Traveloid by ideasrex.com
Through Verona, Italy
Come venture forth with me and see what I see as we explore the imaginary
The origins of Verona go back to the 6th century BC and possibly to many different peoples including Euganei, Cenomani, Arusnates, Etruscans and Raetians but as to the historical certainty, we will have to wait for further discoveries or for technology to be able to peek into the pre-Roman period either through understanding and manipulating time so that we can twist it, or maybe through calculating the particles with super computers so that various scenarios could be fed into the machine, and all we have to do is press start and put on the VR glasses. Maybe that is how future generations will be learning history, by virtually experiencing it.
When it comes to Verona uncertainty continues as to the name as well, because the Eastern Gauls called it “in the direction of Rome” (Versus Romae), ancient Romans Vae Romae (Alas Rome). Verona seemed to have been a boundary between the Romans and the Barbarians as they were perceived by the Romans. Maybe the most practical is the connection in name to the river that floes through the city, by the name Adige, but the name of the river was “Vera” and -ona means settlement over it.
The true glory and significance of Verona starts with Roman colonization that made it municipium in 1st century BC.
Date Winter 2018
Exploring history of Verona, Ponte Pietra from the 1st century, Castel San Pietro, Roman Amphitheatre, Scala, Congrande, Scaligeri
Connecting Myth of Mars, Nemesis, humanism, Shakespeare, Byzantine, Venetians, Giotto, Dante, Divine Comedy
Charlie and Earling were amazed at Verona, exploring the Roman network of roads interlacing from one side of the u bend to another of the river Adige that surrounds it. This view is possible from the original foundation of the city on the nearby hill where San Pietro stands.
Earling: I always think of human civilization as a collection of concentric circles within each other that constantly test the ways through history and it seems to be a rule within those circles that every now and again, especially during the Middle Ages, a triangle happens with one family dominating all the others in a certain area. In Verona it was a family of della Scala and in particular Congrande I who was an acclaimed warrior and leader, but even more importantly a great patron of arts.
Charlie: Dante, Petrarch and Giotto were protected by Congrande I and it is inspiring and interesting to think of what parts of Verona were incorporated into a Divine Comedy by Dante, as he contemplated upon the Axis Mundi of human morality, trying to find the center so that all the other concentric circles would be placed in proportion.
Earling: Giotto came back to the realism or rather reinvented it after 200 years of defined rules/forms from Byzantine inheritance (as everything happens in circles) in the search for authenticity he realized the power of perception and tried to define it more closely – this is analogous to 21st century humans, now that they are beyond industry of any type and they try to nurture and express their originality in the best way they can.
Charlie: Speaking of the circles and various movements, thoughts and trends, Humanism came to be, and it was Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) who pioneered the measure of everything in accordance with the human values, a birth of Humanism, but also a strong representative of Italian Renaissance. He was also “the first tourist” as he traveled just for sake of traveling, as well as climbing Mount Ventoux. It was him that coined the term “The Dark Ages” referring to the ignorance of the times before his era.
Earling: This however is a universal statement as the past always looks like a Dark Age, but at the same time we feel melancholic towards those sweet times of safety (nothing unpleasant can happen as it is already cemented in the past).
Charlie: The domination of Scaligeri family ended with the coming of Venice to Verona and tranfer of control through the peaceful route of negotiation which is marked by the statue Lion of Saint Mark located in Piazza delle Erbe. There are many impressive buildings that the Venetians left and strategically built next to the medieval castles that belonged to the ruling families.
Earling: Later it was Shakespeare who dominated Verona in thoughts and written word, as even today his three pieces were situated in Verona, more famously Romeo and Juliet, that is lived and relived by many visitors that believe in ideal love that happens externally without any effort
A Ponte Pietra (Stone Bridge) was built in 100 BC, the oldest bridge in Verona over the river Adige which was rebuilt several times due to military destruction, but with original materials and following the original design. It actually has a hole to let the water through in case of higher levels of water. It was probably Janus who roamed the minds of those using the bridge over 2000 years ago as Janus in Roman mythology represents the connecting point, a two faced deity that looks to the past and future equally and gives birth to new beginnings.
The Roman Amphitheatre in Verona certainly witnessed many beginnings and endings, the type of entertainment (named “ludi” which means games) that sometimes had a greater priority than food itself. It seems that the type of distraction that gladiators, animals fights and the rest of the suffering provided incredible interest that made any other issues fade into insignificance or at least for a while, as long as the games were going.
The Verona Arena was built in the 1st century with the capacity of 30,000 people; it is the third largest in the world and got an epithet of being a construction that is greater than human in it’s grandeur and architectural proportions. Gladiators would often pray to various Gods, depending on circumstances, as this was the pre-Christian era, they would often silently communicate with Pluto, God of death and Mars a God of war. Also three goddesses would enter their plea including Minerva, goddess of wisdom, Fortuna, a goddess of luck and fortune, and Nemesis a goddess of chance, fortunes and revenge. Those inside the arena on the podium comprised of sand were literally facing their fears and the way circumstances unfolded often meant either life or death for them. On many occasions life after successful survival of the arena meant riches, fortunes, fame and liberation.
As the Roman Empire started to lose it’s power and eat itself from within, Europe was brewing externally, numerous warring battles taking place in today’s Verona against the Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Lombards. This brings us to the 7th century A.D. and the strategic hill on which Castel San Pietro, an Austrian Fortress from the 19th
century stands today. This very spot was also the secure and convenient founding point for Verona, with the first settlements.