most about the city is all the different food options you have. I have yet to find a meal I did not like. Everything here is very good. The people are also very friendly to us, for the most part anyway. We do have people look at us weird because we are tourist and have no idea how everything works. But we figure it out and have a lot of fun exploring how different the culture is compared to the United States. I have picked up some Italian along the way. I learned no more than to say hello, goodbye, and thank you. But it is more than what I started with.

This experience has been great so far. I learned the locations of these ancient buildings on paper, but to see it in real life is phenomenal. I am excited to give my presentation in Ostia and go to my first ever soccer game later on in the week. This opportunity has been nothing but great. I am glad I took this course mostly because I get to experience a part of the world I never thought I could. I look forward to the rest of the world.

After Delay, First Full Day in Rome

Peter (Tiahong Xu) ’17 – Since there was a heavy snow in Chicago, our flight to Philadelphia was delayed for more than 2 hours. So, we did not catch up the next flight to Rome. Accordingly, Roman forum became our Tuesday’s schedule.

Walking between the arch of Septimius Serverus and the arch of Titus, I felt like the time machine brought me to the Rome of two thousand years ago. The Forum is surrounded by several important government buildings as well as important monuments. One of the most well-preserved building is Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. Emperor Antoninus Pious started this building’s construction firstly in order to decease and deify his wife, Faustina the Elder. Emperor Antoninus’ successor, Marcus Aurelius then rededicated this temple jointly to them after the deification of Antoninus Pius.

Walking upwards, we came to the highest point of Palatine Hill. Overlooking the Roman Forum, I felt like those ruins still shocked me. On the other side of the Roman Forum, it came the most well-known Roman world construction: Colosseum. Only if you look at it physically can you feel its magnificence. When we looked at it closely, we can clearly see the Roman number on each entrance. That’s pretty similar to our sports event seating. One entrance is entitled as “VI”; the next one is “VII”; even the one after the next one is not clear enough to see, but we know it’s “VIII”.

Junior Boyd Haley at Rome's most-famous site.

Junior Boyd Haley at Rome’s most-famous site.

Micheal Miller ’18 –  The first full day of our trip to Rome went very well. We started out in the Forum Romanum. Throughout this semester every person in our class has presented on at least one monument in the Forum. Being able to see and be within a few yards of these monuments and even being able to touch some of them really puts what we have learned into perspective. Being able to walk on the very stones that Republican Era Romans walked on is humbling and breathtaking all at the same time.

Within the Forum was the place where the Vestal Virgins stayed. At first, I wasn’t particularly excited to see this or walk though it but, once we got in and walked around the courtyard, I was overwhelmed by how peaceful and beautiful the sculptures and pools were. This was not a feeling or an atmosphere that can be obtained by pictures alone, in order to truly appreciate these sites one must walk through and take the time to take it all in.

One of the last places we visited today was the Colosseum. This was a place that I have dreamed about visiting since middle school and to finally be able to walk around and see it first hand was a great experience. Walking through the halls was a similar atmosphere to that of a typical professional sports stadium which really helps understand and almost relive the atmosphere right before the games started with people filing into their designated seats. I would like to thank Wabash College and everyone who donated money, or time, into making this tip available to students. This is a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

Missing Flight Provided Surprising Opportunity


Students and Professor Harnett made the best of a missed flight to Rome by exploring Philadelphia.

Andrew Jackson ’18 – Everything seemed to go as planned as everyone loaded into the two vans early in the morning, so we could drive up to O’Hare for our flight to Philadelphia, then fly to Rome from there. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different idea. Of course, it decided to snow a TON up in Chicago the day we were supposed to fly out. The snow caused a 3.5-hour flight delay from Chicago to Philadelphia, causing us to miss our connecting flight to Rome. Though this delay put a damper on things, the encouraging and fun spirit and attitude among the Wabash men and professors made things much better than what they could have been.

Instead of sulking about missing our connecting flight, we scheduled a flight for the following day’s evening and took advantage of that day to go to the city of Philadelphia. We turned the day of Philadelphia into one of adventure. We saw the Liberty Bell and the colonial buildings from that era in Philadelphia. Following our flashback in time, the majority of us went to Jim’s Steaks to have our very first genuine Philly cheesesteak! Yum! To conclude our trip, we got to witness runners in the marathon, which place in the city as we walked to the Rocky Steps. Though it may not have been the ideal situation to be in Philadelphia over Rome, we made the most of it. As I’m sitting on the plane and looking out of the window, I can’t help but smile and get excited as we finally begin our last stretch to Rome. WAF!

 Zac Maciejewski ’17 – So, the trip got off to a rocky start.  Instead of writing this blog from Rome, like I was supposed to, I am writing from the City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia.  Winter decided to unleash its pent-up wrath on Chicago at the worst possible time.  A predicted 4:30 pm arrival to Philadelphia from O’hare turned into an 8:40 pm landing.  Needless to say we missed our connection to Rome and were forced to stay the night in Philadelphia (much thanks to Ms. Teague for finding a hotel for us and for everyone else who has made this trip possible!!).  But instead of letting the disappointing turn of events drag us down, we made the most of it.  We saw the liberty bell, city hall, and independence hall.  We saw neo-colonial architecture and some beautiful Greek and Roman architecture.  But most importantly, we did not forget the cheesesteak.

After talking with numerous locals, the consensus was that Jim’s, an establishment that has been clogging arteries since 1937, offered the best sandwich in the city.  Squeezed between a sketchy smoke-shop and an exotic clothing bodega, the fine people of Jim’s roast hundreds of pounds beef per day. Eating the behemoth of a sandwich was impossible without gobs of cheese and beef juice oozing out of the open-faced Italian roll that could barely stand up to the task of holding the sandwich together.

It certainly stinks that we missed a day in Rome.  But like all Wabash men we found a way to make the best of our situation.  After a long day in the city, we are officially sitting in our terminal waiting for Rome!

Major Anti-Apartheid Activist Delivers Sermon

Derek Andre ’16 – Hearing Desmond Tutu speak is a religious experience in more ways than one. Three Wabash students, myself included, experienced that firsthand. It was Friday morning of our South African adventure, the next to last day of the trip. Our guide, Linda, had mentioned the night before the Father Tutu was, per St. George’s Cathedral, Tutu’s home church, slated to give the morning service the next day. The only issue was that the service started at 7:00, meaning those who wanted to go needed to be out the door before 6:30 – an early wake up call after a week of sprinting through Johannesburg and Cape Town. Three of us awoke to heed the call of listening to the Nobel Laureate. We made our way through Cape Town and into St. George’s, a gothic

A photo taken with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, notable for his work in the opposition to Apartheid.

A photo taken with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, notable for his work in the opposition to Apartheid.

masterpiece located next to the Parliament building. The service was held in a small, ancillary chapel with seating for about forty attendees. After a few minutes of waiting, and a reminder by the other priest assisting with the service to silence our cell phones, Tutu appeared. He wasn’t a large man – in fact it’s quite the opposite – but he commanded the room when he entered. He conducted the service in three languages, English, Xhosa, and Afrikaans, and used each during his invitation for communion. The prayers given were worldly in nature, thanking America for jazz, criticizing it for its demons, and pleading with all of us to pray for Beirut and Paris. That he broke from the script of monolingual, strictly-biblical services that many, myself included, are so accustomed to in America was, in my opinion, the most striking thing about Tutu. This was a man – one awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in ending Apartheid through mediation, who also chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Committees that helped to draw the so-called ‘Rainbow Nation’ (his words) back together – so committed to his principles, one of a unified South Africa, that he brought this into his sermon for the morning. He drew on three very different cultural traditions and languages in a way that was breathtaking.

I’ve been fortunate to have some wonderful experiences because of Wabash. I’ve travelled the world, presented at conferences, and met some of the most wonderful people I’ll ever know. But there’s something special about seeing, and shaking the hand of, an individual who has contributed so much to the world in what may be one of his final services. It’s an experience I won’t soon forget.​

Spending Thanksgiving in South Africa

Evan Bowe ’17 – Today we saw the natural beauty of the South African coast and animals native to South Africa. We rode a boat over rough seas to Seal Island to see a large seal colony around the coast. On the way and at the Cape of Good Hope we saw

A beautiful view on Thanksgiving Day.

A beautiful view on Thanksgiving Day.

baboons, ostriches, and penguins. None of us had ever seen these animals outside of zoos but in the wild, they are indifferent and calm around humans. We took a scenic highway to the Cape of Good Hope which many car companies use for shooting commercials. The coast is lined with rocky cliffs that fall into the ocean. We hiked up to the lighthouse at the southern end to the Cape and saw dassies, a larger rodent and the closest relative to the elephant.

For dinner we had a family style, traditional Islamic meal at Biesmiellah, a Malay restaurant in Cape Town. Biesmiellah is an invocation and prayer before meal to give thanks to Allah. We had fried appetizers like spicy potato Wadas and samosas and then a main course of saffron basmati rice with curry chicken and Pienang beef. For dessert we were served koeksisters, delicious sugar coated Malay donuts. To wash it down we had a passion mango juice. No alcohol was served at Biesmiellah per Islamic tradition.

Thanksgiving Dinner with the whole group.

Thanksgiving Dinner with the whole group.

The Power of Memory

“In the light of memory and remembering * Through the streams of our senses * Reconnecting * Recollecting * We find our way home”

Ty Campbell ’16 – The above quote is a shortened version of Malika Ndlovu’s poem “Slave Dreams.” The summarized lines are also

Lucy, our tour guide, explaining the meaning behind the gold "VOC" emblem in the sidewalk.

Lucy, our tour guide, explaining the meaning behind the gold “VOC” emblem in the sidewalk.

located on the Column of Memory exhibit, found at the Iziko Slave Lodge museum in Cape Town. Lucy Campbell, one of our tour guides of the day, worked on the research into the exhibit while being hired by the museum. The Column of Memory illuminates a column of the original names of slaves who were brought to South Africa starting during the late 17th century. Campbell explained that the Dutch East India Company, when first colonizing the contemporary country of South Africa, needed slaves as labor to begin building the city. Several individuals were brought to Cape Town from West Africa, East Africa, India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and the Indonesian Archipelago to serve as human slaves in the project to erect the city. Khoi and San people were the original inhabitants of Cape Town. Once known as the slave capitol of the world, Cape Town built the Slave Lodge in 1679 and housed hundreds of humans at a time. According to Campbell, Boer (Dutch) Cape Town colonizers wished to keep good relationships with the aboriginal inhabitants by using imported slaves to build various structures rather than imprisoning the Khoi and San. The Lodge was referred to as “a warehouse of human misery” and those imprisoned within the walls suffered harsh treatment and care. Before the inclusion of the museum’s exhibit, rarely were the individuals who created Cape Town recognized for their efforts. Without the recognition of others, the city’s history of achievement through brutality could be lost in history. Campbell’s overarching message to our group is that Cape Town is a symbol of colonization. One of the points of interest we saw along our walking tour included a symbol of the oppressing force of the Dutch East India Company. On one of the busy streets of the Cape Town, a large and looming symbol of the colonizers is still paved into the street. The gold letters ‘VOC,’ standing for Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (the Dutch East India Company), are currently still placed in the city to be recognized by the thousands of people who walk the

Statue of Cecil John Rhodes, major figure in the colonization of South Africa.

Statue of Cecil John Rhodes, major figure in the colonization of South Africa.

street each day. Other oppressive figures, like the statue of Cecil John Rhodes in a local park, still stand in a city within Cape Town. Campbell uses the term ‘mental slavery’ as an interchangeable term that our class has used as the ‘oppressed mind.’ This term refers to the idea that the colonized and oppressed develop a type of mental strain that effect those negatively viewed. Though our contemporary view of ignorance to Cape Town’s past, many people let the prejudice and factors that further the idea of the mental slavery that

The "Tower of Remembering", with the names of almost all the slaves that had been brought through the very building in which it stands.

The “Column of Memory”, with the names of almost all the slaves that had been brought through the very building in which it stands.

still exists in Cape Town continue. Meeting with Campbell has presented our class with a perspective that a textbook cannot. “Decolonization is much more than academia. A large part of recovery has to first start with attitude. This even includes the way we look at and view others,” Campbell said. To some, Cape Town’s beautiful landscapes may serve as camouflage of the history of the past. Although the city has been built upon the culture and past of others, we must not forget the past and struggles of others to build an equal and accommodating home for all under the ‘Rainbow Nation.’ Like the opening quote suggests, the power of remembering, reconnecting, and recollecting will help shape the country and city’s future through it’s own past.

Carrying a Revolution

Chris Biehl ’16 – Revolution is a word not whispered, but shouted from many students at the University of Cape Town. Revolution

Sitting where the Cecil John Rhodes statue used to be at the University of Cape Town. The shadow that the statue would normally have cast was painted below.

Sitting where the Cecil John Rhodes statue used to be at the University of Cape Town. The shadow that the statue would normally have cast was painted below.

can mean anything from changing the space at the university to lowering fees for the students as a whole. Today we met with students both under and post graduate who are involved with the Rhodes Must Fall Movement. The students in this group recently

Chatting with, and learning from, Rhodes Must Fall activists.

Chatting with, and learning from, Rhodes Must Fall activists.

removed a statue of Cecil Rhodes that loomed over the centre of campus. To these students, and many South Africans, Rhodes represents the evils of modern colonialism that is still prevalent in Cape Town and the country as a whole. Rhodes was a diamond tycoon in the 20th century who exploited black Africans for labor and and made a tremendous amount of wealth from the diamond trade. His infamous legacy can be found throughout Cape Town and specifically UCT. One of the students we met with, referred to as “Prof”, explained to us the struggle of black students who attend UCT. A lot of his concerns revolved around the lack of professors of colour. He told us that out of the 231 professors at the university, there are only 3 black female professors. This is an issue because many of the students at the university are of colour, and feel that their education is at a disadvantage. This was extremely surprising to me simply because of UCT’s location in South Africa. To Prof, and the other students, this is a sign of colonialism still being prevalent in today’s society. A lack of professors of colour combined with several memorials and statues of Cecil Rhodes has created a formula of revolution for these students.

What was so powerful about these students was their desire for change through revolution. Instead of waiting for something to happen or using process as a means of change, these students decided to take action. They physically removed something that represented oppression and marginalization. Revolution as a tool of change is detrimental to the oppressor and society that belittles a population. We can use their struggle as inspiration for our own revolutions. There is nothing that prevents change except the chains we put on ourselves. What is your Revolution?