Filed under: Art
"The profound and pervasive legacy of ancient Rome is deeply embedded in the western culture of today; the lasting effects of Roman domination can be found almost anywhere," said Linda Carioni of Contemporanea Progetti. "They can be seen in our judiciary and monetary systems, in our art and architectural patrimony, in the modern Romance languages, in our alphabet of 26 letters, as well as the calendar of Julius Caesar."
History buffs and pop culture fans alike will be fascinated by the comparisons of our nation to the much-romanticized empire, including artifacts such as:
- "Two eagles depicting this classic symbol shared by ancient Rome and America. The American eagle is carved from gilt wood. It was made in 1804 by Samuel McIntire, an important early American architect. Of the Roman eagle, only the bronze head remains. It likely originated from the top of a Roman army military standard."
- "Roman busts of Scipio Africanus, Julius Caesar, and Cicero. American busts of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, each portrayed in togas."
- "Gladiator/Football helmets. Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael's helmet will be on display with a gladiator helmet and four original pieces from the gladiator barracks of an amphitheater in Pompeii – a 'greave' (shin guard), two spearheads, and a dagger."
- "Excavated remnants from Pompeii, including silverware, a preserved piece of a wall fresco, and the cast of a man who did not escape the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius."
- "Slave collars from ancient Rome and the United States. Both ancient Rome and America prior to 1865 were slave societies. Made in the early 1800s, the slave collar from the US is a rare artifact that can be tied to one man's quest for freedom. Ben, a slave who worked on a farm in Pennsylvania, tried to escape three times, and after the third time, his owner had an iron collar made for him."
- "A selection of classical works belonging to the Founding Fathers that helped shape their political thought during the early years of the American republic. John Adams' personal copy of Plutarch's Lives, John Dickenson's personal copy of the works of Roman historian Tacitus, and John Quincy Adams' personal copy of Cicero's De Oratore."
- "Two letters from August 1776 exchanged between John and Abigail Adams. In them, Abigail signs her name 'Portia' after the wife of the Roman Senator Brutus. The letters are filled with classical references and ideas of republican virtue."
The Ancient Rome & America exhibition will be on display from February 19 to August 1, 2010. Visit constitutioncenter.org for more information. Check out Kimpton Hotels' brand new Hotel Palomar for accommodations, and click through the gallery to preview some of the artifacts (images courtesy of The National Constitution Center).