After breakfast I started the day with a long walk to the Mausoleum of Augustus (easier than taking the bus). It was a giant tumulus Augustus built as a dynastic burial spot for himself and his family (even before he gained all the power he eventually would—it was probably partly a propagandistic piece in opposition to Antony’s will stating that Antony wanted to be buried in Egypt). I got to take a picture of the sheep inside the very inner chamber in which Augustus’ ashes were probably placed. We then visited the Ara Pacis across the street (housed in a modern building with very nice AC). It’s really great to finally see things in person, like Trajan’s Column and the Ara Pacis, that I have studied in classes before. I have a better understanding of what I am seeing and of where they are in the city.
We then embarked on a walking tour of the Augustan Campus Martius, starting with the approximate original site of the Ara Pacis underneath a modern Louis Vuitton store. We stopped in front of the Italian Parliament building to look at the obelisk Augustus imported from Egypt to act as a meridian (tells what time of year it is). Next up was the Agrippan version of the Pantheon, which apparently was nothing like the Hadrianic version that stands there now (in fact, we don’t really have much evidence for what the original was like—it probably wasn’t domed, though). After a brief stop at what remains of the Baths of Agrippa (the first public baths in the city), we visited the Temple of Apollo Medicus (later Apollo Sosianus), which can be seen as the 3 columns next to the Theater of Marcellus. We finished our tour at the Theater of Marcellus (or what remains of it, including the differentiated use of material depending on what strength was needed—tufa for most of the archways, but travertine for the keystones and joints).
For lunch, Fran led me, Mike, Kristen, and Sam to a burger place she had had recommended called The Perfect Bun. As a celebration of the Fourth of July we all got burgers, fries, and beer. This afternoon it was laundry. For dinner, we had pasta with cheese and olive oil, zucchini with pine nuts and arugula, and chicken, followed by yummy custard. Should be an early, low-key evening.